Dharma Basics

The Buddha summarized his teachings very succinctly in the 22nd sutta of the Majjhima Nikaya: “One thing and one thing only do I teach, suffering and how to end suffering.” [1]

This is expanded upon by the Four Noble Truths, which—in essence—state: 1) dissatisfaction exists, 2) it exists because we cling, 3) therefore we should stop clinging, 4) following the Eightfold Path can mitigate our clinging and dissatisfaction. [2].

And the Eightfold Path [3], in short, is:

  • Right View: accept reality
  • Right Intention: strive toward frugality and goodwill
  • Right Speech: avoid deceptive, harmful, and idle speech
  • Right Action: avoid killing, stealing, etc
  • Right Livelihood: pursue careers that don’t harm others
  • Right Effort: act with diligence
  • Right Mindfulness: value the moment
  • Right Concentration: meditate

And that’s pretty much it.

[1] The Snake Simile (MN 22)
[2] Setting the Wheel of Dhamma in Motion (SN 56.11)
[3] Eightfold Path for the Householder