Revised: July 10, 2016

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“...when you find that anything agrees with reason and is conducive to the good and the benefit of one and all, then accept it and live up to it.”
- Attributed to BUDDHA
The Essence of Buddha's Teaching
Buddha set forth his teaching in the following doctrine

The Four Noble Truths:

1.  All things and experiences are marked by suffering/ disharmony/ frustration (dukkha).

2.  The arising of suffering/ disharmony/ frustration comes from desire/ craving/ clinging.

3.  To achieve the cessation or end of suffering/ disharmony/ frustration, let go of desire/ craving/ clinging.

4.  The way to achieve that cessation of suffering/ disharmony/ frustration, is walking the Eightfold Path.

The eightfold path to the cessation of suffering:

1.  Right Understanding of the following facts:

•  the truth about suffering ... (The Four Truths);

•  everything is impermanent and changes;

•  there is no separate individual self- this is an illusion. (We are one!)

2.  Right Determination to:

•  give up what is wrong and evil;

•  undertake what is good;

•  abandon thoughts that have to do with bringing suffering to any conscious being; cultivate thoughts of loving kindness, that are based on caring about others' suffering, and sympathetic joy in others' happiness.

3.  Right Speech:

•  Abstain from telling lies.

•  Abstain from talk that brings harm or discredit to others (such as backbiting or slander) or talk that creates hatred or disharmony between individuals and groups.

•  Abstain from harsh, rude, impolite, malicious, or abusive language.

•  Abstain from idle, useless, and foolish babble and gossip. Abstain from recrimination and negative statements.

•  Abstain from harsh speech—practice kindly speech.

•  Abstain from frivolous speech—practice meaningful speech.

•  Abstain from slanderous speech—practice harmonious speech.

•  Speak the truth if it is useful and timely. Practice only necessary speech. Let your speech be filled with loving kindness. Speak that which alleviates suffering.

4.  Right Action:

•  Peaceful, honorable conduct; abstain from dishonest dealings; take concrete steps necessary to foster what is good.

•  Do things that are moral, honest, and alleviate suffering. Do not do things that will bring suffering to others or yourself.

5.  Right Livelihood:

•  Abstain from making your living from an occupation that brings harm and suffering to humans or animals, or diminish their well being. This includes: activities that directly harm conscious beings, and activities that indirectly harm sentient beings, e.g., making weapons or poisons.

6.  Right Effort:

•  Foster good and prevent evil;

•  Work on yourself—be engaged in appropriate self-improvement. The essence of right effort is that everything must be done with a sense of proper balance that fits the situation. Effort should be balanced between trying too hard and not trying hard enough. For example, strike the balance between excessive fasting and over-indulgence in food. Trying hard to progress too rapidly gets poor results, as does not trying hard enough.

7.  Right Mindfulness or wakefulness:

•  Foster right attention.

•  Avoid whatever clouds our mental awareness (e.g., drugs).

•  Systematically and intentionally develop awareness.

8.  Right Concentration:

•  Developed by practicing meditation and/or mental focusing. Proper meditation must be done continuously while awake, and should include work on awareness of body, emotions, thought, and mind objects.

Five basic precepts:

1.  Abstain from killing living beings (from destroying/taking life)—or practice love.

2.  Abstain from taking the not-given (from stealing)—or practice generosity, practice giving.

3.  Abstain from sexual misconduct—or practice contentment.

4.  Abstain from false speech (from lying)—or practice truthfulness.

5.  Abstain from taking intoxicating drinks—or practice awareness and mental clarity.

Buddha said:

Do not believe in anything simply because you have heard it. Do not believe in traditions because they have been handed down for many generations. Do not believe anything because it is spoken and rumored by many. Do not believe in anything because it is written in your religious books. Do not believe in anything merely on the authority of your teachers and elders. But after observation and analysis, when you find that anything agrees with reason and is conducive to the good and the benefit of one and all, then accept it and live up to it.

The following prose, attributed to Buddha, expresses the way he perceived the world.

Buddha said:

•  I consider the positions of kings and rulers as that of dust motes.

•  I observe treasures of gold and gems as so many bricks and pebbles.

•  I look upon the finest silken robes as tattered rags.

•  I see myriad worlds of the universe as small seeds of fruit, and the greatest lake in India as a drop of oil upon my foot.

•  I perceive the teachings of the world as the illusions of magicians.

•  I discern the highest conception of emancipation as a golden brocade in a dream, and view the holy path of the illuminated ones as flowers appearing in one's eyes.

•  I see meditation as a pillar of a mountain, nirvana as a nightmare of daytime.

•  I look upon the judgments of right and wrong as the serpentine dance of a dragon, and the rise and fall of belief as traces left by the four seasons.

