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Core Fundamental Teachings of Buddha

Core Fundamental Teachings of Buddha#

  • The history of buddhism and the buddha himself isn’t essential
  • The esotheric, extensive detail, rites, rituals and the number of things are inconsequential
  • The worshipping and blind belief as buddha as a god is also false. He was a human and we are humans.
  • Do not blindly delieve. Independently verify through observation.
  • This is not a religion - with rites, rituals, ceremony and worship
  • The mind is not the brain - it is intangible
  • The problem is craving, desire and attachment. The longing with strong eagerness (craving) - causes the mind to be discontent: sadness, anger, frustration, irritation, annoyance, guilt, shame, fear, boredom, lonliness, shyness, jealousy, resentment, stress, anxiety and many others.
  • To attain a mind that resides permanently peaceful, calm, serene, and content with joy - you need to establish a life practice
  • Meditation and teachers and guides.
  • dedicated to improving our own wisdom, moral conduct, and mental discipline that we will improve the world
  • gradual training and gradual practice to experience gradual progress
  • We can choose to be peaceful, kind, loving, and warm. We can choose to have wholesome interactions with all people. We can develop healthy qualities of the mind with loving-kindness, compassion, generosity along with other qualities that will produce a peaceful and content mind.

There are no rites, rituals, ceremonies, and worship required to attain Enlightenment. If someone explains certain chants that need to be repeated, certain postures the body needs to be trained to acquire, or sells/provides you any external devices that includes bells, strings, clothing, beads, music, statues, special drinks or food, etc. then this person has not attained Enlightenment.

Attaining Enlightenment#

Learn and Implement:

  1. The Three Universal Truths
  2. The Four Noble Truths
  3. The Eight Fold Path
  4. The Five Precepts
  5. The Brahmā-vihāras (4 Healthy mental states)
  6. The Ten Fetters
  7. The Seven Factors of Enlightenment
  8. Extensive Meditation Training
  • The Three Wholesome/Unwholesome Roots
  • The Natural Law of Kamma
  • The Cycle of Rebirth

The Three Universal Truths#

  1. Impermanence (Pāli: anicca)
  2. Discontentedness (Pāli: dukkha)
  3. Non-Self (Pāli: anattā)

Oftentimes, the mind wants everyone to understand you and attempts to convince others of something. This is not accomplishable as not everyone is going to understand you because that would be permanence.

Not everyone is going to agree with your opinions and views. There are going to be some people who agree with you and others who disagree.

Happiness is impermanent

The unenlightened mind has feelings based on impermanent conditions - leading to discontentedness and suffering.

The teachings allow you to find a mental state in the middle.

Discontentedness describes the mental state when the mind is unsatisfied, displeased, uncalm, or unpeaceful. The mind is shaken up, unsteady, or unstable.

There is no permanent self. Train the mind to become a nobody. The mind wants to be somebody. We are taught all our life: “You’ve got to be somebody”, “You’ve got to leave your mark on the world”, “You’ve got to accomplish these things” and “You’ve got to be a productive person” - if we don’t do those things we feel like we are less of a person. You must train to detach from your label, detach from your body and detach from yourself. Detach from being an intellectual, being smart and being wise. Do not allow the mind to project itself - its craving - in a certain situation.

The misunderstanding that the mind has thinking there is a permanent self leads to the mind continuously wanting to protect the self image and self identity being unable to remain peaceful and calm when there is a disagreeable experience related to the self image or self identity.

For example, if someone comments about the self image or self identity in a way that the mind agrees with, the mind can experience pleasant feelings. But, if someone comments about the self image or self identity in a way that the mind disagrees with, the mind can experience painful feelings.

When the mind holds on to a permanent self, one can oftentimes become very selfish, self centered, self absorbed, and pursue its own selfish desires. This inhibits a person from being able to observe the life changing wisdom that we are all interconnected and need to improve the way we function in the world through giving and sharing living harmoniously with each other.

