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What the Buddha Taught

What the Buddha Taught

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Published by Nuno Castro
Essential teachings of the buddha.
Essential teachings of the buddha.

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Published by: Nuno Castro on Jan 22, 2013
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08/26/2013

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What the Buddha Taught
 
by Walpola Rahula
 
The Buddha
 The Buddha, whose personal name was Siddhattha, and family nameGotama, lived in North India in the 6th century B.C. His father Suddhodana, wasthe ruler of the kingdom of the Sakyas (in modern Nepal). His mother was queen Maya. According to the custom of the time, he was married quite young, at the ageof sixteen, to a beautiful and devoted young princess named Yasodahara. The youngprince lived in his palace with every luxury at his command. But all of a sudden,confronted with the reality of life and the suffering of mankind, he decided to findthe solution-the way out of this universal suffering. At the age of 29, soon after the birth of his only child, Rahula, he left hiskingdom and became an ascetic in search of his solution. For six years the asceticGotama wandered about the valley of Ganges, meeting famous religious teachers,studying and following their systems and methods, and submitting himself torigorous ascetic practices. They did not satisfy him. So he abandoned all traditionalreligions and their methods and went his own way.It was thus that one evening, seated under a tree (since then known as theBodhi- or Bo-tree, the "Tree of Wisdom"), on the bank of the river Neranjara atBuddha-aya (near Gaya in modern Bihar), at the age of 35, Gotama attainedenlightenment, after which he was known as the Buddha, 'The Enlightened One'. After his Enlightenment, Gotama the Buddha delivered his first sermon to agroup of five ascetics, his old colleagues, in the Deer Park at Isipatana (modernSarnath) near Benares. From that day, for 45 years, he taught all classes of men and women-kings and peasants, Brahmins and outcasts, bankers and beggars, holy menand robbers-without making the slightest distinction between them. He recognizedno differences of caste or social groupings, and the Way he preached was open to allmen and women who were ready to understand and follow it. At the age of 80, theBuddha passed away at Kusinara (in modern Uttar Pradesh in India).Today Buddhism is found in Ceylon, Burma, Thailand, Cambodia, Laos, Vietnam, Tibet, China, Japan, Mongolia, Korea, Laos, Formosa, in some parts of India,Pakistan and Nepal, and also in Soviet Union. The Buddhist population of the worldis over 500 million.
 
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Contents
 
 What the Buddha Taught
...................................................................................................1
 The Buddha
......................................................................................................................1
 Contents
...........................................................................................................................2
 Chapter 1.The Buddhist Attitude of Mind
............................................................................3
 The Four Noble Truths
......................................................................................................12
 Chapter .2 .The First Noble Truth :"Dukkha"
........................................................................12
 Chapter.3.The Second Noble Truth"Samudaya": "The Arising of Dukkha"
.............................21
 Chapter4 The Third NobleTruth"Niroda": 'The Cessation of Dukkha'
....................................25
 Chapter.5.The fourth noble truth:"Magga": The Path
...........................................................32
 Chapter.6.The doctrine of no soul: Anatta
...........................................................................37
 Chapter.7. Meditation of mental culture: Bhavana
..............................................................48
 Instruction for life
............................................................................................................55
 
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Chapter 1.The Buddhist Attitude of Mind
  Among the founders of religions the Buddha (if we are permitted to call himthe founder of a religion in the popular sense of the term) was the only teacher whodid not claim to be other than a human being, pure and simple. Other teachers wereeither God, or his incarnations in different forms, or inspired by him. The Buddha was not only a human being; he claimed no inspiration from any god or externalpower either. He attributed all his realization, attainments and achievements tohuman endeavour and human intelligence. A man and only a man can becomeBuddha. Every man has within himself the potentiality of becoming a Buddha, if heso wills it and endeavours. We can call the Buddha a man par excellence. He was soperfect in his 'human-ness' that he came to be regarded later in popular religionalmost as 'super-human'. Man's position, according to Buddhism, is supreme. Man ishis own master, and there is no higher being or power that sits in judgment over hisdestiny.'One is one's own refuge, who else could be the refuge?' said the Buddha. Headmonished his disciples to 'be a refuge to themselves, and never to seek refuge in orhelp from anybody else. He taught, encouraged and stimulated each person todevelop himself and to work out his own emancipation, for man has the power toliberate himself from all bondage through his own personal effort and intelligence.The Buddha says: 'You should do your work, for the Tathagatas(1) only teachthe way.' If the Buddha is to be called a 'saviour' at all, it is only in the sense that hediscovered and showed the Path to Liberation, Nirvana. But we must tread the Pathourselves. It is on this principle of individual responsibility that the Buddha allowsfreedom to his disciples. In the Mahaparinibbanasutta the Buddha says that henever thought of controlling the Sangha (Order of Monks), nor did he wanted theSangha to depend on him.He said that there was no esoteric doctrine in his teaching, nothing hidden inthe 'closed-fist of the teacher', or to put it in other words, there never was anything'up his sleeve'. The freedom of thought allowed by the Buddha is unheard ofelsewhere in the history of religions. This freedom is necessary because, according tothe Buddha, man's emancipation depends on his own realizationof Truth, and not onthe benevolent grace of a god or any external power as a reward for his obedientgood behaviour.The Buddha once visited a small town called Kesaputta in the kingdom ofKosala. The inhabitants of this town were known by the common name Kalama. When they heard that the Buddha was in their town, the Kalamas paid him a visit,and told him: 'Sir, there are some recluses and brahmapas who visit Kesaputta. Theyexplain and illumine only their own doctrines, and despise, condemn and spurnothers'doctrines. Then come other recluses and brahmapas, and they, too, in their

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