People today frequently pose the question whether Buddhism is a religion, a philosophy, or simply a way of life. This query gives rise to all sorts of debates and opinions, which often just create confusion.

Although this book Buddhadhamma is written as a form of philosophical treatise, I will not engage in the aforementioned debate.1 My focus will simply be on what is stated in the Buddha’s teachings – on the gist of these teachings. As for the question whether Buddhism is a philosophy or not, it is up to various philosophical systems themselves to determine whether Buddhism fits their criteria. Buddhism remains what it is; it is unaffected by these judgements and interpretations. The only specification I wish to make here is that any teaching or doctrine on truth that is only intended as an intellectual exercise of logic or reason, and contains no corresponding elements for practical application in everyday life, is not Buddhism, especially the original and genuine teachings given by the Buddha himself, which are referred to as Buddha-Dhamma.

It is a difficult task to compile the Buddha’s teachings, especially on the premise that one is presenting the true or genuine teachings, even if one cites passages from the Pali Canon which are considered the words of the Buddha. This is because these teachings are copious and contain various dimensions or levels of profundity, and also because imparting them accurately depends on the intelligence and sincerity of the person presenting them. It may happen that two people with divergent opinions are both able to quote passages from the sacred texts supporting their own points of view. To determine the truth is dependent on how accurately one grasps the essence of these teachings, and on how consistent the link is between one’s theories and the evidence one uses to support them. In many cases the supporting evidence is not comprehensive enough, and thus it is inevitable that the presentation of Buddha-Dhamma often reflects the opinions and understanding of the person interpreting it.

To clarify one’s analysis of the teachings, it is helpful to examine the life and conduct of the Buddha, the supreme teacher, who is the origin and source of these teachings. {2} Although one may argue that the stories of the Buddha’s activities come from the same sources as the formal teachings, nonetheless they are very useful for reflection. Occasionally, the Buddha’s actions reflect his aims and wishes more clearly than the formal teachings in the scriptures.

From the evidence in the scriptures and from other historical sources, one can draw a rough sketch of the events and the social environment at the time of the Buddha as follows:

The Buddha was born in the Indian subcontinent about 2,600 years ago. He was born among the warrior caste (kṣatriyaḥ/katthiya), and named Prince Siddhattha. He was the son of King Suddhodana, the ruler of the Sakyan country, which lay at the northeast of the Indian subcontinent, adjoining the Himalayan mountain range. As a prince, and in accord with the wishes of the royal family, he was fully provided with worldly pleasures, which he enjoyed for twenty-nine years, during which time he was married and had a son.

At this time, absolute monarchies were in the ascendency and were trying to expand their empires by waging war. Many other states, especially the republics, who ruled by a general assembly based on unanimous decisions, were gradually losing their power. Some of these states were conquered and incorporated into larger states, while others that remained strong were under duress, aware that war could break out at any time. And the large, powerful nations were often at war with one another.

Trade and commerce were burgeoning, giving rise to a new group of highly influential wealthy merchants (seṭṭhi), whose prestige and authority began to extend even to the royal courts.

According to the teachings of Brahmanism, people were divided into four social classes or castes (vaṇṇa). People’s privileges and social standing, as well as their occupations, were determined by their caste. Although Hindu historians claim that the caste system at that time was not yet very strict, members of the class of manual workers (śūdra/sudda) were not entitled to listen to or to recite passages of the Vedas, the sacred texts of the brahmins. These restrictions became increasingly rigid and severe; śūdra who defied these injunctions and studied the Vedas were penalized with capital punishment. Moreover, outcastes (caṇḍāla) were not entitled to any form of formal education. The sole factor for determining one’s caste was birth, and the members of the brahmin class claimed to be superior to all others.

The brahmins safeguarded and upheld the traditions of Brahmanism. They developed ever greater arcane and mysterious teachings and rituals, which became increasingly irrational. Rituals were observed not simply for religious purposes, but also as a way for powerful rulers to demonstrate their importance. And the priests who conducted these rituals gained personal advantage and riches.

