The First Sermon of Buddha
Jainism was destined to remain but one among the many religions within India. Buddhism, born at about the same time, was by contrast to become one of the world's most popular religions, sweeping through China, Japan, and Southeast Asia. Although Buddha rebelled against the surrounding of life with gods of all kinds, he himself became a god. Following is a version of the traditional first sermon of Buddha as handed down by his first followers.
There are two extremes, O monks, from which he who leads a religious life must abstain. What are those two extremes? One is a life of pleasure, devoted to desire and enjoyment: that is base, ignoble, unspiritual, unworthy, unreal. The other is a life of mortification : it is gloomy, unworthy, unreal.
The Perfect One, O monks, is removed from both these extremes and has discovered the way which Iies between them, the middle way which enlightens the eyes, enlightens the mind, which leads to rest, to knowledge, to enlightenment, to Nirvana.
And what, O monks, is this middle way, which the Perfect One has discovered, which enlightens the eye and enlightens the spirit, which leads to rest, to knowledge, to enIightenment, to Nirvana? It is this sacred, eightfold path, as it is called: Right Faith, Right Resolve, Right Speech, Right Action, Right Living,Right Effort, Right Thought, Right Self-concentration. This, O monks, is the middle way, which the Perfect One has discovered, which enlightens the eye and enlightens the spirit, which leads to rest, to knowledge, to enlightenment, to Nirvana.
This, O monks, is the sacred truth of suffering: Birth is suffering, old age is suffering, sickness is suffering, death is suffering, to be united with the unloved is suffering, to be separated from the loved is suffering, not to obtain what one desires is suffering, in short the five-fold clinging [to the earthly] is suffering.
This, O monks, is the sacred truth of the origin of suffering: it is the thirst [for being], which leads from birth to birth, together with lust and desire, which finds gratification here and there: the thirst for pleasures, the thirst for being, the thirst for power.
This, O monks, is the sacred truth of the extinction of suffering: the extinction of this thirst by complete annihilation of desire, letting it go, expelling it, separating oneself from it, giving it no room.
This, O monks, is the sacred truth of the path which leads to the ex-
tinction of suffering: it is this sacred, eight-fold path, to wit.- Right Faith, Rio.-h-t Resolve, Right Speech, Right Action, Right Living, Right Effort, Right Thought, Right Self-concentration.
The Buddhist Idea of Righteousness
The following Buddhist scripture is from the Dhammapada (The Path of Virtue").
He who, carries out his purpose by violence is not therein righteous [established in the law]. He is wise who decides both advantage and disadvantage.
He who guides others by a procedure that is non-violent and equitable, he is said to be a guardian of the law, wise and righteous.
A man is not learned simply because he talks much. He who is tranquil, free from hatred, free from fear, he is said to be learned.
A man is not a supporter of the law simply because he talks too much , but he who, little learned, discerns it by his body, he who does not neglect the law, he, indeed, is the supporter of the law.
A man is not an elder simply because his head (hair) is grey. His age is ripe, but he is called grown old in vain.
He in whom dwell truth, virtue, non-violence, restraint, control, he who is free from impurity and is wise, he is called an elder.
Not by mere talk, not by the beauty of the complexion, does a man who is envious, greedy, and wicked become of good disposition.
He in whom these [envy, greed, and wickedness] are destroyed, removed by the very root, he who is free from guilt and is wise, is said to be handsome.
Not by tonsure [the shaved head of a religious manj does one who is undisciplined and who speaks untruth become a religious man. How can one who is full of desire and greed be a religious man? But he who always quiets the evil tendencies, small or large, he is called a religious man because he has quieted all evil.
He is not a mendicant [a religious man who collects alms for charity] simply because he begs others [for alms]. He who adopts the whole law is a mendicant, not he who adopts only a part. But he who is above good and evil and is chaste, who comports himself in the world with knowledge, he, indeed, is called a mendicant.
By [observing] silence a man does not become a sage if he be foolish and ignorant, but that wise man, who, holding [as it were] the scale, takes what is good, and avoids the evil, he is the sage,is a sage,for that [very] reason. He who in this world weighs both is callled a sage on that very account.
A man is not noble(or elect) because he injures living creatures. He is called noble because he does not injure living beings.
Not only by disciplined conduct and vows, not only by much learning, nor moreover by the attainment of meditative calm nor by sleeping solitary, do I reach the happiness of release which no worldling can attain. O mendicant,: do not be confident [rest not content] so long as you have not reached the extinction of impurities.