Glimpse of the Buddha's teaching

Thangjam Sanjoo Singh *

  A Buddhist Temple at Tamu, Myanmar - a border town with Moreh in February 2017
A Buddhist Temple at Tamu, Myanmar - a border town with Moreh in February 2017 :: Pix - WT

What did the Buddha teach? It is a very common question that generally asked by newcomers into Buddhism. It is indeed a fundamental question that everyone should learn to ask in every aspect of life.

Regarding Buddhism, there are different ways to respond depending on the questioner’s intention and perspective. Any response however can only be a guideline or a road map. It would not be possible to find the actual answer until one gets into the car and drives the road.

Buddhism basically is based on the mainstays called the Triple Gem;
1) The Buddha – one who was awakened,
2) The Dhamma – truth /teachings of the awakened one and
3) Sangha – community of the fully awakened one.

The Triple Gem is the cornerstone of the Buddhist’s beliefs and is the most valuable possession in the spiritual armory. A formal ceremonial commitment is made to all three whenever one decides to follow the path of the Buddha, that is, to avoid doing any evil and unwholesome actions that harms oneself and others, basically including taking things that is not given, sexual misconduct, speaking unskillfully and taking things that delude the mind and consciousness, but to cultivate good wholesome deeds, being kind, compassionate , generous ,respecting human rights and equalities, skilful speaking that generates love and compassion and to purify the deluded mind through mindful living.

However, the core foundation of the Buddhist teachings is generally understood to be the Four Noble Truths. That is:
1) The fact that unhappiness exists,
2) There is a cause for unhappiness,
3) There is the end for unhappiness and
4) There is a way to find happiness.

These Four Noble Truths are the foundation of all the teachings of the Buddha. It is the master plan or road map that leads one to find a peaceful and tranquil mind that is free from suffering and that leads one to liberation. The way to end the suffering that leads to the illumination of ultimate wisdom according to the Buddha’s instruction is to follow the Middle Way avoiding the two extremes of life.

"There are these two extremes that are not to be indulged in by one who has gone forth, says the Buddha. Which two?

That which is devoted to sensual pleasure with reference to sensual objects; base, vulgar, common, ignoble, unprofitable and that which is devoted to self-affliction ; painful, ignoble, unprofitable.

Avoiding both these extremes, the middle way realized by the Buddha – producing vision, producing knowledge leads to calm, to direct knowledge, to self-awakening , to unbinding."

The middle path, therefore, is a fundamental teaching of the Buddha, sometimes understood as the way of life consisting of eight steps, the Eightfold noble Path:
1) Right understanding,
2) Right thinking,
3) Right speech,
4) Right conduct,
5) Right vocation,
6) Right effort,
7) Right alertness and
8) Right concentration.

The Buddha furthermore taught something unique in his second sermon that impermanence is a natural fact. It is the universal truth. There is a famous Thai statement about changing nature of all phenomena says "the only unchangeable fact is change itself’. Inability to understand the changing phenomenon causes dissatisfaction generally known as suffering, unhappiness or misery.

Suffering, in terms of the Buddha’s teaching refers to both physical and mental suffering but a deeper level, it only refers to the mental suffering. The Buddha suggests a possible solution. Suffering or unhappiness can be reduced, according to the Buddha, only through development of selflessness/ egoless-ness (non-soul identity), which the Buddha term amatta. Objects that are subjects to change cannot be permanent (atta) entity. Hence it is selflessness, no atta.

The core Buddhist teaching is also summarized concisely in the verse spoken by one his first five disciples, Ven. Assajit when he was asked by Venerable Sariputta, the Buddha’s right hand assistant to goes like this:
"Of things that proceed from a cause,
Their cause the Buddha has told and
Also their cessation:
Thus teaches the Great Ascetic.

The birth is suffering, the Buddha further explains the general nature of impermanence, aging is suffering, death is suffering, sorrow, lamentation, pain, distress and despair are suffering, associating with things disliked and separation from things liked or loved ones is suffering, not getting things that are desired is suffering, in short the Buddha said, the clinging to five arrogates; from feeling, perception, mental formation and consciousness are suffering.

For 45 years The Buddha frequently instructed his listeners that these aggregates are subject to change and impermanence. One should not be attached to them, or cling to them. These five aggregates should not be accepted or grasped as me and mine but should not be accepted as non-self because it is subject to change.It is impermanent. Learning to avoid clinging to the five aggregates is the path that leads to ultimate happiness.