These ceremonies and rituals increased selfishness in those people seeking wealth and pleasure. At the same time, they caused distress for members of the downtrodden lower classes – the slaves, servants, and labourers – and they caused agony to those countless animals slaughtered as a sacrifice.2 {3}

During the same period, one group of brahmins doubted whether these religious rituals actually lead to eternal life, and they began to devote themselves to the contemplation of immortality and the path to its realization. In their search for truth, many of them separated themselves from society and resorted to the forests in seclusion. Such renunciants, who renounced the household life and went forth in search of the true meaning of life, were collectively referred to as samaṇa.

The brahmanical teachings during this time – the era of the Upanishads – was full of contradictions. Some religious factions affirmed the effectiveness of the established rituals, while other factions denounced these very same rituals. There were conflicting views on the subject of immortality and the soul (ātman). Some brahmins claimed that the ātman is equivalent to brahmin (Brahmā/Brahma; the godhead; the divine essence); they claimed that Brahma generates and permeates all things, and is ineffable, as is expressed in the phrase, neti neti (’not this, not that’). They believed that the ātman/brahmin unity is the supreme goal of spiritual practice. They engaged in religious debates on this subject, while at the same time jealously guarding knowledge on this matter within their own circles.

Meanwhile, another group of renunciants were disenchanted with the seeming meaninglessness of life, and practised in the hope of attaining exceptional states of mind or of reaching the deathless state. Some of them engaged in extreme forms of self-mortification, by fasting and undertaking strange and unusual ascetic practices, which ordinary people would not believe were possible. Others developed the concentrative absorptions (jhāna), reaching the fine-material attainments (rūpa-samāpatti) and the formless attainments (arūpa-samāpatti), while some became so proficient in the jhānas that they were able to perform marvels of psychic powers.

Included among the groups of renunciants were those who wandered from village to village, establishing themselves as teachers and expounding their various religious views by engaging in religious debate and dialectic.

The search for meaning and the propagation of various beliefs and teachings proceeded in an intense and energetic manner, leading to numerous ideologies and doctrines.3 As is mentioned in the scriptures, there were six major established doctrines at the time of the Buddha.4

To sum up, one group of people was growing in wealth and power, revelling in sensual pleasures and seeking increased riches. At the same time, many other people were neglected, and their social standing and quality of living was declining. Another group of people was separating itself from society, bent on discovering philosophical truths, but they too did not take much interest in the conditions of society.

Prince Siddhattha enjoyed worldly pleasures for twenty-nine years. Not only did his family provide him with such pleasures, they also prevented him from seeing firsthand the lives of the ordinary folk, which were full of suffering. This suffering, however, could not be concealed from him forever. The problems and afflictions of human beings – most notably aging, sickness, and death – preoccupied the prince and caused him to seek a solution. {4}

When the prince reflected on these social problems, he saw a group of privileged people who pursued their own personal comforts, competing with one another and indulging in pleasure, without any care or concern for the suffering of others. They were enslaved by material things. In times of happiness, they were engrossed in their own selfish pursuits; in times of affliction, they were obsessed with their own distress and despair. In the end, they grew old and sick, and died in vain. Another group of people, the disadvantaged, had no opportunity to prosper and were desperately abused and oppressed. They too aged, grew ill, and died in a seemingly meaningless way.

Seeing his pleasures and delights as pointless, the prince became disillusioned with his own life. Although at first his search was unsuccessful, he began to look for a solution, for a way to discover lasting and meaningful happiness. His life full of temptations and distractions was not conducive to his reflections. In the end he recognized that the renunciant life is uncomplicated, free from worry, and conducive to spiritual knowledge. He considered that this way of life would probably help him solve these universal human problems, and he may very well encounter renunciants who could teach him valuable lessons.

This line of thinking prompted the prince to relinquish the princely life and go forth as a renunciant. He wandered around studying with various teachers, learning the methods of spiritual endeavour (yoga) and developing meditation, until he reached the concentrative attainments (jhāna-samāpatti) – including the highest formless attainments (arūpa-samāpatti) – and became proficient at psychic powers (iddhi-pāṭihāriya). Eventually, he practised extreme austerities.

