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from the Eighth German Edition
Buddhist Publication Society
Kandy • Sri Lanka
First BPS edition 1980.
BPS Online Edition © (2008)
Digital Transcription Source: BPS Transcription Project
For free distribution. This work may be republished, reformatted, reprinted and redistributed in any medium. However, any such republication and redistribution is to be made available to the public on a free and unrestricted basis, and translations and other derivative works are to be clearly marked as such.
Translator’s Preface to the 1907 Edition
A Buddhist Catechism
The Doctrine (Dhamma)
The Order (Sangha)
The original German version, first published in 1888, had 14 editions up to 1921, when a revised edition was prepared by Dr. Karl Seidenstücker.
An English translation appeared first in 1890, followed by separate editions for the U.S.A. in 1895 and for Ceylon in 1908; the latter was reprinted in 1949 by the Maha Bodhi Society, Colombo.
There had been three French editions (for France and Switzerland), three in Hungarian, while each of the two Russian editions was soon after publication suppressed by the Czarist censorship.
Subhadra Bhikshu was the pen-name of a German lay Buddhist, Friedrich Zimmermann (1851–1917). Since 1892 he represented the Maha Bodhi Society in Germany and was the President of its German Branch in 1911–1912. Protracted illness prevented him from doing other literary work after his Buddhist Catechism.
C. T. Strauss (1852–1937) was the first Westerner who, in a Western country, publicly took the Three Refuges and the Five Precepts. He received these from the Anāgārika Dharmapāla in 1893 at a public meeting, during the Congress of Religions in Chicago. In the years 1906–1908, he travelled in Japan, Ceylon, Burma and India. His book The Buddha and his Doctrine appeared in German and French (London 1923).
The little book presented here is a concise representation of Buddhism according to the oldest and most authentic sources, the Pali Tipiṭaka. It contains the spirit and essence of the true teaching of the Buddha, omitting all additions with which scholastic learning of later times has amplified the words of the Master, and superstition and the imagination of the people have encumbered them.
Fifty years ago the pure doctrine of the Buddha Gotama was hardly known by name even among the educated classes in Europe and America. There were few only in the West who saw in this most ancient and most noble world religion anything but a strange passing phenomenon of times long past, instead of a living truth, just as valid now as 2500 years ago. Today, thanks principally to the labours of eminent scholars, who have given us with rare patience and disinterestedness translations of the Sacred Books of Buddhism, the Western world has been informed of the grandeur and beauty of the Buddhist conception of the world. This world conception will be of far-reaching importance on the spiritual movements of the present and the future and its dissemination is a mission of civilization of the highest importance. Already the sublime teaching of the Indian Sage begins to influence in a high degree the opinions of all in the West who reflect on the problems of life.
In recent years a great many works have been published in favour of and against Buddhism: Everywhere comparisons are being made between Christianity and Buddhism, and the Church looks uneasily at the new adversary. The Christian Church is far-seeing enough to observe that from no quarter is its supremacy menaced so strongly as from the teaching of the Indian Prince of the tribe of the Sakyas. Even the German Emperor was moved to call Christendom to a united battle against Buddhism in an allegorical painting, wherein he depicts the same as a disastrous, destructive power. But the truth promulgated by the Buddha is not destructive to the civilization of Europe, as the Emperor ignorantly imagines; it is a destroyer only of error, delusion, superstition, and of mental and moral bondage; and only those have occasion to become alarmed to whose advantage it is, when darkness reigns instead of light.
The teaching of the Buddha appeals to all who do not expect salvation from “divine grace without personal merit,” but who have enough courage and strength to stand on their own feet; who are bold enough not blindly to follow authority, but to think themselves; who do not want to believe, but to know. It is the true refuge of all who do not consider the highest aim of existence to consist of material progress and increased comfort, but who, repelled by the savage struggle for possessions and enjoyments, yearn for new surroundings, among which true humanity can thrive. It is the real comforter and guide for all who, dissatisfied with the doctrines of other religions, long for a clearer view, a higher goal, and a firmer support, than the dogmas and myths of Christianity and Hinduism, or the brilliant results of science, confined only to the world of phenomena, and not penetrating into the essence of things, can give them.
For such as these this Buddhist Catechism has been compiled. If they read and comprehend it rightly, they will find therein what they seek—a doctrine free from dogmas and formalism, in accord with nature and its laws, containing the highest truths, satisfying head and heart in equal degree, and everything in such simple garb that it can be grasped by the most modest understanding, and at the same time so profound that even the most highly cultured European or American, mentally equipped with the results of the latest. philosophical and scientific achievements of a highly advanced civilization, cannot easily fathom it. He alone who reads the “Buddhist Catechism” in this sense reads it rightly.
The first German edition of this Catechism appeared in 1888, and this translation is made from the eighth edition, showing that the good Law is making progress. This work has also been translated into French, Dutch, Swedish, Italian, Bohemian, Hungarian, Russian, Spanish and Japanese, demonstrating that it is supplying a want and fulfilling a mission.
This translation has been approved and endorsed by the High Priest, the Venerable H. Sri Sumaṅgala, without a doubt the most learned and highly respected of all living Bhikkhus. He is over 80 years of age, but still very active and alert; he is the Principal of Vidyodaya College in Colombo, the leading institution for the study of Buddhist Pali and Sanskrit in the Island of Ceylon, and holds the honorary title of Tipiṭaka Vacissar ācariya or Knower of the Tipiṭaka, a distinction that has not been conferred on anyone else for the last 400 years. This is a guarantee that in this booklet the true, unadulterated doctrines of Buddhism are presented.
May this new English edition also contribute its share to the enlightenment of the world. In the year 2451 after the Nirvāna of the Blessed One, 1907.
C. T. Strauss [Top]
Namo tassa bhagavato arahato Sammāsambuddhassa
I am a Buddhist.
A person who reveres the Buddha as the Enlightener of the world, our highest spiritual guide and master, and who earnestly strives to live according to his teachings.
By free determination. Not by birth, not by nationality nor race, not by consecration, baptism, or any other legally binding ceremony; for Buddhism possesses neither the power of a state religion, nor a hierarchy. Whoever lives according to the teachings of the Buddha is a Buddhist, whether he belongs to a Buddhist congregation or not. The entrance to such a one is effected by a simple declaration of intention and the utterance of the formula of guidance, recited three times.
I follow the Buddha as my guide,
I follow the Doctrine as my guide,
I follow the Order as my guide.
He who professes it desires to testify before all the world that he henceforth elects the Buddha as his teacher and model; that he knows the Doctrine to contain the essence and fundamental principles of truth and justice, as well as the road to self-perfection and deliverance; that he looks upon the Order as the successors of the Buddha, worthy of veneration as the true practitioners, promulgators and expounders of the doctrine.
On all without exception, whether they belong to the Order and have therewith chosen the life of a begging monk (bhikkhu, samaṇa), or whether they are lay followers (upāsaka). The profession of the formula of refuge is however a voluntary vow, and possesses only a moral validity. There are no legal obligations of any kind connected with it.
The Three Gems. They are the models of perfection, the highest ideals of the Buddhist, and shine before him as guiding stars through the turbulent ocean of ignorance, passion, and sorrow to the haven of eternal peace.
Therefore the Buddhist looks on these Three Gems full of confidence, gratitude and reverence, and says with a devout heart:
All reverence to the Holy One, the World-enlightener, the Buddha,
All reverence to the holy, the pure, the liberating Doctrine,
All reverence to the Brotherhood of the Elect, the noblest of mankind. [Top]
He who, of his own strength, attained perfection, enlightenment, and deliverance in this life; the holy and wise proclaimer of the truth and founder of the Buddhist religion.
Yes, he was born a human being; but such a one as appears only once in many thousands of years; one of those sublime world-subduers and world-enlighteners who mentally and morally tower so far above erring and suffering humanity, that to the childlike perception of the people they appear as “gods” or “god’s messengers.”
No, Buddha is the designation of an inner state or spiritual condition.
The Awakened or the Enlightened One; it designates a being who by his own power has acquired the highest wisdom and moral perfection attainable by a living being.
At his birth he was called Siddhattha; his family name was Gotama.
King Suddhodana and Queen Maya.
Over the tribe of the Sakyas in India. 
On the full-moon day of the month of Vesak (May) in the year 623 before the beginning of the Christian era. 
The holy books give us many details, but as with all founders of great religions the birth and youth of the Buddha have been adorned with many miraculous and poetic events.
Already at the birth of Prince Siddhattha the brahmins who lived as priests and astrologers at the court of King Suddhodana predicted the child’s high destiny. They prophesied: “If Prince Siddhattha mounts the throne, he will become a king of kings, a world ruler; but if he renounces the throne and chooses the life of a recluse, he will become a world-subduer, a universal Buddha.” And the hermit Kaladevala hastened from the wilderness of the Himalaya, threw himself at the feet of the child, and said: “Verily, this child will one day become a perfect, a supreme Buddha, and will show unto men the way to emancipation. And he wept, knowing that on account of his great age he would not live to see that day.” 
No. On the contrary, he tried by all means in his power to prevent its fulfilment, for he desired that Prince Siddhattha should one day become a universal monarch.
The brahmins had told him that the sight of human suffering and earthly impermanence would induce the prince to abandon the world. Therefore, the king kept away from the prince everything that could give him knowledge of human misery and death. He surrounded him with enjoyments and kingly splendour of every kind, so as to chain him firmly to a worldly life. The most distinguished teachers had to instruct him in the arts and sciences and in all knightly accomplishments befitting a king’s son. When Prince Siddhattha reached manhood his father had three palaces built for him, one for each of the three Indian seasons—the hot, the cold, and the rainy seasons. All were furnished with the greatest luxury; all around them spread vast gardens and groves, with clear ponds full of lotus flowers, cool grottoes, splashing fountains, and beds of the most beautiful flowers. In these gardens and groves the prince passed his youth, but he was never allowed to leave them; and all the poor, the sick, and the old, were strictly prohibited from entering. Sons of the noblest families in the land were his companions. In his sixteenth year his father married him to the Princess Yasodharā, and he was surrounded besides by a harem of beautiful girls, skilled in dancing, singing and music, according to the then custom of Indian princes.
