Buddhist evolution

Organiser, June 5, 2007

New Delhi, India -- The Dharma-chakra or the wheel of Dharma with its constant revolutions symbolises continuance of Buddha’s teachings. The eight spokes of the wheel represent the Eightfold Path of Enlightenment which signifies right view, right thought, right speech, right behaviour, right livelihood, right effort, right mindfulness and right meditation.

The wheel of Dharma served as an object of worship in the ancient era but today it has come to occupy the position of a symbol in Buddhism. Buddha’s last words to his disciples before leaving the Earth were, “After my death, the Dhamma shall be your teacher. Follow the Dhamma and you will be true to me.”

The world is full of suffering— truth is suffering, old age is suffering, sickness and death are suffering. To meet a person whom one hates is suffering; to be separated from a beloved is suffering; to struggle to satisfy one’s needs is suffering. In other words, life that is not free from desire and passion means always suffering. “The cause of human suffering is undoubtedly found in the thirst of the physical body and in the illusions of worldly passion.” If desire, which lies at the root of all passion, can be removed, then all sufferings could be brought to an end. In order to enter such a state, the Buddha advised the adoption of the Eightfold Path.

The author of this book clarifies that for those who seek enlightenment, there are three ways of practice: first is to follow discipline for practical behaviour, second is right concentration of mind and third is exercise of wisdom. By discipline is meant following the precepts for good behaviour by controlling both the mind and the body and guarding “the gates of his five senses”.

Man should be afraid of the minutest of evils and steer clear of them. By concentration is meant moving quickly from the path of greed and evil desires. Wisdom pertains to the ability to understand and accept the fourfold noble Truth—know the fact of suffering and its nature; know the source of suffering; know what constitutes the end of suffering and know the noble path that leads to end of suffering.

This is a book of teachings of Buddha meant primarily for those who have already adopted Buddhism or are waiting to be initiated into Buddhism but not so much for others because what is good in Buddhism is good in other religions too.

Bukkyo Dendo Kyokai: The Teachings of Buddha
Sterling Paperbacks
165 pp