The Buddha spent 45 years after His Enlightenment to teach what he had discovered, fulfilling His selfless and noble aspiration over countless lifetimes, to help others overcome the unsatisfactory nature of life. Skilfully, He summarised the truth of the way things are and the path to ‘unshakeable peace’ in His first sermon to the five ascetics at the Deer Park in Isipatana (now known as Sarnath).
The recognition of suffering and understanding of its causes, to even the slightest degree, is critical for one to step onto the path to overcome this suffering. The Noble Eightfold Path (Pāli : Ariya Aṭṭhaṅgika Magga), more commonly known as ‘The Middle Path’, is based on the principles of non-extremism, compassion and wisdom.
Upon careful investigation and realisation of the Path by oneself, the mental defilements of greed, anger, and ignorance are slowly eroded to the eventual purification of the mind. As these defilements not only cause suffering to us but inflict pain and sorrow to others, we also eliminate our negative impact to the community and the world at large when we overcome them.
The Buddha taught us not just to end our own suffering, but to create a better world with the cultivation of morality, mindfulness and wisdom.