While driving in the gardens and parks of his palaces he perceived four significant apparitions, which enlightened him as to the true nature of existence.
An infirm old man bent by the weight of years; a sick man covered with ulcers; a decaying corpse; and a venerable begging-monk. 
They affected him deeply. The utter transitoriness and vanity of life now became clear to him. The delusive and short earthly enjoyments, which bring old age, sickness, pain and death in their train, lost all attractions for him. Henceforth he abstained from all amusements. The conviction ripened within him that existence is not a blessing but an evil, and that it is foolish and unworthy of noble natures to pursue sensual pleasures. All his aspirations were now directed to a higher aim.
He longed to discover the causes of misery in the world: of birth, suffering, old age, death, and rebirth  and to find the way to put an end to them. He decided to leave the world and go into the wilderness, like the venerable ascetic who had appeared to him.
No, for he had to renounce all that men generally consider the greatest happiness—a king’s throne, power, honour, riches, and all enjoyments connected therewith, and even the companionship of his beloved wife and of their son Rāhula, who had just been born.
He did not communicate it to them, but preferred to leave secretly for he feared that the entreaties of his aged father and the tears of his wife might make him waver.  One night, when all were asleep, he arose quietly, took a last farewell glance at his wife and infant son, woke his charioteer, Channa, ordered him to saddle his favourite horse Kaṇṭhaka and rode away. He passed the guards at the gate without being noticed and sallied forth into the darkness as fast as his steed would carry him. Having reached the top of a hill, he looked back on his native city. There Māra, the Tempter, approached him. He showed him the kingdoms of this earth, represented to him once more all the allurements of power and splendour, and promised him the sovereignty over the whole world, if he would desist from his purpose.  The Buddha rejected the Tempter with scorn. His resolution could not be shaken. And the books say: “Henceforth Māra followed the steps of the Tathāgata”  hoping to find another opportunity to cause his fall.
To the river Anoma. There he cut off his beautiful long hair with his sword, handed his arms, ornaments, and horse to his faithful Channa, and directed him to return with them to Kapilavatthu and reassure the King and the Princess as to his fate. After Channa had left him he passed seven days in solitude on the bank of the Anoma, entirely given up to contemplation filled with holy joy at having taken the first important step towards the realisation of his aim, and at having stripped off the fetters of a worldly life. Then he put on yellow robes and walked towards Rājagaha, the capital of the kingdom of Magadha. 
In the neighbourhood of Rājagaha dwelt two brahmins, Ālāra Kālāma and Uddaka, renowned for wisdom. He joined first one and then the other as disciple under the name of Gotama.
They taught that mystic meditation and direct intuition of the eternal are the road to emancipation.
No. He acquired all the knowledge of these brahmins and zealously joined in all their religious exercises without getting any nearer to his goal. He soon found that their knowledge was futile, and would not lead to deliverance from suffering, death, and rebirth.
There were still other brahmins, celebrated religious teachers who believed that the true way to emancipation was through asceticism, namely, the complete and forcible mortification of all emotions pertaining to the senses, of the will, and passions. Gotama now decided to follow their precepts. For this purpose he retired to a thick forest near Uruvelā and applied himself in solitude to the severest penances and self-tortures.  Soon the fame of his holy life spread and brought him five companions, who pursued the same aim. In admiration of his fortitude and the endurance with which Gotama devoted himself to his castigations, they remained with him expecting that he would surely some day attain emancipation. Then they intended to become his disciples.
Kondañña, Bhaddiya, Vappa, Mahānāma and Assaji.
Nearly six years. The strength of his body dwindled with continual self-torture, fasting, and vigil, but he did not flag in his endeavour. One night walking up and down in deep meditation, he sank to the ground unconscious from sheer exhaustion, so that his companions thought him dead. After some time he recovered however.
No. He understood that asceticism never leads to perfection and deliverance. He had almost sacrificed himself and still not attained his aim—spiritual and moral self-perfection.  He therefore relinquished all real mortifications and took food again regularly. When his companions saw this they began to doubt him; they thought that he had forsaken his resolution and they abandoned him.
Not for a moment. Deserted by all, he understood that salvation could not be attained by the doctrines taught by others, and he resolved in future to follow only his own inspiration. He had realised that self-mortification was injurious, and confined himself henceforth to strict abstinence from all sensuality; at the same time he strove in perfect seclusion for revelations from within for the complete unfolding of his higher spiritual powers. One night he sat under a tree, not far from the shores of the river Nerañjarā.  It was under this tree that he victoriously accomplished the last and severest struggle.
The struggle against the inclinations and desires of the human heart, which arose once more within him, although he believed that he had completely conquered them; the struggle against delusion, love of the world, and that craving for existence and enjoyment, that will-to-live, which are the root and mainspring of our being, as well as the source of all our woes. Once more honour, fame, power, wealth, love, happiness of family life, and all delights and joys which the world offers to its favourites, presented themselves to him in their most seductive form; once more gnawing doubt raised its serpent head. But firmly determined to die rather than renounce his aim, Gotama struggled with these dire powers and gained the victory.  And now, after the last attack of human weakness had been overcome and the deep peace of Nirvāna had entered his heart, his spirit rose to that sublime height where the struggler attains supreme enlightenment.  He had reached the goal—the veil had fallen from his eyes and the highest insight had been won. He had become perfect—a Buddha.
Yes. He had obtained the pure spotless Eye of the Truth, as the holy books express it, and He understood the cause of the arising and passing away of beings, the cause of suffering, death, and rebirth; but also the means to put an end to all suffering, to escape the continual rotation of birth and death, and to reach deliverance—Nibbāna.
He remained at the foot of the tree for seven days in deep meditation. Then He arose and went to the Ajapāla fig tree (the tree of the goat-herds). There the thought occurred to Him: “I’ll now comprehend this liberating truth, so difficult to perceive and to understand, which brings quietude of heart, which is exalted, intelligible only to the wise. Shall I proclaim it? Mankind is given to desire, intent upon desire, delighting in desire. Most difficult for it to understand will be the moral constitution of the world, the law of the concatenation of cause and effect; it will not want to hear the doctrine of the renouncement of the will to live, of the subduing of desires and passions, and of the path to deliverance. If I proclaim the doctrine and other men are not able to understand my preaching, there would result nothing but weariness and anguish to me.”
No. He rejected them as unworthy of Himself.  Compassion with erring and suffering humanity induced Him to take upon Himself the burden of a long earthly life and the difficult task of a herald of Truth. With the words “Open to all be the gate of deliverance; let all who have ears hear the law and follow it,” he arose, left His hermitage, and took the road to Benares.
To the five ascetics who had dwelt with Him so long and had deserted Him, when he abandoned His self-mortifications.
In a grove near the city of Benares, in the deer park Isipatana.
They intended not to do so, as they considered Him an apostate; but the majesty of his appearance, the exalted expression of His countenance made such a mighty impression on them, that they involuntarily bowed down before Him and listened to His words with deep reverence.
“The Setting in Motion of the Wheel of the Law,”  or “The Foundation of the Kingdom of Righteousness.” This sermon contains in concise terms the fundamental points of the whole doctrine.
They acknowledged the Buddha as the Enlightener of the World, and desired to become His disciples. And the Awakened One admitted them as the first ones into the Brotherhood of Monks (Sangha) with the words: “Welcome, oh Monks; well taught is the Doctrine. Lead henceforth a holy life for the sake of the complete extinction of suffering.”
The aged Kondañña. He obtained the pure, the spotless Eye of the Truth, and reached the degree of Arahat.  The four others soon followed.
Many others. The next one to be converted was Yasa, a youth of noble family. But not only brahmins, noblemen, and gentlefolks lent an ear to the words of the Sublime One, but also the plain people; for He made no distinction of caste, rank or station, as the brahmin priests did, but preached to all who were willing to listen. After five months the number of disciples already amounted to 60 not counting the lay followers. Thereupon “the sending forth of the Monks” took place.
The Buddha assembled the Monks around Him and commanded them to wander forth singly into the world and to proclaim the doctrine of emancipation everywhere. 
He said to the Monks; “You are delivered from all fetters, human and divine. Go forth, oh monks, and wander about, and proclaim the Law, for the deliverance of all living beings, out of compassion for the world, for the joy, for the bliss, for the welfare of gods  and men. Proclaim, oh monks, the glorious doctrine; preach a life of holiness perfect and pure. There are many of pure heart and good intentions, but if they do not hear the saving doctrine, they will perish. These will be your adherents and the followers of Truth.”
No, He returned to Uruvelā, where there dwelt many brahmins in huts, keeping up the holy fire and performing the sacrificial rites prescribed in the Vedas. To these He preached of the consuming fires of passion, sensuality, and desire, and He gained many of them as disciples and followers. Then He proceeded to Rājagaha, where he converted King Bimbisāra and a large number of noblemen. Thus the doctrine spread farther and farther.
From Rājagaha He wandered to Kapilavatthu and the fame of His teaching preceded Him. He did not go to the King’s palace, but remained with the monks who were with Him in a grove near the city, as prescribed by the regulations of the Brotherhood. There King Suddhodana and all His male kindred went to greet Him. But when they saw Him in the poor garb of a bhikkhu (mendicant monk) with short hair and beard, they felt ashamed of Him. The next morning the Buddha, according to the custom of the Order, took His alms bowl  and went to the city, for the purpose of collecting His food before the house-doors. When the King, His father, heard this, he hastened to Him and said in words of reproach: “My son why do you disgrace me so, asking for gifts like a beggar?” The Buddha replied: “Great King, this has ever been the custom of My ancestors.” King Suddhodana, however, did not comprehend Him, and exclaimed: “We spring from a race of kings and warriors, and not one of them has ever abased himself so far as to beg for his daily food.” Thereupon the Sublime One smiled and said: “You and yours justify glory in being descended from a race of kings. My ancestors, however, are the Buddhas of past ages,  and they did even as I am doing.” Then King Suddhodana kept silent.
