Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Teachings : The Buddha


The Buddha was a practical reformer. His primary aim was to secure deliverance from the grim reality of sorrow and suffering. So he enunciated the 'Four Noble Truths' (Arya Satya): (i) there is suffering; (ii) this suffering
must have a cause which is desire; (ill) suffering must be . got rid of; (iv) in order to get rid of suffering one must know the right way.

Suffering is caused by desire; therefore, the extinction of desire would lead to the cessation of suffering. Desire could be extinguished if one follows the 'Noble
Eightfold Path' (Astangika Marga)
: (i) right belief, (ii) right thought, (ill) right speech, (iv) right action, (v) right means of livelihood, (vi) right endeavour, (vii) right recollection, (vill) right meditation. 'fl.Us is the 'great Middle Path', for it avoids the extremes of gross luxury and severe austerity. This Middle Path leads finally to nirvana, which implies not only the extinction of desire, but also the attainment of a perfect state of tranquillity. Emphasis is laid on the obser­vance of the silas (moralities), samadhi (concentration) and prajan (insight).

The Buddha differed from Mahavira in his attitude towards asceticism. He laid great stress on non-injury to living creatures, but in this respect Jainism is far more strict than Buddhism. The Buddha repudiated the authority of the Vedas and denied the spiritual efficacy of Vedic rites and sacrifices, although he accepted the traditional belief in transmigration of the soul and the law of karma. He did not concern himself with the problem of the existence of God, for abstruse metaphysical speculations were, ac( ing to him, quite irrelevant for the development of n moral and spiritual worth. His simple faith was meaIl all, irrespective of sex, age or social position. He introdl the practice of holding religious discourses in the langl of the common-people, and refused to confine spir teachings to Sanskrit, the language of the learned- fe

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