In the end he came to the conclusion that none of the methods belonging to these other renunciants were able to solve his conundrum. When he compared his present life to his earlier life in the palace, he realized that both were expressions of extremes. He decided to follow his own reflections and investigations, until he finally reached complete awakening.5 Later, when he proclaimed to others the truth, the Dhamma,6 that he had discovered, he referred to it as the middle truth (majjhena-dhamma) or the middle teaching (majjhena-dhammadesanā), and he referred to the system of practice that he laid down for others as the middle way (majjhimā-paṭipadā; the ’middle path of practice’).

The Buddhist perspective is that both a life of greed and indulgence – abandoning oneself to the stream of mental defilements – and a life of complete retreat from the world – giving up all involvement in and responsibility for society, and afflicting oneself with hardship – are incorrect and extreme forms of practice. Neither of these can lead people to a truly meaningful way of life.

After his awakening the Buddha returned to the wider society and began to teach the Dhamma in an earnest and devoted manner for the wellbeing of the manyfolk. He devoted himself to this task for the remaining forty-five years of his life.

The Buddha realized that sharing the teachings and helping others would be most effective through the renunciant form. He thus encouraged many members of the upper classes to renounce their wealth, go forth into the renunciant life, and realize the Dhamma. These individuals then participated in the work of self-sacrifice, devoting themselves to benefiting others, by wandering around the country and meeting with people of all social classes. {5}

The monastic community itself is an important medium for solving social problems. For example, every person, regardless of which caste or social class he or she comes from – even from the class of outcastes – has the same rights and privileges to be ordained, to train, and to reach the highest goal.

Merchants and householders, who are not yet prepared to fully renounce their possessions, may live as male and female lay disciples, supporting the monastic sangha’s activities and duties, and assisting other people by sharing their wealth.

The true objective and extent of activities by the Buddha and his disciples is summed up by the Buddha’s injunction, which he gave when he sent out the first generation of disciples to proclaim the teachings:

Bhikkhus, wander forth for the welfare and happiness of the manyfolk, out of compassion for the world, for the benefit, welfare and happiness of gods and humans.

Vin. I. 20-21.

The Pāsādika Sutta offers a summary of how the Buddhist teachings are connected to society and how they benefit various groups of people:

The ’holy life’ (brahmacariya = the Buddhist religion) is only considered to have reached fulfilment, to be of benefit to the manyfolk, and to be firmly established – what is referred to as ’well-declared by devas7 and human beings’ – when the following factors are complete:

  1. The Teacher (satthā) is distinguished, experienced, mature, and advanced in seniority.

  2. There are bhikkhu elder disciples with expert knowledge, who are well-trained and fearless, who have realized the unsurpassed safety from bondage, who are able to teach the Dhamma to others effectively, and who successfully refute (opposing) doctrines correctly and in line with the Dhamma. Moreover, there are bhikkhus of middle-standing and newly ordained monks who have the same abilities.

  3. There are bhikkhuni8 disciples – nuns who are senior, of middle-standing, and newly ordained – who have the same abilities.

  4. There are male lay disciples, both those who live a celibate life and those who live at home and enjoy the pleasures of the senses, who have the same abilities.

  5. There are female lay disciples, both those who live a celibate life and those who live at home and enjoy the pleasures of the senses, who have the same abilities.

Even lacking female householders with such virtuous qualities means that Buddhism is not yet prospering and complete.9

This sutta reveals how the Buddhist teachings are intended for everyone, both renunciants and householders. Buddhism embraces all of society. {6}

Primary Attributes of Buddha-Dhamma

The two main attributes of Buddha-Dhamma may be summarized as follows:

  1. It reveals ’middle’ (i.e. ’objective’) principles of truth, and is thus referred to as the middle truth (majjhena-dhamma) or the middle teaching (majjhena-dhammadesanā). It reflects the truth in strict line with cause and effect and according to laws of nature. It has been revealed solely for the benefit of practical application in real life. It does not promote an attempt to realize the truth by creating various theories and dogmas based on philosophical conjecture and inference, which are consequently adhered to, debated and defended.

  2. It lays down a system of practice referred to as the ’middle way’ (majjhimā-paṭipadā), which acts as a guideline for those undergoing spiritual training. These practitioners gain a clear insight into their lives, steer away from credulity, and aim for those fruits of practice accessible in this lifetime, namely: happiness, purity, enlightenment, peace, and liberation. In practical application the Middle Way is connected to other factors, such as one’s life as a renunciant or life as a householder.