On the very same day He went to see the Princess Yasodharā accompanied by two of His disciples, and when Yasodharā saw Him in the garb of a begging-monk, she could not utter a word, but sank down before Him, clasped His knees, and wept bitterly. Then the Buddha lifted her up, comforted her, and instructed her in the doctrine in tender words. And His words found a loving abode in her heart. And when the Buddha had gone, Yasodharā clothed her son Rāhula in his finest garments, and sent him to the Exalted One,  that the Prince might ask his father for his heritage. The boy stepped up to the Buddha and said: “Father, I shall some day be king and occupy the throne of the Sakyas. Give unto me therefore, my inheritance.” Then the Enlightened One took him by the hand, led him out of the city to the Nigrodha grove, where He and the disciples had taken up their abode, and spoke thus to Rāhula: “You demand of me a heritage which is subject to impermanency and leads to suffering. Such a one I have no longer to bestow. But the treasures which I have gained under the Tree of Wisdom shall be yours. This is the spiritual heritage which I bequeath to you; this none can wrest from you.” And thereupon He bade Sāriputta adopt Rāhula into the Brotherhood of Monks. Besides Rāhula many relatives of the Buddha were admitted to the Order, among them Ānanda, Devadatta, and Anuruddha.
Sāriputta, Moggallāna, Kassapa, Upāli and Kaccāyana.
He passed there the four months of the rainy season of the second year of His Buddhahood. Then He departed to continue His work in other places.
Until His death, forty-five years in all. During all this time, for eight months of every year, He wandered from village to village, from town to town, and from country to country always accompanied by a multitude of disciples, and everywhere instructing the people by discourses, exhortations, and parables. The four months of the rainy season,  however, He always spent in one place, either in the house of one of His followers, or in groves and parks, which had been presented to the Brotherhood by rich adherents.
In the bamboo grove (Veḷuvana) near Rājagaha, a former park of King Bimbisāra, which he had given to the Brotherhood, and in the Jeta park (Jetavana) near Sāvatthī, a gift of the rich merchant Anāthapiṇḍika. In both of them monasteries (vihāra) for the bhikkhus had been erected. These places are famous in the history of Buddhism, for it was here that the Exalted One delivered most of the discourses recorded in the holy books.
Yes. The fame of the Master and the Doctrine of Deliverance spread extensively; persons of all classes, weary of worldly vanity and priestly imposture, took the higher vows and entered the Order as begging-monks or nuns, and thousands declared themselves lay followers of the Blessed One. 
No, for just as Buddhism, so true Brahmanism was free from all intolerance and religious fanaticism. But one of His own disciples rose against Him.
Devadatta. Infatuated by ambition he wanted to usurp the direction of the Brotherhood in place of the aged Master; and when he failed in this he even attempted to take the Buddha’s life. But all his plots miscarried.
Yes. The Mahāparinibbānasutta, or the Book of the Great Decease, gives a detailed account of the Passing of the Enlightened One into Eternal Peace (parinibbāna).
When the Blessed One had reached His 80th year He felt His strength failing. But He still wandered on from place to place as was His custom; and one day He addressed Ānanda  as follows: “Oh Ānanda, I am now grown old and full of years, my journey is drawing to its close, I have reached my sum of days, I am turned 80 years of age.” Thereupon Ānanda was seized with great sorrow; but the Buddha consoled him and said: “Oh Ānanda, have I not often declared to you that it is in the very nature of all things, howsoever dear and beloved they may be to us, that we must divide ourselves from them, leave them, sever ourselves from them? Anything born, brought into being, and formed, contains within itself the inherent necessity of dissolution. How then can it be possible that such a being, even if he is a Buddha should not be dissolved? No state of permanence can exist. In three months from this day I shall enter into Eternal Peace. Therefore, oh monks, you, to whom the truths I have perceived have been made known by me, make them surely your own. Practise them, meditate upon them, and spread them abroad, in order that pure religion may last long and be perpetuated, in order that it may continue to be for the good and happiness of the great multitudes, out of pity for the world, to the good and the gain and the weal of gods and men. Whoso faithfully perseveres on this road to holiness will safely cross this ocean of life and teach that sublime goal where all suffering ceases.”
And although growing weaker and harassed by pain, the Perfect One continued His wanderings, everywhere gathering the monks and lay followers about Him, and exhorting them to unswerving perseverance on the path of emancipation.
When Ānanda one day asked Him for instructions about the Order, the Blessed One replied: “Oh Ānanda, should there be anyone who harbours the thought, ’It is I who will lead the Brotherhood,’ or ’the Order is dependent upon me,’ it is he who should lay down instructions in any matter concerning the Order. Now the Tathāgata, Ānanda, thinks not that it is he who should lead the Brotherhood, or that the Order is dependent upon him.”
In Pāva the Blessed One halted in the mango grove of Cunda, a man of the caste of the smiths. And when Cunda heard this he joyfully hastened there, invited the Tathāgata to his house, and entertained him with rice, sweetened bread, and a dish of edible mushrooms.  The Buddha ate of the mushrooms, and ordered the smith not to give any to the disciples but to throw the rest away. And after having cheered and edified Cunda by religious instruction he wandered on to Kusināra. On the way was attacked by a severe illness, and violent pains afflicted Him, but the Exalted One, strong in mind and full of self-control, endured them without complaint. But soon His weakness became so great that he was obliged to rest under a tree by the roadside. And He said to Ānanda: “Bring me some water, Ānanda, I am thirsty.” Ānanda did as the Sublime One wished, and the Buddha drank and became refreshed.
Now, it happened that young Pukkusa, a merchant of the tribe of the Mallas, passed along the road with a caravan of carts. And when he saw the Blessed One seated under a tree he approached full of reverence, saluted Him, and bowed down before Him: Then he ordered one of his servants to bring a couple of costly garments of burnished cloth of gold, and said: “Oh Lord, show me the favour of accepting these robes at my hands.” The Buddha answered: “In that case, Pukkusa, give one of the robes to me and one to Ānanda.” Then Ānanda clothed the Buddha in one of the golden garments, whereupon it seemed completely to have lost its lustre. Surprised, Ānanda exclaimed: “Lord, so radiant is your countenance and so clear, that this robe of burnished cloth of gold seems to have completely lost its splendour.” And the Buddha replied: “It is as you say, Ānanda. Twice during his earthly career the countenance of the Tathāgata appears so bright and clear—in the night in which he attains complete enlightenment, and in the one in which he passes into Eternal Peace.  And this very day, Ānanda, in the third watch of the night, the utter passing away (parinibbāna) of the Tathāgata will take place.”
He then gave directions to Ānanda to pacify Cunda’s remorse for having given him bad food, by telling him that on the contrary, his having given the Buddha his last meal would redound to his good fortune. So thoughtful was the Blessed One even in dire pain, shortly before his death.
Thereupon the Enlightened One arose and proceeded with his disciples to the sāla grove of the Mallas near Kusināra, on the bank of the Hiraññavati. And he said to Ānanda: “I pray you, Ānanda, spread for me a robe on the seat between the twin sāla trees; I am weary and would lie down.” “Even so Lord,” answered Ānanda, and he prepared for the Exalted One a couch between the sāla trees, with the head to the north. And the Buddha laid himself down. And lo and behold the twin sāla trees were all one mass of bloom, although it was not the season for flowers; like rain they showered their blossoms over the Blessed One, and celestial melodies resounded in the air. Then said the dying Sage: “Behold what a spectacle! Heaven and earth vie with each other to honour the Tathāgata! But this is not the right adoration, the right veneration, the right glorification, due to a Buddha. Those of my disciples and lay followers who ever live according to Dhamma and faithfully follow the precepts of righteous conduct, those only render me the right honour, the right veneration, the right glorification.” 
Now, at that time a religious mendicant named Subhadda who was not a believer in the Buddha, heard that the final passing away of the Enlightened One would take place that night. And having some doubts whether other teachers had found the truth, he resolved to ask the Tathāgata. At first Ānanda did not want to admit him into the presence of the Blessed One, for fear of causing Him trouble in His last moments. But the Exalted One, hearing Ānanda’s refusal, gave orders to allow Subhadda to enter; and when the latter had stated his doubts, the Blessed One said; “In whatsoever doctrine and discipline, Subhadda, the Noble Eightfold Path is not found, neither is there found a true ascetic of the first, second, third or fourth degree of saintliness (ariyapuggala). But in whatsoever doctrine and discipline the Noble Eightfold Path is found, therein also is found the true ascetic of the first, second, third and fourth degree of saintliness. Now in this doctrine and discipline, Subhadda, is found the Noble Eightfold Path; and in it alone is found also the true ascetic of the first, second, third and fourth degree of saintliness. Devoid of true ascetics are the systems of other teachers. But, Subhadda, if the bhikkhus live righteously, the world will not be destitute of arahats (perfected ones).”  Subhadda was converted and asked to be admitted into the Order, which prayer was granted by the Buddha, so that Subhadda became the last disciple whom the Blessed One himself converted.
And the Sublime One once again turned to His disciples and said: “It may be that after my demise, in some of you the thought may arise: The lips of our Master are closed. We have no longer a guide. But it is not thus, monks, that you should regard it. The Doctrine which I have taught you and the rules of pure living which I have laid down for you, these shall be, after I am gone, your guide and master.” 
And the Blessed one further ordained: “When I am gone, let the Order, if it should so wish, abolish all the lesser and minor precepts.”
