Activity › Discussion › History › Describe the main teachings of Gautama Buddha and their impact on Indian society › Reply To: Describe the main teachings of Gautama Buddha and their impact on Indian society
MemberDecember 1, 2023 at 11:00 am::
Buddha did not accept the God as creator or destiny maker. He preached Anatmavada
(No Athma) and AnityaVadha (nothing is eternal and everything undergoes transformation. He
did not acknowledge the sanctity and supremacy of Vedas and Yagnas and repudiated the caste
system. He emphasized that ‘man is the maker of his own destiny.’ The first sermon preached by
Buddha at Sarnath contains his philosophy. His teachings were simple and conveyed to the
masses in their languages i.e. Prakrit (Pali) and not in Sanskrit. The essence of his teachings are
contained in the ‘Four Noble Truths’ and the ‘Eightfold Path.
Four Noble Truths
i. Dukkha—world is full of sorrow/sufferings.
ii. DukkhaSanudaya—the cause of sorrow is craving/desire.
iii. DukhhaNirodha—the suffering can be removed by destroying its cause i.e. by curbing the
iv. In order to remove suffering, one must peruse the right path. This path is the eightfold
path (AshtangikaMarga) which leads to salvation (since this path avoided ritualism and
self-mortification, it is also known as golden path or middle path). In order to end our
sufferings Gautama Buddha advocated the Eightfold Path (Eight codes of conduct).
The Noble Eightfold Path
i. Right Understanding (Sammaditthi)
ii. Right Thought (Sammasankappa)
iii. Right Speech (Sammavaca)
iv. Right Action (Sammakammanta)
v. Right Livelihood (Sammaajiva)
vi. Right Effort (Sammavayama)
vii. Right Mindfulness (Samma sati)
viii. Right Concentration (Sammasamadhi)
This eightfold path is considered as the middle path between extreme asceticism and self-indulgence. Buddha preached ‘Nirvana,’ the ultimate goal in the life of a man. By a process of
elimination of desire, one can attain ‘Nirvana.’ He laid stress on the moral life of an individual.
According to his Karma theory, the present is determined by the actions of past. The condition of
man in this life depends upon his own actions. As his actions or karma are responsible for his
sufferings, he can secure salvation by perfecting his own deeds. No eternal force, either God or
rituals can give him salvation. Thus man becomes the maker of his own destiny.
Buddha neither accepted nor rejected the existence of God (agnosticism). He was more
concerned about the individual and his action. Buddhism also did not believe in the existence of
spirit. Buddha stressed the spirit of love. Love could be expressed on all living beings by
following ‘Ahimsa’ (non-violence). Buddha preached the basic equality of all men. He had no
faith in caste system. His egalitarian principles attracted deprived masses towards Buddhism. He
also disapproved the supremacy of Brahmans and he laid down the concept of universal
brotherhood. He condemned the practice of rituals and sacrifices, especially animal sacrifice. He
rejected the authority of the Vedas and insisted that everything must be subjected to scrutiny or
reason. He laid emphasis on morality. He preached his followers to lead an upright and
disciplined life. He also advised them to practice Ahimsa—non-violence and not indulge in vice
practices. During his life time Buddhism made rapid progress. In the fourth council conveyed
during Kanishka’s reign, the Sangha (established by Buddha to propagate his principles and to
render services to people), separated into two; Mahayana and Hinayana sects