Detachment from materialism is hard enough for today’s consumer world, so it is certain that detachment is not a simple endeavor because of human desire and attachment to things. As a result, Buddhism emphasizes the gradual development of letting go from a very basic level of learning to giving away like generosity and then learning to give greatly as foundation for spiritual development. Learning to give things is a start of learning to give away things that belongs to us. Learning to give things away is path to letting go even unwanted feelings, anxieties, emotions and sensations, discarding and completely disconnecting with it which everyone can develop through right understanding and proper practice.

The Buddha explained The Noble Truth of suffering, its cause that is craving for pleasure, craving for individual existence or release from our present situation, such craving can be transcended and the mind liberated from the demands of the insatiable ego, and we can find a way of life which leads to the end of sufferings. The way leading to the end of the suffering is the middle path or the Noble Eightfold Path. These are the foundation stones on which the entire Dhamma is based.

In the study of Buddhism, therefore, a mere superficial glance or even just learning the philosophical aspects of it and repetition of words is futile unless it leads to deep understanding and right practice, therefore are fundamental tools that lead to ultimate reality. Deep understanding at experiential level of right practice is only possible through the mental cultivation known as Meditation;Vipasana Meditation.

* Thangjam Sanjoo Singh wrote this article for Imphal Times and The Sangai Express
The writer is a lay Buddhist and a vocalist of a Rock Band called "No Name"
This article was webcasted on September 06, 2018.

* Comments posted by users in this discussion thread and other parts of this site are opinions of the individuals posting them (whose user ID is displayed alongside) and not the views of We strongly recommend that users exercise responsibility, sensitivity and caution over language while writing your opinions which will be seen and read by other users. Please read a complete Guideline on using comments on this website.