Resource Menu
Books About Buddha

The Long Discourses of the Buddha The Long Discourses of the Buddha: A Translation of the Digha Nikaya (Teachings of the Buddha)
by Maurice Walshe (Translator)

Thirty-four discourses that are among the oldest records of the Buddha's original teachings. An invaluable collection of teachings that reveal his gentleness, compassion, and wisdom.

Purchase this paperback edition of The Long Discourses of the Buddha

The Way of Zen The Way of Zen
by Alan W. Watts

Watts follows Buddhism through the development of the early Mahayana school, and then the birth of Zen from Buddhism’s marriage with Taoism. He concludes with Zen’s unique expression in Japanese culture.

Purchase this paperback edition of The Way of Zen

Awakening the Buddha Within Awakening the Buddha Within: Tibetan Wisdom for the Western World
by Lama Surya Das

Covers the traditional three trainings for enlightenment: ethics, meditation, and wisdom. Includes all the major concepts of Tibetan Buddhism from the Eight Steps to Enlightenment to the Six Principles of Enlightened Living, setting them in the context of Western civilization, and showing how this wisdom can be integrated into life here and now.

Purchase this hardcover edition of Awakening the Buddha Within

Buddha: Life and Work of the Forerunner in India Buddha: Life and Work of the Forerunner in India
by Maurice Walshe (Translator)

This book documents the travels and experiences that led Siddhartha to the enlightenment. Filled with images of rural India’s wilderness, animals, people, and legends.

Purchase this hardcover edition of Buddha: Life and Work of the Forerunner in India

Before He Was Buddha Before He Was Buddha
by Hammalawa Saddhatissa

This biography portrays Buddha, first as a boy named Siddhartha, then as a man who leaves home in search of truth, and finally as an elderly teacher.

Purchase this hardcover edition of Before He Was Buddha

Jesus and Buddha: The Parallel Sayings Jesus and Buddha: The Parallel Sayings
by Ray Riegert (Editor)

Jesus and Buddha were separated by five hundred years, three thousand miles, and two drastically different cultures. Yet this book juxtaposes passages from the New Testament and ancient Buddhist scriptures to illuminate the striking similarity between their lives, deeds, and teachings.

Purchase this hardcover edition of Jesus and Buddha: The Parallel Sayings

DVDs About Buddha/Buddhism

Life of Buddha Life of Buddha

Reveals the fascinating story of Prince Siddhartha and his spiritual transformation into the Buddha.

Purchase this DVD edition of Life of Buddha

Zen Buddhism: In Search of Self Zen Buddhism: In Search of Self

This beautifully produced documentary follows two dozen Zen Buddhist nuns as they practice a 1000-year old tradition of 90-day fasting, meditation and contemplation, seeking enlightenment.

Purchase this DVD edition of Zen Buddhism: In Search of Self

Discovering Buddhism Discovering Buddhism

A great introduction to Tibetan Buddhism.

Purchase this DVD edition of Discovering Buddhism

Robert A. F. Thurman On Buddhism Robert A. F. Thurman On Buddhism

Thurman's three-part lecture series “On Buddhism” is an extremely thorough introduction to the philosophy, theology, and history of Buddhism.

Purchase this DVD edition of Robert A. F. Thurman On Buddhism

Four Noble Truths Four Noble Truths

A set of four videos that collect a series of lectures on the Four Noble Truths given by His Holiness the XIV Dalai Lama in 1997 in England. Each of the four videos includes a brief introduction by Tibetan Buddhism scholar Robert Thurman, who contextualizes the lectures within the many Buddhist traditions.

Purchase this DVD edition of Four Noble Truths

God and Buddha: A Dialogue God and Buddha: A Dialogue

Buddhist professor, Robert Thurman and the Vedanta philosopher, Deepak Chopra discuss great questions of the modern age within the context of two of the world’s oldest religions. Thought provoking and inspirational.

Purchase this DVD edition of God and Buddha: A Dialogue

Buddha/Buddhism Online Videos

The moment of enlightenment beautifully told

Zen Meditation observing the moment

Interview with a Zen Buddhist Priest

How to practice Zazen

The Essence of Buddhism by Sogyal Rinpoche

The Purpose of Life by Sogyal Rinpoche

The Tibetan Method of Relaxation by Zachoeje Rinpoche in 2 parts:
PART 1/2 - PART 2/2

Related Websites

E-Sangha Buddhism Portal
Free e-books, discussion forum, free e-cards and links

Buddist Information Network

Hsu Yun Chan Yuen
Zen Buddism Order

Resources for the Study of East Asian Language and Thought
Maintained by A. Charles Muller, Toyo Gakuen University, Japan

Buddhist T-Shirts

The Buddha

Related Figures in the Lucidcafé Library

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