The Buddha, the greatest scientist ever, taught the middle path for the first time to five of his followers. In the first sermon known as the Dhammacakkappavattana Sutta or the Turning of the Wheel of the Dhamma, the Buddha taught that seekers of truth must avoid two extremes—that of the path of sensual pleasure, and that of extreme penance or austerity. This middle path he explained by means of the Four Noble Truths and the Eightfold Path.

The Four Noble Truths

1.       There is suffering.

What is suffering?

Birth, decay, death, disease, association with unloved one, separation from loved one, not to get what one wants, in short, five aggregatesof attachment i.e. perception, consciousness, volition, feeling, form  is suffering.

2.       Suffering has a cause: craving.

What is craving?

Passionate pleasure, sensuous craving, craving for existence and craving for annihilation.

3.       If craving ceases, suffering ceases.

4.       There is a path leading to the cessation of suffering.

This path leading to the cessation of suffering is the Eightfold Path. It is divided into three divisions of sīla—moral living, samādhi—control of the mind, and paññā—total purification of the mind by wisdom and insight.

The Eightfold Path

Wisdom (Paññā)

1.       Right view (sammā-diṭṭhi).

2.       Right thought (sammā-saṅkappo).

Moral Conduct (Sīla)

3.       Right speech (sammā-vācā).

4.       Right action (sammā-kammanto).

5.       Right livelihood (sammā-ājīvo).

Control of Mind (Samādhi)

6.       Right effort (sammā-vāyāmo).

7.       Right awareness (sammā-sati).

8.       Right concentration (sammā-samādhi).

Then the Buddha utters :

“So long, bhikkhus, as my knowledge, and vision of reality regarding these four noble truths, in three phases and twelve ways, was not fully clear to me, I did not declare to the world with its devas and māras, to the mass of beings with its devas and humans, that I understood incomparable, perfect enlightenment.

But when, bhikkhus, as my knowledge, and vision of reality regarding these four noble truths, in three phases and twelve ways, was fully clear to me, I declared to the world with its devas and māras, to the mass of beings with its devas and humans that I understood incomparable, perfect enlightenment.

Knowledge and vision arose in me. Unshakable is the deliverance of my mind; this is the last birth, now there will be no birth.

Thus spoke the Blessed One and the group of five bhikkhus glad at heart approved of the words of the Blessed One.”

8fold noble Path

 

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