  • Symbolism in the Tribal Art #1
  • Chongdeinem, Abothem :: eMing
  • ST Demand - Poster Campaign : Gallery
  • Retrospective View On Driver's Day
  • Integrated farming & its importance
  • Nightingales in winter :: Poem
  • Tour to Delhi for border area students
  • Nagaland Cabinet Meeting on CAB
  • Gaan-Ngai @Chingmeirong : Gallery
  • Gaan-Ngai - festival of Kabui #1
  • Protest against CAB [Jan 15] #2: Gallery
  • Gaan-Ngai, Festival of Zeliangrong
  • Understanding Mao Tse-Tung
  • Of Vernacular & my Enlightenment..
  • Teacher wanted at Tekcham High School
  • Demanding release of Kishorechandra
  • BJP's Agenda : Curtain raised
  • Topping in enrolment in pvt schools
  • Imoinu Erat Thouni #1 : Gallery
  • Gaan Ngai :: Flash Presentation
  • CAB Protest [16 Jan] : Gallery
  • Dr Thokchom Asha: Teacher Award
  • Cry of a Dying River - 62 :: Poem
  • Occasion & festivity as career choice
  • Rejoinder to NDPP on CAB by NPF
  • Saving tomorrow for our children
  • Open invitation to Mission schools
  • Women's Intl Polo [Jan 17] : Gallery
  • A Hymn for Goddess Emoinu
  • Manipur tops enrolment in private schools
  • Variance of laboratory results
  • A Christian perspective on solidarity #2
  • Inner Line Permit (ILP) Demand :: Timeline
  • Naga International Trade Fair at Dimapur
  • Has Loktak mortgaged to Company
  • CAB: Lining up public convention on Jan 20
  • Purnima Ngangom (Printmaker) :: Profile
  • CAB Protest [11 Jan] #3 : Gallery
  • Poetry Of Manipuri Women Authors #2
  • CAB & scoring 21 out of 25 ?
  • Complications :: Poem
  • North East Business Summit at Delhi
  • Almond oil is the ultimate skin care
  • The Bill that haunt the government
  • Over 50 police personnel chargesheeted
  • Insurgency related incidents in NE states
  • Myanmar border fence going nowhere
  • Protest against CAB [Jan 15] #1: Gallery
  • Crop diseases & organic way of managing
  • War and Poetry :: Poem
  • Landeng-Pena yakaiduna Poster Campaign
  • The Killing Fields 2013-18 : News Timeline
  • Condemns communal nature of CAB 2016
  • PCC, Arunachal Pradesh on CAB, 2016
  • CAB and other issues before LS polls
  • Sit-In against CAB [Jan 14] : Gallery
  • CAB : Our Identity & Culture is at stake
  • Re-Imagining the Naga Peace Process
  • Demand for ILP :: Articles/Photos...
  • Northeast Startup Summit 2019
  • Ponder them to live like human beings
  • No Shield for Manipur against CAB
  • Missing link: NE, CAB & obscure assurance
  • JCILPS Protest against CAB : Gallery
  • AMUCO Rally against CAB : Gallery
  • Poetic Justice - II :: Poem
  • Makar Sankranti Musing
  • Biren should release Kishorchandra
  • New archaeological site in Senapati
  • A Christian perspective on solidarity #1
  • New craft gallery to promote NE products
  • Rights body warns Nagas on Article 371 (A)
  • NE Black Day against CAB : Gallery
  • CAB Protest [11 Jan] #2 : Gallery
  • Narendra Modi @ Imphal #2: Gallery
  • Myanmar-India Business Summit, Sagaing
  • Cry of a Dying River - 61 :: Poem
  • Preventing the Dengue threat
  • NPF on Citizenship Amendment Bill, 2016
  • Nagaland Chief Minister On CAB 2016
  • Hijacking by pseudoscience
  • Mr. CM, you can't fool people on CAB
  • CAB 2016: Adoption of foreign citizens
  • CAB Protest [11 Jan] #1 : Gallery
  • CAB & question of India's North East
  • Poetry Of Manipuri Women Authors #1
  • Local actions for #GlobalGoals
  • Know your HIV status
  • Pope Francis - the last Pope!
  • CAB is unsecular discriminatory bill
  • When Govt. disregard Constitutions...
  • Citizenship Bill: An exceptional exception
  • The Walking Lady : A Short Story
  • 4th Convocation Ceremony of CAU
  • The Voice of Silence :: Poem
  • Against CAB 2016 : 6 Student Bodies
  • Need for a separate time zone
  • BOOM MMA : 'Manipur Top Team' members
  • Against Citizenship Bill Act 2016
  • Lt Gen Rajeev Sirohi at Spear Corps
  • Is the middle man responsible
  • Economically weak at Rs 8 lakh per annum ?
  • Umanglai Haraoba: Traditional Institution
  • Strike against CAB : Gallery
  • People - animal conflict
  • Fine on relieving in public
  • Flawed/divisive Citizenship Bill dangerous
  • Broken :: Poem
  • Meetei gi mayokta leiba Political party..
  • NE uniting under shutdown call : CAB
  • Trains in NE to get 'glass-top' coaches
  • Yubi Lakpi #2 : Gallery
  • Freedom's fault lines
  • Traditional Manipuri Curries
  • Governance in Multi-Ethnic States
  • Understanding animal welfare
  • Unite against corruption for development
  • Manipurgi Maraibk Kari Oihougani
  • On restoring of director of CBI
