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The Buddha and His Teachings


The Buddha and His Mentors

The Buddha and His Teachings

by

Venerable Narada Mahathera

Reserve Publication No: 102S

Copyright © Kandy; Buddhist Publication Society, (1988 )
BPS Online Edition © (2006 )

For free distribution. This work might be republished, reformatted, reprinted and rearranged in any medium. However, any such republication and redistribution is to be offered to the general public on a complimentary and unrestricted basis and translations and other derivative works are to be clearly marked as such.

CONTENTS

  1. THE BUDDHA – FROM BIRTH TO RENUNCIATION
  2. HIS BATTLE FOR ENLIGHTENMENT
  3. THE BUDDHAHOOD
  4. AFTER THE ENLIGHTENMENT
  5. THE INVITE TO EXPOUND THE DHAMMA
  6. DHAMMACAKKAPPAVATTANA SUTTA – THE FIRST DISCOURSE
  7. THE MENTOR OF THE DHAMMA
  8. THE BUDDHA AND HIS FAMILY MEMBERS
  9. THE BUDDHA AND HIS LOVED ONES (Continued)
  10. THE BUDDHA’S PRIMARY OPPONENTS AND ADVOCATES
  11. THE BUDDHA’S ROYAL PATRONS
  12. THE BUDDHA’S MINISTRY
  13. THE BUDDHA’S DAILY REGIMEN
  14. THE BUDDHA’S PARINIBBĀNA (DEATH)
  15. THE TEACHINGS OF THE BUDDHA
  16. SOME SALIENT CHARACTERISTICS OF BUDDHISM
  17. THE FOUR NOBLE TRUTHS
  18. KAMMA
  19. WHAT IS KAMMA?
  20. THE WORKING OF KAMMA
  21. NATURE OF KAMMA
  22. WHAT IS THE ORIGIN OF LIFE?
  23. THE BUDDHA ON THE SO-CALLED CREATOR-GOD
  24. REASONS TO BELIEVE IN RENEWAL
  25. THE WHEEL OF LIFE – PATICCA-SAMUPPĀDA
  26. MODES OF BIRTH AND DEATH
  27. AIRCRAFTS OF EXISTENCE
  28. HOW REBIRTH OCCURS
  29. WHAT IS IT THAT IS REBORN? (No-Soul)
  30. ETHICAL DUTY
  31. KAMMIC DESCENT AND KAMMIC CLIMB
  32. A KEEP IN MIND ON THE DOCTRINE OF KAMMA AND REBIRTH IN THE WEST
  33. NIBBĀNA
  34. CHARACTERISTICS OF NIBBĀNA
  35. THE METHOD TO NIBBĀNA (I)
  36. THE METHOD TO NIBBĀNA (II) – MEDITATION
  37. NĪVARANA OR HINDRANCES
  38. THE METHOD TO NIBBĀNA (III)
  39. THE STATE OF AN ARAHANT
  40. THE BODHISATTA SUITABLE
  41. PĀRAMĪ – EXCELLENCE
  42. BRAHMAVIHĀRA – THE SUBLIME STATES
  43. 8 WORLDLY CONDITIONS
  44. THE PROBLEMS OF LIFE

§ § §– Namo Tassa Bhagavato Arahato Sammā-Sambuddhassa
Homage to Him, the Exalted, the Deserving, the Completely Enlightened One

INTRO

Numerous important books have actually been composed by Eastern and Western scholars, Buddhists and non-Buddhists alike, to present the life and mentors of the Buddha to those who are interested in Buddhism.

Among them among the most popular works is still The Light of Asia by Sir Edwin Arnold. Many Western truth-seekers were drawn in to Buddhism by this world-famous poem.

Congratulations of Eastern and Western Buddhists are due to the found out writers on their admirable efforts to inform the readers on the Buddha-Dhamma.

This new treatise is another modest effort made by a member of the Order of the Sangha, based upon the Pāli Texts, commentaries, and customs dominating in Buddhist nations, especially in Ceylon.

The first part of the book deals with the Life of the Buddha, thc second with the Dhamma, the Pāli term for His Teaching.

*

TheBuddha-Dhamma is a moral and philosophical system whichexpounds a distinct path of Knowledge, and is not a based on be studied from a mere academic standpoint.

The Teaching is certainly to be studied, more to be practiced, and above all to be realized by oneself.

Mere knowing is of no get without real practice. The learned man who does not practice the Dhamma, the Buddha says, resembles a vibrant flower without fragrance.

He who does not study the Dhamma resembles a blind male. But, he who does not practice the Dhamma is comparable to a library.

*

There are some rash critics who knock Buddhism as a passive and non-active religious beliefs. This baseless criticism is far from the truth.