And after a short time the Buddha once more raised his voice and said: “Behold now, oh monks, I exhort you: “Decay is inherent in all compound things; work out your emancipation with diligence.”
These were the Master’s last words. Then he entered into parinibbāna.
Before the eastern gate of Kusināra the chiefs of the Mallas cremated the body of the “Light of the World” with all the honours due to a universal monarch.
The doctrine consists of the Truth, as intuitively seen and proclaimed by the Buddha, which has been preserved for us by tradition through the arahats, and recorded in the holy writings.
The Three Piṭakas or collections (Tipiṭaka): Sutta Piṭaka, Vinaya Piṭaka, and Abhidhamma Piṭaka.
The Sutta Piṭaka contains the discourses, sermons, and sayings of the Buddha, which are destined for the monks as well as the lay followers (upāsakas); also a number of parables and aphorisms for the better elucidation of the Doctrine.
The Vinaya Piṭaka contains the regulations and rules of conduct for the Brotherhood of the Elect, the bhikkhus and sāmaṇeras (novices).
The Abhidhamma Piṭaka contains religio-philosophical and psychological treatises.
No. There are no divine revelations. Buddhism totally rejects the supposition that the truth should be disclosed or revealed to a favoured or elected one by a god or angel. Mankind has never received any revelations except from the mouth of the Buddhas, those sublime teachers of humanity who by their own strength have raised themselves to mental and moral perfection. The last of these “Lights of the World” is the Buddha Gotama. What He has perceived and proclaimed is contained in the Piṭakas.
On account of our sufferings and our ignorance.  To be sure, suffering and the vanity of life awaken in noble natures the longing for deliverance: but ignorance prevents our finding by our own powers the way out of this saṃsāra. Therefore we need the Master to show it to us.
Saṃsāra is the world in which we live, the world of error, craving, birth, suffering and death; the world of becoming and decay, of continual change, of disappointment and sorrow, of the perpetual, never-ending succession of rebirths.
It is the all-pervading wrong desire (thirst, taṇhā),  the craving for individual existence in this or another world (heaven or paradise) or the desire for annihilation after this life (materialism).
By the relinquishment of this desire, by the suppression of the craving for individual existence in this or another world, or for annihilation. This is deliverance, emancipation, the way to eternal peace.
Our ignorance (avijjā),  our infatuation, our want of insight into the real nature of things.
The knowledge of the Four Noble Truths of Buddhism.
The Truth about Suffering; the Truth about the Cause of Suffering; the Truth about the Cessation of Suffering; and the Truth about the Path which leads to the Cessation of Suffering. 
Listen, then, to the very words of the Buddha:
“It is through not understanding and grasping the Four Noble Truths, oh monks, that we have had to wander so long in this weary path of transmigration, both you and I. And what are these four? The Noble Truth about Suffering, the Noble Truth about the Cause of Suffering, the Noble Truth about the Cessation of Suffering, and the Noble Truth about the Path which leads to the Cessation of Suffering. But when these four Noble Truths are fully grasped and known, that grasping desire is destroyed, and the succession of rebirths ceases. 
“Now this, oh monks, is the Noble Truth about Suffering: birth is suffering, old age is suffering, disease is suffering, death is suffering, separation from beloved objects is suffering, union with the unpleasant is suffering, unsatisfied desire is suffering; in short, existence by its very nature is suffering.
“This, oh monks, is the Noble Truth about the Cause of Suffering: verily, it is this thirst (taṇhā), the craving for existence and enjoyment which leads from rebirth to rebirth, seeking satisfaction now in this form, now in another. It is the craving for the gratification of the passions, the craving for individual happiness in the present life or hereafter, or the craving for annihilation after this life.
“This, oh monks, is the Noble Truth about the Cessation of Suffering: verily, it is the complete destruction of this thirst, of the craving for existence and enjoyment, or annihilation. This desire must be conquered, got rid of, relinquished, harboured no longer.
“This, oh monks, is the Noble Truth about the Path which leads to the Cessation of Suffering: verily, it is this Noble Eightfold Path discovered by me, whose parts are called right views, right aspirations, right speech, right actions, right livelihood, right effort, right mindfulness, right meditation.
“There are two extremes, oh monks, which he who strives for deliverance ought not to follow; on the one hand the craving for the gratification of the passions and sensual pleasures is low, mean, degrading, and ruinous; it is the way of the worldly-minded; on the other hand, the practise of self-mortification and asceticism is gloomy, painful, and useless. The middle path only, discovered by the Tathāgata, avoids these two extremes, opens the eyes, bestows insight, and leads to freedom, to wisdom, to full enlightenment, to Nibbāna.” 
A state of mind and heart in which all desire for life or annihilation, all egotistic craving has become extinct, and with it every passion, every grasping desire, every fear, all ill will, and every sorrow. It is a state of perfect inward peace, accompanied by the imperturbable certainty of having attained deliverance, a state words cannot describe and which the imagination of the worldling tries in vain to picture to himself. Only one who has himself experienced it knows what Nibbāna is. 
Yes; it is the deliverance attainable already in this life, the total annihilation of lust, hatred, and delusion.
Only very few can. Most men have so defective a mental and moral nature as the result of their deeds in former births, that they require many rebirths before they have perfected themselves sufficiently to gain release. But every one who earnestly strives can gain a rebirth under favourable conditions.
Entirely upon our inner nature, our will. This craving desire (taṇhā), based on ignorance (avijjā), which pervades us all and forms the essence of our being, is the real creative power.  It is what other religions personify as god; it is the cause of our existence and our rebirth, and in truth the creator, preserver, and destroyer of all things—the real trinity.
Yes. The nature and quality of our rebirth are dependent on our karma.
Karma is our action; our merit and our guilt in a moral sense. If our merit preponderates, we are reborn in a higher scale of beings, or as man in favourable circumstances; but if we are heavily laden with guilt, the necessary consequence is a rebirth in a lower form and full of suffering.
Certainly, but this inborn character is nothing else than the product of karma i.e. of all our thoughts, words, and deeds in former lives.  We are in every moment of our existence exactly what we have made ourselves to be, and we enjoy and suffer only what we deserve.
On the law of causality, the fundamental law of all that happens. Just as in the physical and material world, so also in the spiritual and moral sphere, every cause of necessity produces exactly its corresponding effect (though subject to modification by other karma, good or bad, which may mitigate, aggravate or cancel—Editor). No living being can evade this law of nature; even the highest gods are subject to it. On this law depends the physical as well as the moral world order, the equalising justice in the life of man and in the universe. 
Taṇhā is the cause which produces our existence and rebirth in general; karma is that which decides the manner and condition of our existence and rebirth. i.e., our form, our disposition, the world in which we live, our joys and sorrows. Karma is our action, our individual character, and at the same time that which other religions call gods, dispensation, providence, or fate. 
No. There are innumerable inhabited heavenly bodies in boundless space on which there live beings, some less and some more highly developed than man. In all these worlds a rebirth can take place.
All are subject to continual mutations, like our earth: constant change reigns in the whole of animate and inanimate nature. Heavenly bodies originate, develop, and pass away again—such is the order since eternity.
No. Never can something be produced out of or originate in nothing.
There is no god creator upon whose grace or will the existence of the world depends. Everything originates and develops by and out of itself by virtue of its own will and according to its inner nature and condition (its karma). Only the ignorance of man has invented a personal creator-god.  The Buddhists, however, absolutely reject the belief in a personal god, and consider the doctrine of a creation out of nothing a delusion. 
Because this knowledge transcends the power of the human intellect; and even if it could be gained and taught in words, it would not advance man in his mental and moral development, because it does not lead to the cessation of suffering, to salvation, to deliverance, to Nibbāna. Imagination, intellect, and abstract reasoning will forever vainly endeavour to conceive or think of a beginning of time, a limit of space and an origin of existence, of the universe, and of individuality.
Yes, because no form of finiteness, to which thoughts and language also belong, can express the infinite; no temporal definitions the timeless; nor can thinking resultant from the chain of causality grasp the uncaused, the self-existent. And where this has nevertheless been attempted in other religions, it has only led to useless speculations, vain assertions, fanciful fictions, and to strife, misunderstandings, even to war, murder, and horrors of all kinds, and has therefore produced error, evil, and suffering instead of truth, happiness and peace. Hence the Buddha put aside all such questions and also forbade his disciples to occupy themselves with them. 
Never, so long as we are individuals and fettered by the desire for life. But everyone who has grasped the Buddha’s teaching and lives conformably to it, can gain deliverance from the fetters of finiteness and attain enlightenment and emancipation, when in the light of universal knowledge the essence of things will unveil itself to him and all those enigmas will disappear, with which his intellect, limited by the desire for individuality, at present vainly grapples. He must only have an earnest desire for perfection and must enter upon the Noble Eightfold Path with firm resolution. 
By renouncing a worldly life, joining the Brotherhood of the Sangha and devoting all one’s energies to the attainment of the highest goal according to the example of the Blessed One.
Everyone is able to do so who earnestly wills it,  but the majority do not want to renounce the world and its illusory enjoyments.
Yes, it is possible, but extremely difficult. To attain Nibbāna in this life is reserved for those who follow the Noble Eightfold Path, and as an upāsaka (lay follower)  it is almost impossible to do so.
The upāsakas or lay followers of the doctrine, take only the five general vows and try to the best of their power to live up to the precepts of virtuous conduct and benevolence contained in the Sigālovāda Sutta, but remain in the world and faithfully perform their duties as members of a family and citizens. The bhikkhus, however, the true disciples of the Buddha, renounce the world completely, join the Brotherhood of the Sangha, take the ten vows, and regulate their life entirely according to the rules contained in the Vinaya.
The five vows (pañca silā)  are:
I take the vows—
- Not to kill or injure any living being 
- Not to take anything which does not belong to me or has not been given to me voluntarily
- To abstain from all sexual excess, incontinence and adultery
- Not to lie, deceive, or slander
- To abstain from all intoxicants and excitants.