Your given name is just a label.

The mind is searching and yearning to discover a self but it can never find one though it continues its pursuit seeking to know and find a self because the mind does not realize there isn’t one.

The Four Noble truths#

Impermanence: Everything is constantly changing and there is no permanent state. Material objects/possessions, relationships, thoughts, ideas, states of mind, everything in the world is constantly changing. All conditioned feelings will cease to exist. All that arises will cease to exist. There is no steady, constant, or fixed mental state other than Enlightenment.

  1. First Noble Truth: Everyone that is unenlightened will experience discontentedness.
  2. Second Noble Truth: Discontentedness is caused by our own cravings/desires/attachments because the mind wants everything to be permanent when everything in the world is impermanent.
  3. Third Noble Truth: The elimination of discontentedness is possible by eliminating cravings/desires/attachments.
  4. Fourth Noble Truth: The path to eliminating discontentedness is The Eight Fold Path.

The goal in life is not to be happy, as that is an impermanent feeling. When the mind is not happy, it will move to sadness, anger, or worse.

The goal in life is to develop a peaceful, calm, serene, and content mind with joy free of cravings/desires/attachments that is “satisfied with what is… - the Enlightened Mind.

You need to accept responsibility for your own discontent mind and the emotions you experience. Rather than blaming pleasant feelings, painful feelings, and feelings that are neither painful-nor-pleasant on someone or something external, see the truth that you cause your own discontent mind.

the mind is deeply trained to no longer base its inner feelings on some impermanent condition.

You can resolve the discontentedness in your own mind but you cannot resolve the discontentedness of someone else’s mind, only they can do that.

The unEnlightened mind will constantly blame others for the difficulties and struggles it faces rather than accepting responsibility for its own decisions that are leading it to discontentedness. This is “wrong view”

Meditation#

Anapannasatti (Breathing Mindfulness Meditation)#

You will always have thoughts, ideas, wisdom, even memories of past events or goals in the future you’d like to achieve. But when you are attached to these things, then it causes the mind to be discontent.

The mind becomes an expert at “cutting off” unwholesome mental activity and then eventually, these destructive thoughts, ideas, emotions, and feelings will not even arise.

Allow the breath, and the sound of the breath entering the body through the nose, to become the anchor that brings the mind into the present moment.

The breath is the present moment.

As any thought enters the mind, you should not observe the thought, attempt to figure it out, evaluate it in any way, or why it’s coming to the mind.

Bring the mind back to the breath even if the mind wanders for some time, catch the mind and bring it back to the anchor of the breath.

We cause our own discontentedness. We eliminate it by not craving.

3 Universal Teachings#

  1. Universal Love for all Beings
  2. Do not harm
  3. Be a good moral person

Gotama Buddha’s goal was to provide Teachings that gave the mind a place where it could be permanently peaceful, calm, serene, and content with joy.

Everything in this practice is obtained through personal choice.

unaffected by everyday challenges that produce sadness, worry, anger, stress, anxiety, and other discontent feelings

Happiness is impermanent - craving happiness is the reason we are not achieving lasting happiness

Eight Fold Path#

wisdom:

  • right view - no self and the 4 noble truths - discontent arises from within not externally
  • right intention - non-illwill and harmlessness - kind, positive and wholesome thoughts and intentions

moral conduct:

  • right speech - refrain from lying, slander, harsh or frivolous speech
  • right action - refrain from killing, theft and misconduct
  • right livelihood

mental discipline:

  • right effort - stir up will and energy
  • right mindfulness - having set aside craving and worry - aware and mindful
  • right concentration - tranquility of the mind - serene and calm
Right Intention#
  • Renunciation - Actively letting go
  • Non-ill-will - Loving kindness, wanting all beings to be well - even yourself
  • Harmlessness - Thinking and implementing only good things - any harm you do will be returned to you through kamma.
Right Speech#

The five factors of well spoken speech:

  • Spoken at the proper time
  • What is said is True
  • Spoken gently
  • It is beneficial
  • With a Mind of Loving-kindness
  • Blameless

If you make people work hard to understand what you are attempting to share, people will be less and less interested in communicating with you

While on the surface sarcasm may seem humorous and harmless, but in reality the true intention behind sarcasm is oftentimes malicious and with ill intent

No one enjoys being blamed for anything or made to feel as if they are at fault.