  • Citizenship Bill : scourge for NE
  • Feel good factor from UNC
  • New Year picnic at Sekmai #2: Gallery
  • A tale of two falcons
  • Artificial Insemination in livestock
  • The Naked Truth :: Poem
  • My itinerary visit to Veeranapalya
  • Test for Free Coaching for IIT/AIIMS
  • Critique of Transgender Persons Bill
  • Press Rejoinder from NPF [7 Jan]
  • Nagaland Cabinet on Citizenship Bill
  • Can we expect something from govt
  • Mova Cave, Ukhrul #2 :: Gallery
  • Sangai Fest: Sumo Wrestling #2 :: Gallery
  • Maipaksana RK: Entrepreneurship Award
  • Poetic Justice - I
  • IIT-G Technology Incubation Centre
  • Sana Chahi Ahum & 1857 revolt #2
  • Economics of climate change & growth
  • Singhat Students tour to Delhi & Agra
  • Congress against Modi on Rafale Deal
  • Press Club celebrates foundation day
  • NSF to impose 11-hr bandh on Jan 8
  • 518 drug traffickers arrested in 2018
  • Gangmumei Kamei Memorial lecture
  • Taking the Street Vendor seriously #1
  • WWII museums in Japan: Gallery
  • Schedule : HSLC Examination 2019
  • Schedule : Class XI Examination 2019
  • Schedule : HSE Examination 2019
  • Caste System in Contemporary India: Book
  • Save energy and save your skin
  • Benefits of henna for beauty
  • Coronary In-stent obstruction treated
  • A take on PM visit to Imphal
  • No over the top promises, assurances
  • Narendra Modi @ Imphal #1: Gallery
  • Management of commercial broiler farming
  • 61st CC Meet Football Tournament 2019
  • Noise Ruins & Blights Lives
  • Social media & freedom of speech
  • Cry of a Dying River - 60 :: Poem
  • Declare war against air pollution
  • Winter relief at Thanga
  • Of monologues and conveniences
  • Raising posers before PM's arrival: Cong
  • Irengbam Bedamani :: eRang Photos
  • Poireiton Chakhao at Loktak Lake
  • Hojang :: Poem
  • New Year: Challenges & opportunities
  • One Rank One Pension Paper (OROP)
  • Fasting before diagnostic tests
  • Open Mic. event at Agartala
  • Happy New Year '2019' :: NPF
  • Naga Peace Process :: News Timeline
  • Respecting life & the trust deficit
  • Need to look beyond New Year-2019
  • New Year picnic at Sekmai #1: Gallery
  • May the Year 2019 bring integrity of Manipur
  • Sangai Fest: Evening Prog #2: Gallery
  • What I learned from Kishorchandra detention
  • Charlie, the angel :: Story
  • Against NSA to Kishorchandra Wangkhem
  • Quality New Year
  • Reminder to PM on Pravish Chanam death
  • What is there to be happy on New Year
  • Nupi Lal Ningsing Lamjel #4: Gallery
  • Eyek Tamba :: Learn Manipuri script
  • Village Authority in Hill Areas of Manipur #2
  • Sana Chahi Ahum & 1857 revolt #1
  • Local leaders commit to #endTobacco
  • Transformation of China in last 40 years
  • Boys Hostel for Pangal Students
  • From the diary of an insomniac - II
  • From nomenclature conflict of oral tradition
  • Gearing up for Parliamentary polls
  • Dimapur Meetei Council donates
  • Bye Bye 2018 !!! : Gallery
  • Manipuri Calendar for 2019 : Download
  • Featured Front Page Photo 2018 #6: Gallery
  • Unforgettable Revolutionary NK Sanajaoba
  • Life's pain :: Poem
  • New Year resolution of our honorables
  • Certificate distribution at Namsai, ArP
  • Indo-Myanmar Relations : Talk @ MU
  • Butchering a Pony for meat! Shameful
  • Top 5 Indie/Alternative Picks of 2018
  • Sangaithel Park @Sangai: Gallery
  • A view of Ukhrul Town #1: Gallery
  • January Calendar for Year 2019 :: Tools
  • National Mathematics Day & Ramanujan
  • Thougal Jagoi @Sangai: Gallery
  • Snowfall @Tamei, Tamenglong : Gallery
  • China spreads across Indochina Peninsula
  • Ningol Chakkouba Shopping a#2: Gallery
  • Cry of a Dying River - 59 :: Poem
  • Match words with actions to #endTB
  • Hacking : Base of all cyber crimes
  • Illegal adoptions in hospitals
  • Controlling the school transporters
  • Detention under NSA : Stand of MUSU
  • Xmas: Churches @Lamphel : Gallery
  • 27th Imphal Book Fair #2 : Gallery
  • The Crying Call of Motherland :: Poem
  • Kwatha Festival #3 : Gallery
  • 12th Manipur Polo Intl #2 : Gallery
  • Oinam Dilip : Rising Star Award 2018, Delhi
  • Harvard Leadership Program at Don Bosco
  • Christmas @Churachandpur : Gallery
  • UN Rapporteur briefed on Kishorechand
  • Nupi Lal Ningsing Lamjel #3: Gallery
  • Irengbam Bedamani - Actress :: eRang
  • List of Restricted Holidays for 2019
  • List of Public Holidays for 2019
  • List of General Holidays for 2019
  • Ningol - mapam lamdam : Gallery
  • Fabrics of Bangladeshi Manipuri: Download
  • Manglandasu Nang - OST :: e-pao Radio
  • Old Manipuri Movie #1 :: eRang Classic