Buddhism is a religion of action (kamma-vāda; kiriya-vāda), a religion of effort (viriya-vāda).10 It is not a religion of supplication nor is it a religion based on hope.

The practical benefits of the teachings are available to everyone no matter what his or her situation, beginning with the present moment. Regardless of a person’s station in or condition of life, everyone can access and utilize these teachings as is suitable to his or her circumstances, both in terms of understanding the Middle Truth and of walking the Middle Way. If one is still anxious or concerned about life after this world, one is encouraged to devote oneself through proper conduct to generating the desired favourable conditions now, until one gains confidence and dispels all worries and fears about the future life.11

Every person is equally eligible according to nature to reach the fruits of spiritual practice. Although people’s spiritual abilities differ, everyone should have equal opportunity to develop these wholesome results of practice according to his or her ability. Although each one of us must generate these results through individual effort – by reflecting on one’s full responsibility in these matters – we are all important agents for assisting the spiritual practice of others. For this reason, the Buddha stressed the two chief principles of heedfulness (appamāda) and virtuous friendship (kalyāṇamittatā). On the one hand, one takes full responsibility for one’s own life, and on the other hand one recognizes the supreme value of wholesome external influences.

The Buddha focused on several major tasks. One of these was his attempt to eliminate naive and superstitious beliefs around misguided religious ceremonies, in particular the practice of animal sacrifice (not to mention human sacrifice), by pointing out their harmful effects and overall fruitlessness. {7}

There were several reasons why the Buddha gave so much emphasis to abandoning the practice of sacrifices. First, these practices caused people to seek help from divine intervention. Second, they caused great hardship and affliction for other people and living creatures. Third, they increased selfishness and craving for material rewards. Fourth, they brought about a preoccupation with the future, rather than a wish to improve the present state of affairs. To counteract these detrimental practices, the Buddha emphasized generosity and service to society.

The second thing that the Buddha tried to abolish was the caste system, which used people’s birth as a way to restrict their privileges and opportunities, both in society and in regard to spiritual development. He established the monastic community, which welcomes people from all social classes into a system of equality, just as the ocean receives all rivers, as one unified and whole body of water.12 This then led to the institution of monasteries, which later became vital centres of education and the spreading of culture, to the point that Hinduism followed suit and created their own monastic institutions about 1,400-1,700 years after the Buddha.13

According to the principles of Buddha-Dhamma, both women and men are equally able to realize the highest goal of Buddhism. Not long after the Buddha had established the bhikkhu sangha, he also established the bhikkhuni sangha, despite social conditions being unfavourable to a female monastic order. The Buddha was fully aware of how difficult it would be to create a suitable form for women to live the renunciant life. He exercised great care in its establishment at a time when extreme restrictions around spiritual practice were placed on women by the religions of the Vedic period, to the extent that one may say the door had been closed to them.

The Buddha taught the Dhamma using vernacular language – the language used by the common people – so that everyone, regardless of his or her station in life or level of education, would be able to benefit. This was in contrast to Brahmanism, which insisted on the sacredness of the Vedic texts and used various means to reserve higher religious knowledge within a narrow, elite group. Specifically, the brahmins used the Sanskrit language, the knowledge of which was confined to their own group, to transmit and guard the texts. Later, some individuals asked the Buddha for permission to preserve and transmit the Buddhist teachings in the Vedic language, but he rejected this proposal and had the monks continue to use the language of the common people.14

Furthermore, the Buddha absolutely refused to waste time debating on matters of truth through philosophical speculation – on matters which cannot be empirically proven by way of rational discussion. If people came to him with such questions, the Buddha would remain silent. He would then lead the person back to everyday, practical matters.15 Those things to be understood by way of speech he would share with others by speaking; those things to be understood by way of sight he would reveal to others to see. He would use the most direct and appropriate method according to the circumstances.