Parents shall train their children in virtue, restrain them from vice, give them a proper education, assist them by word and deed, and not withhold their inheritance.
Children shall obey their parents faithfully, perform all filial duties, not squander their parents’ property, support them in old age and infirmity, make themselves worthy in all particulars to be their heirs, and always honour their memory.
The pupil shall respect the teacher, obey him, show him esteem by word and deed, hearken attentively to his teaching.
The teacher shall train the pupil in all that is good and true, instruct him in the arts and sciences to the best of his ability, and watch over him.
The husband shall treat his wife with love and respect, be faithful to her, esteem her above all others, and give her suitable clothes and ornaments.
The wife shall keep her household in good order, receive friends and relatives hospitably, be faithful to her husband, take care of his property, and fulfil all the duties of a housewife with diligence and zeal.
The friend shall treat the friend and companion as he wishes to be treated by him, always show him kindness and civility, watch over his interests, share his own property with him, keep him from imprudent steps, offer him a refuge in time of need or danger, and stand faithfully by him in misfortune.
The master shall care for the welfare of his servants and assistants by not exacting any work from them which exceeds their strength; he shall give them suitable food and wages, support them in sickness, let them have a share in unusual profits and allow them sufficient holidays.
Servants and assistants shall always do their work cheerfully and willingly, shall be satisfied with what they receive and not speak ill of their master.
The lay follower of Buddhism shall show the bhikkhus his friendly disposition of thought, word and deed, welcome them in his house, and supply them with what they need for the maintenance of their bodies.
The bhikkhus shall caution the lay followers against doing wrong, shall exhort them to virtue, cherish kind feelings towards them, instruct them in the doctrine, clear up their doubts, and show them the way to a happy rebirth.
He who keeps them faithfully will be held in respect on earth by all good men, will remain free from many sorrows and sufferings, will have an easy conscience, and live in peace with his neighbours. His wisdom will grow, and he will be reborn into more favourable circumstances. But still higher merit is gained by him who observes the eight vows (attha sīla) for a longer or a shorter time, but at the least on holidays (uposatha).
The five mentioned above and the following three:
I take the vows—
- Not to eat at improper times, i.e. not to take solid food after midday.
- To abstain from dancing, the singing of worldly songs, from attending plays or musical performances, in short, to abstain from all worldly and distracting amusements.
- To avoid the use of ornament’s of every kind, of perfumes, fragrant oils or ointments: in short, anything that tends to vanity.  
The vow to abstain from all sexual excess is replaced during the time of the observance of attha-sīlā by one exacting complete chastity, even by married people.
They are, besides the eight already enumerated, the following two:
I take the vows—
- To abandon the use of luxurious beds, to sleep on a hard, low couch, and to avoid all and every worldliness.
- To always live in voluntary poverty. 
In three ways: in thought, word, and deed.
Because in the worldly life the thorough fulfilment of the ten vows, the throwing off of the ten fetters — in short, the total annihilation of desire, hatred, and delusion—are almost impossible. All worldly activity rests in the main on selfishness and ignorance.
Not the way of renunciation, but the way of deliverance. He who considers the abandonment of earthly possessions, pleasures, and enjoyments, as a painful renunciation, is still far from true wisdom. But he who views this abandonment as a deliverance from worthless, vain, and troublesome things, from oppressive fetters, looks upon it from the right point of view. 
No. Nobody can be saved by another. No god and no saint, so teach the holy books, can protect one from the effects of one’s evil deeds. Everyone must work out his own emancipation. The Buddha has merely shown the way for everyone to become his own saviour.
Because justice is the fundamental principle of all that takes place, because in the universe there reigns strict conformity to law, and not arbitrary will of a personal god. That the guiltless one should be able to take upon himself the sins of the guilty one, and that the evil-doer should be released from the consequences of his deeds by grace, is a foolish assumption,  which rests on a complete misconception of the moral constitution of the world. Guilt and suffering, merit and reward, always balance each other.
By faithfully observing the vows in thought, word, and deed, by zealously striving for perfection, but above all, by righteousness and benevolence toward all living beings.
By no means. No outward action is meritorious in itself; the merit depends principally on the inner motive, on the purity of the will. The action is only important because it is the outward and visible sign of the disposition, of the tendency of the will and mind of the individual.
Many a one gives much money for the support of the Brotherhood, the relief of poverty, or public institutions, and yet gains very little or nothing for his true welfare because he does everything with the sole purpose of obtaining credit and honour among his fellow men. Such a one has received his reward already in this life by the honour conferred on him and has gained no merit. He, on the other hand, who acts kindly and charitably with the object of promoting his self-protection and of obtaining a favourable rebirth, gains merit, the fruit of which he will enjoy in the next life. But the highest merit is gained by him who does good to his fellow beings without expectation of reward in this or a later life, out of profound insight into the unity of all life and into the sorrows of the world out of sincere pity, out of pure good-will undefiled by any selfish motive. Such a one is near to Nibbāna, and certain of rebirth in one of the bright worlds.
Conquer selfishness, avoid evil, do good. 
Because selfishness (egotism) is the principal cause of all our errors, follies, and evil deeds, and the main hindrance to the accomplishment of good ones.
Every action done with the pure intention of furthering the welfare of other living beings, and of alleviating their suffering.
Every action done with the intent to injure or harm other living beings, or to cause pain to them.
One in which the doer considers only his own welfare, unconcerned whether he thereby causes pain to others.
Such actions cannot be called either good or bad. If they further the temporal well-being of the doer, they are prudent; if they promote his self-perfection, they are wise; but if they harm him in body or mind, they are foolish.
No. We have duties to others, but we have rights to ourselves and to the free development of our powers. Buddhism expressly recommends the exercise of these rights and attention to one’s own well-being in a reasonable way. 
Yes, it is wrong to requite evil with evil  and unworthy of a noble man striving for perfection. The lay follower may go in quest of his just dues in a legal way; but it must be done without hatred or bitterness towards his opponent. But this is not becoming for a bhikkhu because he has renounced the world. He leaves the offender to eternal Justice, he forgives and pities him, for the aggressor will have to atone for his wrong in this or the next birth, and that so much more severely the more he now exults and the more stubbornly he closes his eyes to the higher wisdom.
No. Any temporal guilt, no matter how great, will not bring everlasting punishment.  That would be an unjust, even, cruel system of the world which would allow this. But the moral world order which the Buddha revealed rests upon eternal justice, and hence every evil deed receives only its adequate temporal retribution in this or the following birth.
No. Everything temporal is relative, including things morally good or bad. Both expressions denote morally the higher or lower degree of egotism of a living being, whose roots are the will to live and ignorance. No living being, no matter how deeply it may be sunk in selfishness and ignorance is excluded from emancipation. Everyone can attain wisdom and perfection, if he really persists, though perhaps only through a long series of rebirths. On the other hand, no form of being, no matter how good and noble, is certain of emancipation until it has reached Nibbāna. As long as the least craving for life and the least remainder of ignorance exist, a relapse may occur. For all action, good as well as bad, remains in the sphere of finiteness and does not lead beyond. To Nibbāna lead only the separation from action  and the complete overcoming and total annihilation of the will to live through true knowledge. 
Not in the sense of the Christians, Jews, and Mohammedans, but there are dark worlds  of suffering and despair, into which no ray of the redeeming light penetrates. There he who is heavily burdened with guilt must abide, until he has expiated the fruit of his evil deeds. Thereupon his good karma (his merit) leads him to a rebirth as man, where he again has the opportunity to gain knowledge, and by righteous conduct to get to the path of deliverance. Just so there are also bright worlds of joy, where the good man, who is not yet ripe for emancipation, enjoys the fruit of his meritorious actions. But when this fruit has been consumed he also must return to earth as man, as there still remain the will to live and un-eradicated karma. 
No. This would contradict eternal justice. No one suffers for the guilt of others. The superstitious assumption that a god would avenge the sins of the fathers upon innocent children rests on an entire misconception of the moral constitution of the world.
No. It confirms it. For just because our inner being, our individual character, resembles that of our parents, we have become their children. Because at the moment of our rebirth the elective affinity we had for our parents was greater than for any other living being, just therefore we took rebirth with them. Like causes produce like effects; the inner conformity in the nature of parents and children therefore necessarily expresses itself in their outward appearance, their inclinations and their character. It is only the doctrine of karma and rebirth which shows us clearly the inner necessity and moral justice of the “law of heredity,” which in materialistic science has led to such strange and erroneous conclusions. 
By precisely the same law, for in spite of the elective affinity with their parents children are independent individualities, they have their own karma, and therefore, besides the qualities in agreement with those of their parents must possess many which appertain to them alone. Now if just these latter chiefly reach development in this life the children become very unlike their parents. In fact, the strongest affinity between parents and children exists only in the moment of procreation: from birth every being follows its separate course of development, which often leads far away from that of the parents.
They atone for the as yet un-eradicated guilt with which they burdened themselves in former lives. It is the consequence of unfavourable karma, which just at this time reaches maturity.
It is the consequence of their merit in former births, their favourable karma. But after having enjoyed the fruit of their merit, they will also have to taste the bitter fruit of their misdeeds in this or subsequent births. 
There is no chance. Only short-sightedness and the deficiency of our knowledge make us view events as “chance,” which are not in direct connection with our present actions and intentions, and are to us entirely unexpected and incalculable. If our insight into the nature of things were to extend far enough, we should perceive that in reality all apparently fortuitous events are connected with us by a long chain of causes and effects which of necessity determines the nature of the events as well as the moment of their occurrence.  This chain of causes and effects is for us immeasurable, because our perception is interrupted by the change of births.
