top of page
IMG_3267 (002)2.jpg

The Buddha and his teachings

Ven. S. M. Sujano



Buddhism is a western term for Buddha dhamma (Stk: Buddha dharma), which means the teachings of the awakened one. Buddha is not a name of particular person but a title to one who awakened or enlightened one.


Today, Buddhism is one of the major religions in the world. It is a religion to about over 400 million people around the world. It has its history about over 2500 years ago when Siddharth Gotama, known as the Buddha, was himself awakened at the age of 35. His enlightenment was the beginning of Buddha dhamma or the religion known as the Buddhism.


Today Buddhism become popular in west for a number of reasons; a way life and answers to many problems of modern materialistic age. Founder of Buddhism was not the God, nor he claim to be. He was neither the son of God nor the messenger of the God. He was a human being, who cultivates himself and attained enlightenment. He taught a path to enlightenment from his own experience.


The Buddha and Buddha Dhamma

The prince Siddharth Gotama was born about 2600 years ago (six century B.C.) in Kapilavatthu of modern Nepal. He, at the age of 29 renounced the palace after a luxurious and sensual life for search the way to salvation of life. He went to different teachers and practice different ascetics methods for nearly six years but couldn’t attain enlightenment. Finally, he discovered the middle way of life and became Enlighten at the age of 35 and known as the Buddha. He introduced this middle way (majjimapatipada) for the happiness and benefit of the many. Later, it is known as the Buddhism.

He, the Buddha preached the doctrines for 45 years in various ways and different places. His main massage or teachings are The Four Noble Truths (Catu Ariya Sacca), Dependent Origination (Paticca Samuppada), and Three Characteristics (Tilakkhana) and so on. But the heart of Buddha’s teachings is the Four Noble Truths. The Buddha says in Hatthipadopama Sutta or the discourse of Elephant’s foot that Four Noble Truths is includes all his doctrines like every animal’s foots are including in elephant’s foot. Therefore, all his teachings which are known as Dhamma are based on this Four Noble Truths. Moreover, he says that if one wants to teach dhamma or Buddhism to others he should teach to understand this Doctrine of Four Noble Truths.

“One thing only does the Tathagata teach, namely suffering and the cessation of suffering.” (Sutta Nipata)

His whole teachings were compiled and called Tipitaka (skt. Tripitaka) the three baskets of doctrine. It was first compiled after the three months of Buddha’s entered Parinibbana at the age of 80 and in time to time Buddhist councils were held in order to purify and checked. The Tripitaka consists of Vinaya pitaka, a code of conducts; Sutta pitaka, a set of discourses; and Abhidhamma pitaka, a set of higher doctrines or Buddhist psychology. This Tripitaka is known as the Theravada Buddhist scripture or Pali Buddhist scripture.

Therefore, Theravada Buddhism based on this scripture; Tripitaka.

‘Whether I (the Buddha) arises in this world or not the Dhamma is exists in the World.’(Dhammaniyama Sutta) says the Buddha. Therefore, Buddhism is not based or accepts its doctrines on trust. Everyone is invited to try them out, to experiment with them. No matter what is in the scripture or with hearsay or with tradition or with logical or with the thought ‘he/she is our teacher etc. study it with right views and keeps in practice. If it is work in practice and profitable then should practice them and abide in them. (Kesaputtiya Sutta). Because of this freedom of dogma Buddhism is accepted in every culture, tradition and countries of the world.


“Striving should be done by yourselves. The Tathagtas are only teachers.”

(Dhp. 276)

Therefore, there are three ways of education according to the Buddhism; Pariyatti = Study, preparatory, Patipatti = Practice, real practice and Pativeda = realization, Result, called Tisikkha (Skt. Trisikksya). Right understand is needed for right practice. So, pariyatti or study here means to development of right view and right understanding of the way of practices. The whole scripture is taken in this stage or road map for practice. Buddha never demanded that anyone accepts its teachings on trust or in terms of blind faith. ‘Come and See’ if beneficial keep practice it. So, Right View is bases for the development of right practice and right practice is bases for achievement of ultimate happiness; Nibbana Dhamma.

The understanding of real Buddha dhamma is realization through practice. The term practice is called meditation or Bhavana in Buddhism. Bhavana here means mental cultivation of wholesome deeds. According to Buddhism, Bhavanamaya panna or the knowledge that is gain from the development or cultivation is true knowledge and leads to end of all kinds of sufferings. In other word ‘Buddhism was discovered from meditation and should be known deeply only by practice meditation’. Therefore, in this respect right understanding on practice or meditation is crucial in Buddhism. Right meditation leads to understand of the real teachings of the Buddha. That is why meditation is important in Buddhism.

The Buddha’s whole mission was started from the Isipatana Migadaya Vana, a deer park, where he preached his first sermon called Dhamma-cakkappavatana Sutta. Reportedly, in this discourse, he gave out line of Buddhist view or core Buddhist teaching. The first sermon is explained the way of freedom from universal suffering or the Buddha teaches only two doctrines that are the existence of suffering and the cessation of the sufferings. This discourse mainly focused on ‘The Four Noble Truth and  the Middle Path; the way to overcome from sufferings and free from the two extremes.

The Buddha had taught for 45 years is “One thing only does the Tathagata (Buddha) teach, that is suffering and the cessation of suffering”.

Further, the Buddha’s “Dhamma is good in the beginning, good in the middle and good in the end.” (Suttapitaka)”.

May you all be happy and peace…

bottom of page