Although an independent and major religion of the world today, Buddhism began as a reform movement within Hinduism. The Four Noble Truths expounded by the Buddha in his first sermon at the Deer Park at Sarnath constitute the core of his teachings.
- There is suffering (dukkha) in the world.
- This suffering has a cause.
- Suffering can be eradicated.
- There is a way to accomplishthis end. This is the Eightfold Path. Each of the eight phases has to be developed simultaneously because they are linked together, and the cultivation of one helps in the observance of the others.
- Right Understanding: Resulting from a conviction in the Four Noble Truths.
- Right Aspiration: Intense desire to follow the path to eradicate suffering.
- Right Speech: Abstention from telling lies, backbiting, slander, and from talk that may bring about hatred, enmity, disunity and disharmony among individuals. It also includes abstention from idle, useless and foolish gossip, and from the use of harsh and abusive language.
- Right Action: Is that which avoids destruction of, or injury to life and property, and promotes honourable and peaceful living. It means avoidance of dishonest dealings with others and illegitimate sexual intercourse.
- Right Livelihood: One should adopt an occupation, which is honourable and blameless and involves no harm or injury to others. Selling of intoxicating drinks and trade in lethal weapons and killing of animals for food, are banned under this rule.
- Right Effort: We should direct our energies towards preventing evil and unwholesome states of mind from arising, and to get rid of them if they have arisen, and to develop and bring to perfection the good and wholesome states already present.
- Right Mindfulness: Is to be diligently aware, mindful and attentive with regard to:
the activities of the body
sensations and feelings
the activities of the mind
ideas, thoughts, conceptions and things.
8. Right Absorption: There are various exercises for concentration to develop meditation, culminating in absorption.
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