The Buddha was the first most active missionary in the world. He wandered from place to put for forty-five years preaching His teaching to the masses and the intelligentsia. Till His last minute, He served humanity both by example and by precept. His differentiated disciples did the same, broke, they even travelled to remote lands to propagate the Dhamma, expecting absolutely nothing in return.

“Make every effort on with diligence” were latest things of the Buddha. No emancipation or purification can be gotten without personal striving. As such petitional or intercessory prayers are knocked in Buddhism and in their stead is meditation which results in self-discipline, filtration, and enlightenment. Both meditation and service form significant qualities of Buddhism. In truth, all Buddhist nations grew up in the cradle of Buddhism.

“Do no evil”, that is, be not a curse to oneself and others, was the Buddha’s very first advice. This was followed by His second admonition? “Do excellent”, that is, be a blessing to oneself and others. His last exhortation was? “Purify one’s mind”— which was the most essential and the most essential.

Can such a faith be described non-active and passive?

It might be pointed out that, amongst the thirty-seven factors that result in knowledge (Bodhipakkhiya-Dhamma), viriya or energy occurs nine times.

Clarifying His relationship with His fans, the Buddha states:

“You yourselves should make the exertion.The Tathāgatas are simple instructors.”The Buddhas suggest the path

and it is left for us to follow that course to get our purification. Self-exertion plays an important part in Buddhism.”By oneself is one cleansed; by oneself is one defiled.”* Bound by guidelines and policies, Bhikkhus

can be

active in their own fields without trespassing their limitations, while lay followers can serve their faith, country and the world in their own method, directed by their Buddhist concepts. Buddhism provides one way of life to Bhikkhus and another

to lay followers. In one sense all Buddhists are bold warriors.

They do battle, however not with weapons and bombs. They do eliminate, but not innocent guys, women and children. With whom and with what do they combat? Whom do they mercilessly

kill? They fight with themselves, for male is the worst opponent of male. Mind is his

worst enemy and buddy. Ruthlessly they eliminate the passions of lust, hatred and ignorance that live in this mind by morality, concentration and wisdom. Those who prefer to battle with enthusiasms alone in solitude are perfectly free

to do so. Bhikkhus who live in seclusion are notable examples. To those competed ones, solitude is joy. Those who seek delight in coping life’s issues residing in the world and therefore make a happy world where guys can live as ideal people in perfect peace and harmony, can embrace that duty and that tough course. Man is not meant for Buddhism. But Buddhism is suggested for guy. * According to Buddhism, it ought to be specified that neither wealth nor poverty, if appropriately seen, can be an obstacle towards being a perfect Buddhist

.

Anāthapindika, the Buddha’s best advocate, was a millionaire. Ghatikāra, who was related to even better than a king, was a poverty-stricken potter. As Buddhism appeals to both the rich and the poor it appeals equally to the masses and the intelligentsia. The typical folk are attracted by the devotional side of

Buddhism and its easier ethics while the intellectuals are fascinated by the deeper teachings

and psychological culture. A casual visitor to a Buddhist country, who goes into a Buddhist temple for the very first time, may get the wrong impression that Buddhism is restricted

to rites and ceremonies and is a superstitious faith which countenances worship of images and trees. Buddhism, being tolerant, does not totally denounce such external kinds of reverence as they are required for the masses. One can see with what devotion they carry out such spiritual events. Their faith is increased thus. Buddhists kneel before the image and pay their aspects to what that image represents. Comprehending Buddhists assess the virtues of the Buddha. They seek not worldly or spiritual favours from the image. The Bodhi-tree, on the other hand, is the symbol of knowledge. What the Buddha anticipates from His adherents are not these types of obeisance however the real observance of His Mentors.”He who practices my teaching best, reveres me most”,

is the recommendations of the Buddha. An understanding Buddhist can practice the Dhamma without external forms of homage. To follow the Noble Eightfold Course neither temples nor images are absolutely necessary.

* Is it proper to state that Buddhism is absolutely transcendent although Buddhism posits a series of previous and future lives and an indefinite variety of habitable aircrafts? The object of the Buddha’s mission

was to provide beings from suffering by eradicating its cause and to teach a way to put an end to both birth and death if one desires to do so. Incidentally, nevertheless

, the Buddha has actually stated discourses which tend to worldly progress. Both material and spiritual progress are essential for the development of a nation. One must not be separated from the other, nor ought to product progress be attained by sacrificing spiritual progress as is to be experienced today amongst materialistic-minded nations on the planet. It is the duty of particular Governments and philanthropic bodies to cater for the material development of individuals and offer congenial conditions, while religions like Buddhism, in specific, cater for the ethical development to make individuals ideal residents. Buddhism goes counter to the majority of religious beliefs in striking the Middle Way and in making its Teaching homo-centric in contradistinction to theo-centric creeds. As such Buddhism is introvert and is interested in specific emancipation

