Buddhism is a philosophy of life found by Gautam Buddha, who lived and taught in northern India in the 6th century B.C. And the teachings of the Buddha are still useful in this modern world. The main concern about Buddha’s teachings is to liberate one from suffering. One of the basic teachings of Buddha which is core to Buddhism is explained below:
The Three Universal Truths
The three universal truths are; nothing is lost in the universe; everything changes and the law of cause and effect.
In Buddhism, the law of karma, says “for every event that occurs, there will follow another event whose existence was caused by the first, and this second event will be pleasant or unpleasant according as its cause was skillful or unskillful.” Therefore, the law of Karma teaches that the responsibility for unskillful actions is borne by the person who commits them.
After his enlightenment, the Buddha went to the Deer Park near the holy city of Benares and shared his new understanding with five holy men. They understood immediately and became his disciples. This marked the beginning of the Buddhist community. For the next forty-five years, the Buddha and his disciples went from place to place in India spreading the Dharma, his teachings. Their compassion knew no bounds; they helped everyone along the way, beggars, kings and slave girls. At night, they would sleep where they were; when hungry they would ask for a little food. Wherever the Buddha went, he won the hearts of the people because he dealt with their true feelings. He advised them not to accept his words on blind faith, but to decide for themselves whether his teachings are right or wrong, then follow them. He encouraged everyone to have compassion for each other and develop their own virtue: “You should do your own work, for I can teach only the way.”
Also read: Gautam Buddha’s three universal truths
Once, the Buddha and his disciple Ananda visited a monastery where a monk was suffering from a contagious disease. The poor man lay in a mess with no one looking after him. The Buddha himself washed the sick monk and placed him on a new bed. Afterwards, he admonished the other monks: “Monks, you have neither mother nor father to look after you. If you do not look after each other, who will look after you? Whoever serves the sick and suffering, serves me.” After many such cycles, if a person releases their attachment to desire and the self, they can attain Nirvana. This is a state of liberation and freedom from suffering. The three trainings or practices.
“Monks, you have neither mother nor father to look after you. If you do not look after each other, who will look after you? Whoever serves the sick and suffering, serves me.”
These three consist of:
Virtue, good conduct, morality. This is based on two fundamental principles: The principle of equality: that all living entities are equal. The principle of reciprocity: This is the “Golden Rule” in Christianity – to do unto others as you would wish them to do unto you. It is found in all major religions.
Concentration, meditation, mental development. Developing one’s mind is the path to wisdom which, in turn, leads to personal freedom. Mental development also strengthens and controls our mind; this helps us maintain good conduct.
Discernment, insight, wisdom, enlightenment. This is the real heart of Buddhism. Wisdom will emerge if your mind is pure and calm.