If you don’t have anything nice to say - say nothing at all

Right Livelihood#

Is your daily activities wholesome and helpful.

In some cases, a person may choose to pursue personal interests and skills rather than financial goals or a career. A stay at home parent is still a livelihood as this is a contribution to society and humanity.

Life-sustaining activities.

For those who do generate income through their livelihood, focus on finding something you enjoy that happens to also provide financial support. This will ensure the best outcome and enthusiasm for your daily life. If you select a livelihood solely on the bases of making money, acquiring wealth, power, prestige, or a specific title, then you will find the mind will struggle to perform your duties and responsibilities on an ongoing consistent basis perhaps even becoming bored or disinterested.

Finding a livelihood where you can acquire an income, help others, and you enjoy the activities required on a daily basis, will ensure that you never “work” one day in your life.

Avoid:

  • scheming - corruption / deception
  • flattery - excessive insincere praise
  • Hinting - Suggest using subterfuge - manipulate
  • Belittling - Talking down to others - diminishing the achievements of other
  • Pursuing gain-with-gain - doing work just for profit and greed - no help to humanity

Right Effort#

  • Prevent unwholesome mental states arising
  • Abandon unwholesome mental states arising in the mind
  • Produce un-arisen wholesome mental states - practice generousity and compassion
  • Maintain wholesome mental states

Right Mindfulness#

  • Aware of the mind at the present moment - not dwelling on future or past moments.
  • To develop awareness of mind, you should not allow the mind to be lost in daydreams, anticipation, indulgences, worry, or dwell in other discontent feelings.

Right Concentration#

  • Then, in daily life one should train the mind to only focus on one thing at a time to develop higher degrees of concentration or “singleness of mind
  • Focusing on the breath is singleness of mind

Nothing lasts forever, all “things” will cease to exist including all of humanity.

Seven Factors of Enlightenment#

  1. Mindfulness
  2. Investigation - Research, study
  3. Energy - Effort, motivation, Ambition, Willingness
  4. Joy - unconditioned gladness
  5. Tranquility - Relaxed, Peacefulness, Steadiness
  6. Concentration - singleness of mind, keep attention on one thing
  7. Equanimity - Mental calmness, composure, treating everyone impartially

The 5 Precepts#

The first step on the path is to improve Moral conduct - you limit damage you do externally and kamma will see you receive less damage

  1. Refrain from intentional killing or taking of life
    • compassion for all living beings
    • prevent situation where you are in harms way - by following the 8 fold path and kamma
    • rare situations self-defence can be used
    • accept all food given to you and not show a preference (regarding being vegan)- choose not to if you have the choice
  2. Abandon taking what is not given, accepting what is given, living purely
    • Stealing is born from craving and desire. It does harm and that harm will be returned to you.
    • Do not ask for things - that is craving, desire and attachment. Remove expectations.
  3. Abandon unchastity and sexual misconduct
    • Sexual misconduct
    • There mut be a commited and loyal relationship for sex
    • Multiple sexual partners leads to lieing - stress and anxiety
    • Sexual activity is a pleasurable and natural part of life. It is not wrong and does not need to be avoided - sexual misconduct must be avoided.
    • Excessive masturbation is rooted in desire and craving
    • pornography - harms one’s own mind and causes unwholesome secretive actions - this affects natural human connections. A downward spiral of craving, desire and attachment.
  4. Abandoning False Speech, truth-speaker and one to be relied upon
    • Do not lie
    • be dependable
    • do not gossip, slander, lie or talk with deceit
    • no sarcasm, no lying as part of a joke
  5. Refrain from strong drink and sloth producing drugs
    • Do not take intoxicants
    • heedlessness - not mindful
    • poisons
    • cannabis, cigarettes, caffeine - craving