The unfortunate one comes to understand that he need not accuse gods nor men for his sufferings, neither the world, nor luck, much less devils and demons, but himself alone; he comes to see that the source of all his sorrows is his own wrongdoing, his own infatuation, and that a lasting, thorough remedy cannot be attained by external means, by the increase of one’s comforts, but only by inner conversion and the striving for perfection.
The fortunate one, however, is led by this conviction to true modesty, to a just and benevolent use of his position and wealth. For if he does not constantly strive to increase his merit, if he succumbs to pride and conceit, greed and hard-heartedness, then, after the fruit of his former virtuous conduct has been consumed, the consequence will be misery and suffering already in this life or in the next, while the despised, poor and lowly one perhaps goes to a joyful rebirth.
No. No one can escape eternal justice; its rule is inexorable and omnipotent, and nobody can fly from it. Therefore it is said in the Dhammapada: “Not in boundless space, not in the midst of the sea, not in the depths of mountain chasms can you find a spot to escape the consequences of your evil deeds.”
Suicide is a wrong, as all killing is strictly prohibited by the first vow every Buddhist takes. It is, besides, a foolish action, as it seeks to forcibly cut the thread of life, which of necessity must be taken up again, and that generally under still more unfavourable circumstances than those from which the suicide tried to escape.
Because our sufferings are solely the consequence of our own errors and our own guilt. So long, therefore, as error is not dispelled, and guilt not expiated, it is not possible to attain a more favourable birth. He who knows this will endure all suffering patiently, and endeavour to gain as much merit as possible by righteous conduct, sincere self-knowledge, and good deeds, so as to be worthy of a more favourable rebirth. But he who foolishly tries to escape by suicide from the suffering conducive to his purification, thereby shows that he is still far from self-knowledge and that he lacks the will to become good and wise. In his blind folly he destroys the body, this fleeting, perishable phenomenon which he takes for his true being, and thereby enters the downward path. 
Our will to live and our moral character. These form the core of our being, and create for themselves after the disintegration of our present body a new one, corresponding exactly to their nature.
No, it is not the same. The belief in an “immortal soul”—that is, an indivisible, eternal, and indestructible entity, which has only taken up its temporary abode in the body—Buddhism considers an error, based on ignorance of the true nature of being and of living beings.  Buddhism teaches no “transmigration of soul” (metempsychosis), but the new formation of the individual in the material world of phenomena in virtue of its will to live (taṇhā) and its moral character (karma).
No. The ego likewise is no lasting entity, no immaterial substance, but a condition arising from the union of the five khandhas.
The five elements of the clinging to existence: the body (corporeality, rūpa); sensation (vedanā); perception (saññā); mental tendencies (saṅkhāra); consciousness (viññāṇa). Through the combined action of the five khandhas arises the conception of the multiform external world and at the same time of the ego. In death the five khandhas become extinct; in rebirth they arise anew through the operation of taṇhā and karma. And with them a new ego, a new evanescent personality.
It is not the same and not another. It may seem to be another to a man still in the state of ignorance, who wrongly identifies the personal ego-consciousness with his true being. He who has attained wisdom knows that his real being is his taṇhā and karma; but that the recurring ego-consciousness is only a transient phenomenon, to be compared to the torch lit by a wanderer at night to find his way. When he does not need it any more, he extinguishes it, to light a new torch for a later wandering. Thus, though the ego consciousness may change, it is in a sense by the tie of karma always the same individuality which in one birth does the good or bad deed and in the next reaps the fruits of these deeds, though in the absence of any substance passing from one life to the next it is not absolutely the same.
Until perfect wisdom and moral purification, Nibbāna, are attained. Then after the death of the last body it becomes totally extinct in parinibbāna.
It is not possible to form any idea of parinibbāna: it is beyond all knowledge, beyond all conception. It cannot be said that it is nor that it is not, because no forms of existence are applicable to parinibbāna. One can only say it is final emancipation, the complete extinction of individuality- eternal rest and peace. “There is, oh disciples, a state where there is neither earth nor water, neither air nor light, neither infinity of space nor infinity of time, neither any form of existence nor nothingness, neither perception nor non-perception, neither this world nor that world. There is neither coming into existence nor decay, neither death nor birth, neither cause nor effect, neither change nor stability. There is, O disciples, an unborn, unoriginated, uncreated, unformed. Were there not, there would be no escape from the world of the born, originated, created, formed.” Thus says the Master in the Udāna.
Because we cling too strongly to individuality, and build in every birth a new body for ourselves, whose limited faculties and organs are destined to serve only the purposes of this short life.  Only he who is mentally matured has understood that our life resembles a dream and that the awakening is deliverance.
At night we have dreams. In these we are now a beggar, now a king; in one dream imprisoned, poor, menaced by sufferings and dangers; in another, favoured by fortune and full of joy. And yet it is the same ego which assumes all these forms in dream. Further, while dreaming we do not remember that we have dreamed before, but awake we remember the dreams of many nights. It is exactly the same with our various lives: birth is a dream of the individual will to live, now frightful, now delightful. As long as we are in one of these life-dreams, we do not remember former life-dreams. The mentally perfect one, however, a Buddha or arahat, has ceased dreaming. He is the Awakened One, and remembers his former births.  But this knowledge arises only after the “ten fetters” have been completely thrown off and the final deliverance from existence is attained.
- The delusion that the ego, or the soul is immortal.
- Doubt in the moral constitution of the world and in the path to deliverance.
- The superstition that outward religious observances, such as prayer, sacrifice, listening to sermons, adoration of relics, pilgrimages, and other rites and ceremonies lead to salvation.
- Ill will.
- Desire for life in the worlds of form.
- Desire for life in the formless worlds.
Yes, but with repentance and penance alone nothing can be accomplished, for eternal justice cannot be bribed, cajoled, or coerced. Repentance is of value only if so far as it implies the keenly felt acknowledgment of our guilt, and as it incites us to make amends to the utmost of our power for the wrong and suffering which we have inflicted on others, and henceforth to gain merit. But inactive repentance and wailing contrition are entirely useless. Equally useless is every outward penance,  as the taking upon oneself of any punishment, self-torture, and the like. The true repentance of the Buddhist is shown in bravely entering the path to salvation, and the true penance is the suppression of selfishness, passions, and craving desires.
Mere belief has little value, because it is not founded on one’s own judgment and examination. By mere belief nothing is gained; only conviction gained by strenuous effort can make us free. We ought not to become believers, but knowers and well-doers. For this the life and teaching of the Buddha are an example and a guide. 
It enjoins us to look upon all men as our brothers, of whatever race, nationality, or religion they may be; to respect the convictions of all who have other beliefs Those beliefs are patently wrong and harmful.  Buddhism is pervaded by the spirit of perfect toleration; never has blood been shed for its propagation; it has never, after gaining ascendancy, persecuted or oppressed the followers of other religions. He who does not perceive truth or does not want to listen to it only harms himself, and hence awakens the pity of the Buddhist, not his hatred.
It may seem so to the deluded, for it is true that Buddhism paralyses the coarse, brutal energy, which manifests itself in the eager striving after wealth and enjoyment, in the wild, pitiless struggle for existence, in that it teaches that real happiness is not to be gained through material progress and outward refinement,  but only through mental and moral development. Nevertheless the Buddhist does not go through life without struggling, but the place of combat is changed—instead of the outer world it is his own heart— and although at peace with the world, and therefore apparently inactive, the Buddhist strives incessantly, putting forth all his higher and nobler faculties against the selfish impulses of his heart and the allurements of the senses. This is the energy of the true Buddhist, and this struggle is more difficult, nobler, and more profitable for mankind than the battles and victories of all conquerors and kings which history reports. 
No. Prayer and sacrifice do not exist in the Buddhist religion. But the recital of texts, the reading of holy writings, the listening to sermons, and the like are of great value if done with true understanding, as they raise and fortify the courage of the follower in hours of temptation, strengthen his confidence in his own power and the Doctrine, and promote mental collectedness. All religious rites have the same purpose, they are important and indispensable to the lay follower, to remind him of the true significance of life, to divert his mind from the temptations of the world, and to constantly set before him the highest goal. But he who has already entered the path of deliverance, and as a bhikkhu is living only for his mental development and moral self-perfection, does not need such expedients. Earnest meditation, on different topics, takes the place in Buddhism to a large extent of prayer in other religions. 
To give expression to their veneration and gratitude for the “Light of the World” by a visible outward sign; and as a help to concentrate their mind on the virtues of the Buddha and the impermanence of everything, as symbolised by the beautiful flowers which will soon fade. Such a custom is not to be condemned; but he who imagines to gain some special merit by this practise alone is mistaken. 
No. A miracle in the strict sense of the word would be an arbitrary violation of the laws of nature by some superhuman being. No such thing can happen. Buddhism teaches that everything happens in conformity to law without exception. Even the highest gods are subject to this conformity to law.
There are many such; they follow natural laws still hidden from us, but known by the Buddha in their full conformity to law. Such phenomena and events may therefore only figuratively be designated as miracles. 
Buddhism teaches perfect goodness and wisdom without a personal god; the highest knowledge without a revelation; a moral world order and just retribution, carried out with necessity by reason of the laws of nature and of our own being; continued existence without an immortal soul; eternal bliss without a local heaven; the possibility of redemption without a vicarious redeemer; a salvation in which everyone is his own saviour, and which can be attained in this life and on this earth by the exercise of one’s own faculties without prayers, sacrifices, penances, and ceremonies, without ordained priests, without the mediation of saints and without divine grace.
An ardent desire for deliverance from the fetters of existence; from mental, moral, and physical bonds; ardent desire for deliverance from suffering, death, and rebirth; and the right instruction for attaining this goal. 
