Excerpts from the Teaching of Buddha


The following passages are excerpted from a wonderful book called Teaching of Buddha. They are in the section of the book called "The Way of Practical Attainment".

It has long been my opinion that these passages present, in a concise fashion, the essence of the physical disciplines required by the devoted Buddhist practitioner.

Long ago, I memorized all these teachings, and I try to keep them in mind constantly. What possible fault could a Jew, Christian or Muslim find in a single word of them? Are they not the very same disciplines we in the West have been teaching our own children for millennia?


Three Ways Of Practice


For those who seek Enlightenment there are three ways of practice that must be understood and followed: First, disciplines for practical behavior; second, right concentration of mind; and third, wisdom.

What are disciplines? Everyone, whether he is a common man or a way-seeker, should follow the precepts for good behavior. He should control both his mind and his body, and guard the gates of his five senses. He should be afraid of even a trifling evil, and, from moment to moment, he should endeavor to practice only good deeds.

What is meant by the concentration of mind? It means to get quickly away from greedy and evil desires as they arise, and to hold the mind pure and tranquil.

What is wisdom? It is the ability to perfectly understand and to patiently accept the Fourfold Noble Truth:


  1. To know the fact of suffering and its nature
  2. To know the source of suffering
  3. To know what constitutes the end of suffering, and
  4. To know the Noble Path that leads to the end of suffering:



Exposition of the Four-fold Noble Truth


  • Life which is not free of desire and passion is always involved with distress. This is called the Truth of Suffering.

  • The cause of human suffering is undoubtedly found in the thirsts of the physical body and in the illusions of worldly passion. If these thirsts and illusions are traced to their source, they are found to be rooted in the intense desires of physical instincts. Thus, desire, having a strong will-to-live as its basis, seeks that which it feels desirable, even if it is sometimes death. This is called the Truth of the Cause of Suffering.

  • If desire, which lies at the root of all human passion, can be removed, then passion will die out, and all human suffering will be ended. This is called the Truth of the Cessation of Suffering.

  • The Eight-Fold Noble Path consists of:

  1. right view
  2. right thought
  3. right speech
  4. right behavior
  5. right livelihood
  6. right effort
  7. right mindfulness, and
  8. right concentration.



Exposition of the Eight-fold Noble Path


  • Right view means to thoroughly understand the Fourfold truth, to believe in the law of cause and effect, and not to be deceived by appearances and desires. (The law of cause and effect states that: The world is a vast concurrence of causes and effects. Everything happening now is the result of what happened before, and everything which shall happen later is the result of what is happening now. Nothing remains unchanged forever. Therefore, it is an error to become attached to any object, since no object has an enduring reality to it).
  • Right thought means the resolution not to cherish desires, not to be greedy, not to be angry, and not to do any harmful deed.
  • Right speech means the avoidance of lying words, idle words, abusive words, and double-tongues.
  • Right behavior means not to destroy any life, not to steal, and not to commit adultery.
  • Right livelihood means to avoid any life that would bring shame.
  • Right mindfulness means to maintain a pure and thoughtful mind.
  • Right concentration means to hold the mind right and tranquil for its concentration, seeking to realize the mind's pure essence.


Those who follow these three ways of practice (i.e., disciplines for practical behavior, right concentration of mind, and wisdom) may rightly call themselves the disciples of Buddha.



The 4 points of view to be considered


The four points of view to be considered are:


  • First, to consider the body impure, seeking to remove all attachment to it,
  • Second, to consider the senses as a source of suffering, whatever their feelings of pain or pleasure may be,
  • Third, to consider the mind to be in a constant state of flux, and
  • Fourth, to consider everything in the world as being a consequence of causes and conditions, and that nothing remains unchanged forever.



The Four Right Procedures


  • First, to prevent any evil from starting.
  • Second, to remove any evil as soon as it starts.
  • Third, to induce the doing of good deeds.
  • Fourth, to promote the growth and continuance of good deeds that have already started.


One must endeavor to keep these four procedures.



The Five Faculties Of Power


The five faculties of power are:


  • First, the faith to believe.
  • Second, the will to make the endeavor.
  • Third, the faculty of alertness.
  • Fourth, the ability to concentrate one's mind, and
  • Fifth, the ability to maintain clear wisdom.


These five faculties are necessary powers for anyone who wishes to obtain Enlightenment.


The Perfection Of Six Practices


The perfection of six practices for reaching the "other shore" of Enlightenment are:


  • The path of offering
  • The path of keeping precepts
  • The path of endurance
  • The path of endeavor
  • The path of concentration of mind, and
  • The path of wisdom.


These are explained thusly:


  • The practice of Offering gets rid of selfishness.
  • The practice of Precepts keeps one thoughtful of the rights and comforts of others.

  • The practice of Endurance helps one to control a fearful or angry mind.

  • The practice of Endeavor helps one to be diligent and faithful.

  • The practice of Wisdom changes a dark and confused mind into a clear and penetrating insight.


By following these paths, one can surely pass from the shore of delusion over to the shore of Enlightenment.



The Four Unlimited States of Mind


There are Four Unlimited States of Mind that the seeker of Enlightenment should cherish:

  • Compassion
  • Tenderness
  • Gladness
  • Equanimity

These are explained thusly:


  • One can remove greed by cherishing compassion.

  • One can remove anger by tenderness.

  • One can remove suffering by gladness.

  • One can remove the habit of discrimination of enemies and friends by cherishing an equitable mind.












Book: The Teaching of Buddha

The Teaching of Buddha is the most concise and all-inclusive Buddhist reference I know of, and I strongly recommend it to all. It is published by the Buddhist Promoting Foundation (Bukkyo Dendo Kyokai), an organization established by Mr. Yehan Numata, who was the founder of the Mitutoyo Corporation, a manufacturer of precision measuring instruments. Mr. Numata was an Eastern "Gideon", who used his wealth to spread the word of Buddha throughout the world. Consequently, his book may now be found in many hotel rooms in the Orient, just as the Gideon Bible is found in the West. In America, The Teaching of Buddha may readily be obtained from: The Society for Buddhist Understanding, 16925, E. Gale Avenue, City of Industry, CA 91745. The book is free, although a contribution is appreciated. Their Internet site may be accessed through this link: BDKAmerica.