Now that we have a basic understanding of the Buddha's life and goals, we can examine the Buddha's first sermon, which is the foundation of the beliefs held by those that follow the principles of Buddhism. We can first look at the Four Noble Truths:
1. All existence involves suffering.
2 This suffering was caused by desire,
3. There can be a cessation to this suffering,
4. By following the Eightfold Noble Path.
Next, Buddha instructed his followers to follow the Middle Path and condemned extreme behavior, giving them a set of rules called the Eightfold Noble Path as a guide. The Eightfold Noble Path’s only prerequisite being that we must have the right association with people in our ...view middle of the document...
We must have good morals and promote virtues with our actions. The Buddha instructed his students with five precepts to follow, which include; do not kill, steal, lie, be unchaste, or take intoxicants (Smith 1994).
5. Right Livelihood states that we should live a monastic life, but if we do not we should only be involved in trades that do not bring harm to oneself or others. This is important because we spend most of our time and attention focused on our occupation.
6. Right Effort says that we should abandon all the aspects in life that cause suffering, and place a strong emphasis on moral exertion (Smith 1994). Only by having a strong will that desires good can we reach our ultimate goal of liberation.
7. Right Mindfulness states that we should be aware of ourselves and we should not speak when being inattentive. We need to continually analyze our thoughts and feelings so that we do not become ignorant of the world around us. The Buddha recommends that we meditate on our fears and disinterests so that we can control our ego (Smith 1994).
8. Right Absorption says that we should meditate on experiences that expose the true nature of ourselves and the world in which we live. This type of meditation helps us to guide our consciousness toward an understanding of the true perception of reality. The ultimate goal of this practice is to purify our consciousness in order to free the mind from the afflictions of a cyclic existence.
Buddhism's Sacred Texts
The Pali Canon is a collection of texts central to the teachings of Theravada Buddhism. The Pali Canon addresses the rules of conduct and regulations within the monastic order of Buddhism, the discourses spoken by the Buddha and his disciples, and scholastic interpretation of the teachings of the Buddha (Fronsdal 2005). We will focus on a series of discourses taught by Buddha to further our understanding of Buddhist philosophy.
[Buddha:] “What do you think monks: Is form permanent or impermanent?”