The Buddha used many different methods when teaching the Dhamma, so that everyone may benefit. His teachings contain many layers: those aimed for householders and members of mainstream society, and those aimed for individuals who have relinquished the household life. There are teachings focusing on material benefits and others focusing on deeper, spiritual benefits. {8}

Because the Buddha taught within a brahmanic culture and was surrounded by various religious belief systems, he was required to engage with spiritual terms used by these other traditions. As the Buddha wished for his teachings to reach the greatest number of people within a short period of time, he applied a unique approach in regard to these terms. Rather than directly refuting or discrediting people’s beliefs associated with these terms, he questioned or challenged the true meanings of these terms. He did not use an aggressive approach; instead, he promoted a natural form of transformation through understanding and spiritual development.

To accomplish this the Buddha used some of these already established spiritual terms and gave them new meanings in line with Buddha-Dhamma. For example, he defined the term brahma/brahmā (’Brahma,’ ’divine,’ ’sublime,’ ’sacred’) as referring to one kind of celestial (yet mortal) being; in other contexts it was used in reference to parents. He altered the concept of worshipping the six cardinal directions into the notion of maintaining and honouring one’s social relationships. He changed the meaning of the sacred brahmanic fire worship, by the three kinds of sacrificial ceremonies, into fulfilling a responsibility vis-à-vis three kinds of individuals in society. And he transformed the factor determining a person as a brahmin (brāhmaṇa; ’one who is sacred,’ ’one who has divine knowledge’) and as noble (ariya; ’cultured,’ ’civilized’) from a person’s birth into a person’s conduct and spiritual development.

Occasionally, the Buddha encouraged his disciples to draw upon wholesome and beneficial aspects of other religious traditions. He acknowledged and approved of any teaching that is correct and connected to virtue, considering that such righteousness and virtue is a universal aspect of nature. In the case that specific principles of practice by these other traditions had varying interpretations, the Buddha explained which ones are correct and which ones are false. He sanctioned only the practice of what is correct and wholesome.

The Buddha pointed out that faulty or harmful practices observed by other religious traditions were sometimes a result of a decline or degeneracy within these traditions themselves. The original teachings espoused by these traditions were sometimes virtuous and correct. He occasionally described these original wholesome teachings. Examples of this include his historical explanations on the notions of ’religious austerity’ (tapa), the offering of sacrifices (yañña), the principles of leadership in regard to social assistance, and the duties of a brahmin (brāhmaṇa-dhamma).16

In the centuries following the Buddha’s death, after his teachings had spread to different areas, numerous disparities arose in people’s understanding of Buddha-Dhamma. This occurred for various reasons: those people who transmitted the teachings had different levels of training, understanding, and aptitude, and they interpreted the teachings in different ways; people began to mix in beliefs from other religious traditions; local cultures exerted an influence on people’s ideas and understanding; and some aspects of the teachings grew in prominence while other aspects fell into obscurity, due to the interest, predisposition, and skill of those individuals who safeguarded the teachings. These disparities resulted in the breaking off into various schools (nikāya), as is evident today in the division between Theravada Buddhism and Mahayana Buddhism, along with numerous other subsidiary schools and lineages. {9}

Although the Theravada tradition is known for its precision and accuracy in preserving the original standards and teachings, it could not escape some changes and alterations. The authenticity and validity of some teachings, even those that are contained in the scriptures, are debated among members of the current generation, who often seek proof in order to either substantiate their own opinions or repudiate the views of others. Discrepancies are especially evident in the views and practices upheld by the general public. In some cases, these views and practices seem to stand in direct opposition to the original teachings, or they have almost developed into another religious ideology, perhaps even one refuted by the original teachings.

Take for example the understanding in Thailand of the word kamma (Sanskrit: ’karma’). Most Buddhists in Thailand when they encounter this word think of the past, in particular of deeds from past lives. They focus on the harmful effects in the present of bad deeds from past lives and on the negative results of previous evil actions. In most cases, their understanding is shaped by a collection of such thoughts. When compared to the true definitions of kamma in the scriptures, one can see how remote some of these ideas are from genuine Buddha-Dhamma.17

In this book the author18 is attempting to present Buddha-Dhamma in a way that is as true and accurate as possible. Because it is considered superfluous to this task, these divergent views, definitions, and practices are not discussed.