Neither pessimistic, nor optimistic. Pessimism and optimism are extremes; therefore one-sided and equally distant from the truth. The Buddha taught the truth which lies in the middle. Life is vain, sorrowful, full of errors, disappointments, bodily and mental sufferings, and through birth already predestined to death. This is the pessimistic side of the truth. But we are not compelled to continue this sort of existence for ever, if it no longer suits us. There is an overcoming of evil: our highest, true emancipation by our own exertion. This knowledge inspires us with courage and confidence, and justifies an optimistic conception. The frame of mind of the Buddhist, especially that of the bhikkhu, is therefore by no means a gloomy one: he does not indulge in useless complaints about the misery of this world, or abandon himself to melancholic moods. Earnest in this earnest life, but filled with serenity and confidence, he follows unswervingly the path which leads him to that goal where all suffering and all error end. His life may appear full of privations and cheerless to the worldly-minded, the deluded one, but he himself, in the consciousness of being on the road to perfection and emancipation in the growing diminution of desires and in the knowledge of the truth, enjoys a beatitude which far transcends all sensual delights. 
These and many others which the Buddha has proclaimed.
Neither by the Buddha nor by the bhikkhus who were his immediate disciples. It was not customary in India at that time to record in writing religious or philosophical truths. These were handed down orally from teacher to pupil, and most minutely impressed on memory by continual repetition, word for word and sentence for sentence. In this manner they were transmitted from generation to generation.  This was done also with the teachings of the Buddha. Not till several centuries after the Buddha’s decease were the holy writings written down on palm-leaves in Ceylon during the reign of King Vaṭṭagāmaṇi (194–88 B.C.). Prior to that, the Buddha’s Discourses had been carefully rehearsed at three Councils, of which the third was held at Pāṭaliputta during the reign of the Emperor Asoka.
One of the mightiest and most humane monarchs of India. He reigned from 259 to 222 before the Christian Era, was converted to the religion of the Buddha and endeavoured to propagate Buddhism over the whole earth. To this day rocks and stone pillars, on which he caused to be engraved his religious edicts, testify to the efforts of the Emperor Asoka, and his name is held in the highest veneration by all Buddhists. He sent missionaries to most of the then accessible countries, and his own son, Mahinda, and daughter, Saṅghamittā, went to the Island of Ceylon and effected the conversion to Buddhism of practically all the inhabitants from the king down. And it is in this island that the teachings of the Buddha have been kept up to this day and that the most authentic text of the holy writings has been preserved in Pali.
It was the language of the kingdom of Magadha and adjacent countries at the time of the Buddha. It is closely allied to Sanskrit, but while this was reserved for the teaching and writings of the Brahmins, Pali was also used colloquially; and the Buddha, in order to reach all classes of the population with his gospel of deliverance, held his discourses in this language.
No. There is none such. The Buddha taught no esoteric doctrine, but “the road of deliverance for all,” and Brahmanical secrecy, mysticism, occultism, and esotericism, these lurking-places of superstition and deceit, were entirely rejected by him. It was only after Buddhism had spread over all of India and advanced into China and Tibet that there arose, beside the pure doctrine, under the influence of Brahmanical speculations, mystic, fantastical conceptions of the world, which must be considered a deterioration of the original Buddhism. 
As everything which has come into existence must perish, will the Doctrine of the Buddha also pass away?
The Doctrine of the Buddha will never perish, as long as the world exists, for its essence is eternal. Truth itself appearing under the mundane forms of word and idea, and embodied in the person of the “Light of the World.” But its outward form and wording varies; in every age of the world, numbered by thousands of years, a new Buddha is born, who proclaims the Truths of suffering and of emancipation once more.  [Top]
The Order or Brotherhood of the Elect means the union of all those who, as true disciples and followers of the Buddha, have left the world and entered upon the. Noble Eightfold Path of consummation and deliverance, and those who have attained the fruit thereof.
Everyone without regard to race, colour, station, or sex, who is free from the impediments to admission mentioned in the Regulations. 
All afflicted with contagious or incurable diseases; minors without the consent of their parents or guardians; slaves and bondmen, as long as they have not been emancipated in a legal manner; all who are prosecuted by the authorities, as long as they have not been acquitted or have not undergone their punishment; debtors, as long as they have not fulfilled their obligations; and soldiers and officials of all kinds, as long as they continue in service; also those who have committed a great sin, such as parricide, etc.
By the investiture with the yellow robes of the bhikkhus. This “going forth” (pabbajjā) from home into homelessness, from a worldly life into the seclusion of the monastery or hermitage, constitutes the first, preliminary step. The novice (sāmaṇera) has then to pass a term of probation under the supervision of a spiritual teacher (upajjhāya) or guide (ācariya) whom he may himself choose among the monks before he is admitted as a full member of the Brotherhood.
A sāmaṇera from the day of his investiture takes upon himself all the obligations of the monks. He must completely renounce all worldly activity, strictly keep the ten vows, devote himself zealously to the study of the holy writing, to self-inspection and earnest meditation, faithfully fulfil the laws and regulations of pure conduct and moral self-culture, and strive only for one goal—by resolute progress on the Noble Eightfold Path to attain deliverance, Nibbāna.
After the sāmaṇera has been instructed in the correct practise of all vows, regulations, and precepts, has blamelessly concluded his term of probation and is at least twenty years of age, there takes place his reception (upasampadā) as bhikkhu by the Elder or Superior (Thera) in a solemn assembly of the monks. 
- I take the vow not to kill or injure any living being.
- I take the vow not to take anything which does not belong to me or has not been freely given to me.
- I take the vow to live in perfect chastity. 
- I take the vow always to speak the truth, and not to lie, deceive or slander.
- I take the vow to abstain from all intoxicating, exciting and stupefying things.
- I take the vow to eat only at the prescribed time. 
- I take the vow to abstain from dancing, the singing of worldly songs, attending plays or musical performances, as well as all other worldly amusements.
- I take the vow to renounce vanity, and to abandon the use of ornaments of every kind, of perfumed waters, ointments or oils.
- I take the vow not to use luxurious beds and seats and to sleep on a hard, low couch.
- I take the vow not to accept gold, silver, or money of any kind.
Of the precepts of pure and holy conduct given by the Buddha and contained in the Vinaya. These are substantially divided into four parts:
- Regulations which relate to outward discipline and order.
- Directions for the proper collection and use of food, wearing apparel, and other necessaries of life.
- Instructions for overcoming sensual desires and passions.
- Expedients for the attainment of higher spiritual knowledge and self-perfection.
- Right views; free from prejudices, superstition and delusion.
- Right aspirations; in other words, righteous thoughts.
- Right speech; kind, plain, truthful.
- Right action; peaceable, righteous, benevolent, and pure.
- Right livelihood is one which neither harms or injures any living being.
- Right effort; directed incessantly and with exertion of all one’s strength to the overcoming of ignorance, of craving desires, and of the will to live, devoted only to the highest goal.
- Right mindfulness; right presence of mind, right recollection in moments of weakness or temptation of all resolutions taken and of all past experiences.
- Right meditation; complete withdrawal of the senses, of perception, and thinking from external objects, knowledge. 
At any time. Neither the Buddhist doctrine nor the regulations of the Brotherhood know “eternal” vows or coercion. He who longs for the pleasures of the world may confess his weakness to the Elder. The Brotherhood does not restrain him, and retirement is lawfully permitted to him, without incurring thereby any disgrace or opprobrium. But the bhikkhu or sāmaṇera who dishonours the robe he wears and the holy community to which he belongs, by grossly transgressing his vows, incurs the severest punishment which the regulations allow: expulsion from the Brotherhood.
No. They must live in monasteries (vihāras) or as hermits in the forest. 
Simply in a moral one, not based on any outward obligations. The monks are to be a living model of abstinence, self-denial, and holiness for the lay adherents; they are to preach and expound the doctrine to them, and assist them with spiritual advice and succour in all circumstances where they may require encouragement or consolation, as did the Buddha whose disciples they are.
They ought to render to the monks due respect and reverence, and provide for their maintenance — food, clothing, dwellings, etc. They thereby gain merit, and promote their own welfare in this and subsequent births. 
No. The Buddhist doctrine knows neither excommunication nor penance done by order of the church, nor outward correctives for the lay followers. But the Brotherhood refuses all intercourse with a lay adherent who is guilty of great moral offences or who has slandered the Buddha, the Doctrine, or the Order, by turning the begging-bowl upside down before him, that is, by declaring him unworthy of henceforth offering gifts to the monks.
The holy writings say:
“He who, apt and willing to do what is good, longs for that state of highest peace, Nibbāna: Let him be guileless, righteous and conscientious, mild in words, kind, modest, content, of few wants, without care, calm, unpretending, without cravings. Let him not do anything base, let him constantly live conformably to the holy Doctrine and the Regulations in thought, word and deed; let him strengthen within himself the knowledge of the Four Noble Truths and let him walk irreproachably on the Noble Eightfold Path. Fortune shall not gladden, nor adversity sadden him; approbation shall not elate, nor disgrace and persecution depress him; let him always keep the equanimity of one who is free from cravings. Let him ever bear in mind that it is not the garb that makes the bhikkhu, not the outward observance of the vows and precepts, not life in solitude, poverty and lowliness, not learning nor erudition. He who is free from all sensual propensities and desires, who has a pure heart and has conquered selfishness, he alone is a true disciple of the Enlightened One. Let him therefore strive only for inward perfection; let him cultivate within himself wisdom, serenity and benevolence. Let him deceive no one, threaten no one, despise no one, injure no one. As mother on her only child, so let him look full of pity and kindness on all beings; let him cultivate this sentiment every day and every hour. As a deep mountain lake, pure and calm, so shall be the mind of him who walks on the Noble Eightfold Path. To all living beings, on earth or in worlds beyond, to the weak and the strong, the lowly and the high, the good and the bad, the near and the far—to all let him be kindly disposed.