The mind thinks that it is the next new shining object around the corner that is going to bring it permanent and lasting fulfillment, but the mind is never satisfied and keeps chasing after the objects of its affection never being permanently satisfied because the mind keeps craving, and craving, and craving

10 Fetters#

Aspects to be eliminated

Lower fetters:

  • Personal existence view - realisation of the non-self
  • Doubt - have confidence in the buddha, the teachings, yourself
  • Wrong behaviour and observances - the eightfold path - not rites and rituals
  • Sensual desire - desire from the senses
  • Ill Will - hostility, anger and aggression

Higher fetters:

  • Desire for form - elimination of fear of death
  • Desire for the formless - elimation of desire or fear of formless realms - heaven or hell
  • Conceit - arrogance, pride, judging, comparing and measuring as superior or inferior. Ego dissolved.
  • Restlessness - elimination of confusion, distraction, anxiousness (singleness of mind)
  • Ignorance - Learning, Reflection and Wisdom

Causing harm to others - is really causing harm to yourself with the natural law of Kamma

The Middle way#

When the mind holds onto things too tightly, the mind is muddled and unconcentrated. The mind does not perform optimally. When the mind is too loose, the mind is muddled and unconcentrated as complacency and laziness will arise.

A Practitioner will need to find the middle where it can pursue goals and objectives but also find time for rest and relaxation.

the goal is not to be happy. The goal is to be peaceful, calm, serene, and content with joy or to be “satisfied with what is”, “satisfied the way things are”

It simply means that when we feel those emotions, we need to recognize them as being impermanent and train the mind to come back to the middle where it can reside peaceful, calm, serene, and content with joy.

Apply effort to bring the mind to the middle.

If energy is aroused too forcefully this leads to restlessness, and if energy is too soft this leads to complacency.

The Three Unwholesome Roots (Three Poisons / Three Fires)#

  • Greed - Desire
  • Hatred - Ill will
  • Delusion - Confusion

The Elimination through:

  • Non-craving - generosity and breathing-mindfulness meditation
  • Non-anger - loving-kindness, compassion, patience, forgiveness (to external and internal anger). Letting go of loneliness, hurt, doubt, fear, insecurity, inadequacy and depression - this is habitual defence that does not serve us. Treating all beings polite, kind, friendly, and respectful without any interest in anything in return.
  • Non-ignorance - wisdom, right view, learning - removing self centered desires.

The poison of craving creates an inner hunger so that we always seem to be chasing an unattainable goal. We mistakenly believe our contentedness is dependent upon that goal.

The Natural Law of Kamma#

Each person has 100% ability to make decisions in their life, these are personal choices.

While laws of society are defined and enforced by human beings, which means errors are introduced.

Rebirth occurs when craving from an existence has not yet been extinguished.

Other Notes#

There is no such thing as a wholesome craving/desire/attachment as all cravings will produce discontentedness

  1. Discontendness is the warning light for craving - cut off the feeling
  2. One needs to have awareness - to recognise these unwholesome qualities - reflect on it
  3. Develop a plan to eliminate the craving/wanting - meditation trains the mind to be able to let go

Brahma-viharas (Healthy Mental States)#

  • Loving kindness - good-will, interest in being well for all beings
    • remedy foranger, hatred, ill will, hostility, aggression, and other harsh intentions, speech, and actions. Arrogance, conceit.
  • Compassion - concern for misfortunes
    • remedy for lack of care and indifference
  • Sympathetic joy - joy for other’s success
    • remedy for envy, jealousy, and pride
  • Equanimity - mental calmness and composure, eveness of temper in all situations - treating everyone impartially
    • remedy for overactive mind that has restlessness and worry. Eliminate measuring and comparing.

Sources#