"Buddhism" is a term invented by Western scholars and it remains popularly
used today for what is traditionally called "Buddha Dharma", that is, the
Teaching of the Buddha. In fact, Dharma itself is the true nature of life
itself: Impermanence, Unsatisfactoriness, Non-Self, whether Buddha arise or
These universal truths are not totally and clearly seen by people
generally, much less realized by them. During a certain time, a special
being arises who realizes by his own effort these universal truths in all
its clarity and totality, and this being declares it for the benefit of
others -- such a being we call the Buddha.
The Dharma is the true nature of life. Knowing Dharma or even aspects of
it gives us a vision of true happiness and spiritual liberation. To do
this, basically one has to know one's mind, train it, and free it. This is
of course not easy. So one has to begin with some level of personal
discipline (moral conduct), which is the basis for mental discipline
(concentration), which in turn leads to spiritual liberation (wisdom).
The most common way to know Dharma is to asking questions and
discussing. Since we are not yet enlightened people (like the Buddha), we
need to know Dharma for our own happiness. For the benefit of others we,
need to make Dharma known.