“And he lets his mind pervade one quarter of the world with thoughts of goodwill, with thoughts of pity, with thoughts of sympathy, with thoughts of equanimity; and so the second and so the third, and so the fourth. And thus the whole wide world, above, below, around and everywhere, does he continue to pervade with heart of goodwill, with heart of pity, with heart of sympathy, with heart of equanimity, far-reaching, grown great, and beyond measure.
“For he who lives in purity, free from superstition and delusion, from hope and fear, passion and desire, love and hatred, who has completely overcome the desire for existence and annihilation, and has attained true knowledge, will make an end of suffering and rebirth and enter into the highest Nibbāna.”
As this formula is always pronounced in Pali, it is here given in that language.
Buddhaṃ saraṇaṃ gacchāmi,
Dhammaṃ saraṇaṃ gacchāmi,
Saṅghaṃ saraṇaṃ gacchāmi.
The text for the second and third recitation is:
Dutiyampi Buddhaṃ (Dhammaṃ, Saṅghaṃ) saraṇaṃ gacchāmi.
Tatiyampi Buddhaṃ (Dhammaṃ, Saṅghaṃ) saraṇaṃ gacchāmi.
The literal translation of the formula is: “I go to the Buddha for refuge, etc.” [Back]
The books tell us that when Prince Siddhattha was driving in the park one day he suddenly perceived an infirm old man, with back bent by the weight of years, who was creeping painfully along, leaning upon a staff. Siddhattha in astonishment asked his charioteer, Channa, what that strange being might be, and Channa answered that it was an old man. “Was he born in this state?” further inquired the prince. Ṅo, Master. He once was young and blooming as you.” “Are there more such old men?” asked the prince with growing astonishment. “Very many, Master.” “And how did he arrive at this deplorable condition?” “It is the course of nature that all men must grow old and feeble, if they do not die young.” “I also, Channa?” “You also, Master.” This incident made the prince so pensive that he gave orders to be driven home, having lost all pleasure in the beautiful surroundings. Some time after this, while out driving again, he saw a leper, and when in answer to his questions Channa also explained this apparition to him, he was so deeply affected that thereafter he avoided all amusements and began to ponder over human misery. In the course of time a third apparition was perceived by him: he saw by the wayside a corpse in a state of decomposition. Violently agitated, he returned home immediately, exclaiming: “Woe is me, what is the use of kingly splendour, all pomp and all enjoyment, if they cannot guard me from old age, sickness and death! How unhappy is mankind! Is there then no way of forever ending suffering and death which are renewed with every birth?” This question occupied him henceforth uninterruptedly. The answer to it came to him on a subsequent drive. There appeared to him an ascetic in yellow garb, as now worn by the Buddhist monks, whose venerable features clearly reflected his deep inner peace. This apparition showed to the prince, troubled with the enigma of existence, the way in which he had to seek its solution. Henceforth the resolution matured within him to leave the world and to step on the path which every one must travel who strives for perfection.
This allegorical narrative is evidently not to be taken literally, but it is full of a deep inner truth, for it teaches us that it is only the insight into the transitoriness and vanity of life which leads a susceptible nature to retirement from the world and renunciation, to that total change of mind which all saints and world-vanquishers have experienced, and which the worldly-minded do not comprehend. [Back]
With this momentous step the story of Prince Siddhattha ceases, and there begins the historical career of the recluse Gotama, whom his contemporaries called the Awakened One, the Buddha. The Perfect One expressed himself to his disciples only occasionally, in short simple words, as to the reasons which induced him to abandon the worldly life.
Thus we read in the Majjhima Nikāya: “There are two goals, oh disciples, the holy goal and the unholy goal. And What is the unholy goal? There, one who is himself subject to birth, old age, sickness, death, sorrow, and sin seeks what is also subject to birth, old age, sickness, death, sorrow, and sin, viz., wife and child, man-servants and maidservants, hearth and home, gold and silver. This, O disciples, is the unholy goal. I also, O disciples, acted thus, while still searching for the truth, before I had become an Awakened One, a Buddha. Then the thought arose within me, instead of the transitory and sorrowful which I had comprehended as evil, to seek deliverance from birth, old age, sickness, death, sorrow and sin, the peerless security, Nibbāna. This is the holy goal. And after a time, young, strong, dark-haired in the first bloom of manhood against the wish of my weeping and wailing parents, with shorn hair and beard, and clad in the yellow garment, I went forth from home into homelessness.”
And in another place after speaking to his disciples of the splendour and pomp which had surrounded him in his palaces, he continued: “By such affluence, disciples, was I surrounded, in such magnificence I dwelt. Then there awoke in me this thought: a foolish, ordinary person, although himself subject to old age, sickness, and death, feels repugnance and loathing when he sees an old man, a sick person, or a corpse. This repugnance, however, turns against himself; for he also is subject to old age, sickness and death. As I thought thus you disciples, all juvenile ardour perished within me.” [Back]
In spite of the correct explanation of Nibbāna given by eminent scholars long ago there still exist among most Europeans and Americans strange ideas concerning it. Nirvāna, literally translated, means: to be extinguished, to be blown out, like a flame blown out by the wind, or extinguished for want of fuel. From this the inference has been drawn by some that Nibbāna signifies nothingness. This is an erroneous opinion; on the contrary, Nibbāna is a state of the highest spiritualization, of which indeed no one who is still fettered by earthly ties can have an adequate conception. What is it then that is extinguished or blown out in Nibbāna? Extinguished is the will to live, the craving for existence and enjoyment in this or another world; extinguished is the delusion that material possessions have any intrinsic or lasting value. Blown out is the flame of sensuality and desire, forever blown out the flickering will-o’-the-wisp of the “ego” or “I.” It is true that the perfect saint, the arahat (for only such a one can attain Nibbāna in this life) continues to live in the body, due to results of error and guilt in former births, which have already begun to operate and are presenting themselves just now as a living organism in temporality and cannot be suppressed; but the body is perishable, soon the hour arrives when it passes away. Then nothing remains which could give rise to a new birth, and the arahat passes on to eternal peace, the ultimate Nibbāna (parinibbāna).
Parinibbāna, in the sense of other religions and of scientific materialism, is indeed total annihilation, complete dissolution of the individuality, for nothing remains in parinibbāna which in any way corresponds to the human conception of existence. But from the point of view of one who has attained to the state of the arahat it is rather the world with all its phenomena which is ṅothingness,” a reflected image, an iridescent bubble, a terrifying dream; and parinibbāna is the entrance into real being, into the eternal, unchangeable, imperishable, where there is no diversity, no strife, and no suffering. [Back]
It is a delusion, cherished to his own affliction by the sensual man, engrossed by the craving for existence and enjoyment, that the satisfaction of desires and inclinations affords true happiness. All desires are appeased for a short time only by their attainment, but always awaken anew, and become all the stronger, the more one yields to them. Every gratified desire produces a new one, and no final satisfaction is conceivable in this way. Moreover we must take into account all the unavoidable disappointments and failures, the conflict, struggle, and strife with our fellow beings who are pursuing the same aim. But this incessant struggle can only be carried on at the expense of our bodily and mental forces. Therefore, the more we indulge our desires and inclinations, the more they increase, and the more at the same time our forces, which are the only means of enjoyment, diminish. Increase of desires and the simultaneous decrease of the means for their gratification—this is the inexorable law of nature to which such perverse striving is subject. It must, therefore, be evident to everyone who earnestly reflects upon it that it is foolish to pursue sensual enjoyments: the ardently yearned-for happiness can never be gained. Hence the Dhammapada says:
“How can you laugh, how merry find this life,
Which only holds the flame of low desires and strife?
You’ll walk in darkness ever deep and fell,
Until you seek the light it to dispel.” [Back]
“As the broad ocean, oh disciples, is permeated all through by the taste of salt; so this doctrine and law is permeated all through by the spirit of salvation” (Culla Vagga).
“The craving for life is the worst of all diseases, individuality the greatest evil. He who knows this truly sees in Nibbāna the highest bliss.”
“This salutary advice I give unto you all who are here assembled: totally eradicates the craving for life, that the god of death (Māra) may not break you again, as the storm breaks the reeds.”
“He who is filled with the desire for life is like game in a snare. Therefore, oh bhikkhu, conquer the desire for 1ife, and strive only for dispassionateness.”
“The wise man does not regard chains or ropes as fetters, but a rich man honours wife and child, and all that which draws him down to a worldly life. Therefore he leaves all these with their sorrows and joys and goes forth into solitude.”
“Renounce what lies behind you, renounce what the future promises you, renounce the pleasure of the present, if you wouldst reach the further shore (of the ocean of life). Have you entirely freed your self mentally, then you wilt not again fall a prey to birth and death” (Dhammapada). [Back]
“He who has recognised the value of earnest meditation finds therein his true happiness. He rejoices in the knowledge of the elect.”
“Strive not for the vanities of this world, nor for a life full of love and lust. He who is earnest and meditative has joys in plenty.”
“It is pleasant to be in the solitude of the forest; where the worldling pursuing the pleasures of sense finds no joys, they bloom for him who has overcome his passions.”
“The bhikkhu who has the right knowledge does not yearn even for the joys of heaven. Only in the overcoming of all his desires and inclinations does he find true happiness.”
“Happy are they who do not hate. Let us live happily then, free from hatred among those who hate. Happy are the pure. Let us live happily then, pure among the impure. Happy are they who are free from desires. Let us live happily then, free from desires among the desiring. Happy are they who call nothing their own. They are as the bright gods who live on happiness.”
“Health is the greatest blessing, contentment the best possession, a true friend the nearest of kin, Nibbāna the highest beatitude.”
“Sweet is solitude and peace of mind; sweet is it to be free from fear and desire; sweet is the draught from the cup of the holy Doctrine.”
“The sight of the Elect affords joy; to live with them is happiness. Therefore attach yourself to the wise, the intelligent, the learned, the meek, the passionless, the perfected. In their companionship live always as the moon in the company of the stars” (Dhammapada). [Back]