. The Dhamma has to be understood by oneself(sanditthiko ). * As a guideline, the anticipated supreme goal of most of mankind is either nihilism or eternalism. Materialists think in total annihilation after death. According to some religions the objective is to be achieved in an after-life, in everlasting

union

either with an Almighty Being or an inexplicable force which, to put it simply, is one kind of eternalism. * Buddhism promotes the middle path. Its objective is neither nihilism, for there is absolutely nothing long-term to obliterate nor eternalism, for there is no long-term soul to eternalize. The Buddhist goal can be accomplished in this life itself. * What happens to the Arahant after

death

? This is a subtle and hard question to be responded to as Nibbāna is a supramundane state that can not be expressed by words and is beyond area and time. Strictly speaking, there exists a Nibbāna however no person to achieve Nibbāna.

The Buddha says it is wrong to state that an Arahant exists nor does not exist after death. If, for instance, a fire burns and is extinguished, one can not say that it went to any of the four instructions. When say goodbye to fuel is added, it stops to burn. The Buddha cites this illustration of fire and includes that the question is mistakenly put. One may-be puzzled. But, it is not unexpected. Here is a suitable illustration by a modern researcher. Robert Oppenheimer composes:”If we ask, for instance, whether the position of the electron stays the same, we need to say ‘no ‘; if we ask whether the electron’s position changes with time, we need to say’no’; if

we ask whether the electron is at rest, we should state’ no’; if we ask whether it is in action, we should state’no’.”The Buddha had actually provided such responses when interrogated as to the condition of guy’s self after death, however they are not familiar responses from the tradition of the 17th and 18th century science.”Obviously the learned author is referring to the state of an Arahant after death. What is making use of attaining such

a state? Why should we negate presence? Should we not affirm presence for life is full of joy? These are not unanticipated concerns. They are the common concerns of persons who either desire to delight in life or to work for humankind, dealing with obligations and undergoing suffering.

To the previous, a Buddhist would state:– you might if you like, but be not slaves to worldly pleasures which are fleeting and illusory; whether

you like it or not, you will have to gain what you sow. To the latter a Buddhist may say:– by all indicates work for the weal of humanity and look for pleasure in altruistic service. Buddhism uses the objective of Nibbāna

to those who require it, and is not forced on any.”Come and see”, advises the Buddha. * Till the ultimate goal is achieved a Buddhist is expected to lead a worthy and useful life. Buddhism has an excellent code of morals ideal to both advanced and unadvanced types of individuals. They are:(a)The five Precepts– not to eliminate, not to steal, not to dedicate

adultery, not to lie, and not to take envigorating liquor.( b)The four Sublime States(Brahma-Vihāra): Loving-kindness, compassion

,

appreciative joy and equanimity.(c)The 10 Transcendental virtues( Pāramitā):– generosity, morality

, renunciation, wisdom, energy, patience, truthfulness, resolution, loving-kindness, and equanimity.( d)The Noble Eightfold Course: Right understanding, right ideas, right speech, ideal action, right income, best effort, best mindfulness and right concentration. Those who desire obtain Arahantship at the earliest possible opportunity may consider on the exhortation given to Age-old Rāhula by the Buddha? namely, “This body is not mine; this am I not; this is not my soul” (N’etam mama, n’eso’hamasmi, na me so

attā). * It needs to be humbly mentioned that this book is not planned for scholars but students who wish to comprehend the life of the Buddha and His fundamental teachings. The original edition of this book first appeared in 1942. The 2nd one, a revised and bigger edition with many additions and adjustments, was published in Saigon in 1964 with voluntary contributions from my devout Vietnamese fans. In the present one, I have included two more chapters
and an appendix with some essential Suttas.

It provides me enjoyment to state that a Vietnamese translation of this book by Mr. Pham Kim Khanh(Sunanda )was also released in Saigon. In preparing this volume I have actually made use of the translations of the Pāli Text Society and numerous works composed by Buddhists and non-Buddhists. At times I may have simply echoed their authentic views and even used their proper phrasing. Wherever possible I have acknowledged the source. I am extremely grateful to the late Mr. V. F. Gunaratna who, amidst his multifarious duties as Public Trustee of Ceylon, extremely thoroughly modified

and modified the whole manuscript with utmost accuracy and great faith. Though an onerous job, it was a labour of love to him because he was a perfect practicing Buddhist, well versed in the Buddha-Dhamma. My thanks are due to generous devotees for their voluntary contributions, to Mrs. Coralie La Brooy and Miss Ranjani Goonetilleke for remedying the evidence and also to the Associated Newspapers of Ceylon Ltd. for printing the book with great care.

NĀRADA.14 th July, 2522-1980. Vajirārāma, Colombo 5. Sri Lanka.– § § §– TOP OF PAGE Source

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