The source of the material for this book is the collection of Buddhist scriptures, which, unless otherwise specified, refers to the Tipiṭaka (Pali Canon). It is generally accepted that this text is the most accurate and complete compilation of the Buddha’s teachings. The author has selected those teachings in the Pali Canon which are deemed most authentic and accurate, by applying the principles of compatibility and coherence in respect to the overall body of Theravada scripture. As an added assurance in this undertaking, the author considers the Buddha’s conduct as a complement to the formal Dhamma teachings.

Having selected these guidelines, the author is confident that he has accurately explained and presented the true essence of Buddha-Dhamma.

On a fundamental level, however, the accuracy of this presentation depends on the extent of the author’s wisdom and intelligence, as well as any unacknowledged bias or prejudice. Let us simply conclude that this is one attempt to present the Buddha’s teachings in the most accurate way, based on specific methods of scholarship in which the author has the most confidence. {10}

One may separate Buddha-Dhamma into two parts, as matters of truth (sacca-dhamma) and matters of conduct (cariya-dhamma): as theory and practice. The former is defined as those teachings pertaining to reality, to manifestations of truth, to nature, and to the laws and processes of nature. The latter is defined as those teachings pertaining to principles of practice or behaviour, to benefiting in a practical way from one’s knowledge of reality or one’s understanding of the laws of nature. Sacca-dhamma is equated with nature and natural truths; cariya-dhamma is equated with knowing how to act in response to such truths. Within this entire teaching, no significance is given to supernatural agents – to any alleged forces over and above nature – for example of a creator God.

In order to do justice to the entire range and scope of Buddha-Dhamma as an integrated system, one should describe both of these aspects. That is, one should first reveal the theoretical teachings, followed by an analysis of how to apply these teachings in an effective and valuable way.

For this reason, the chapters in this book, each of which deals with a specific aspect of truth, also contain guidelines on how to apply these truths in a practical way. For example, at the end of the second chapter dealing with different kinds of knowledge, there is a section on the practical meaning and benefit of such knowledge. Moreover, the main body of Buddhadhamma follows this format: the first main section pertains to specific laws of nature, and is titled ’The Middle Teachings.’ The second main section pertains to a practical application of such laws in everyday life, and is titled ’The Middle Way.’

Although the presentation in this book may seem unorthodox, it corresponds to an original style of teaching. It begins with those aspects of life that are problematic, and it then traces back to the source of such problems. The analysis continues to a deeper inspection of the causes of suffering, the ultimate goal of spiritual practice, and the practical methods for solving problems and for realizing the goal. Indeed, the presentation is consistent with the Four Noble Truths.19


When I began to write this book, I was invited to compile the Buddha’s teachings (Buddha-Dhamma) into chapters by following a philosophical approach.


See, e.g.: Vāseṭṭha Sutta (Sn. 115-16) and Brāhmaṇadhammika Sutta (Sn. 52-5).


According to the evidence in the scriptures, the doctrines of the renunciants and brahmins can be divided into sixty-two different views or belief systems (D. I. 13-45).


For a closer examination of the conditions in the Indian subcontinent at the time of the Buddha, see, e.g.: G. C. Pande, Studies in the Origins of Buddhism (India: University of Allahabad, 1957), pp. 310-368.


For more on this period of the Buddha’s life, see, e.g. the Sagārava Sutta: M. II. 209-213. [Trans.: this sutta is also known as the Saṅgārava Sutta.]


Trans: Sanskrit: dharma. The word dhamma has many definitions; some of the most common are: thing, phenomenon, quality, property, nature, natural law, truth, reality, virtue, righteousness, the teachings revealed by the Buddha, and mind object.


Trans: deva = god; divine being.


Trans: Pali: bhikkhunī. For the sake of simplicity, I use the spelling ’bhikkhuni’ in this text.


See the Pāsādika Sutta: D. III. 122-5. Note how the term brahmacariya (’holy life’, ’sublime life’) incorporates householders.


E.g.: A. I. 286-7.


E.g.: S. V. 386.


See, e.g.: A. IV. 202-203; D. III. 97-8.


See, e.g.: B. V. Bapat, 2500 Years of Buddhism, (1959), p. 335, and: S. Dutt, Buddhist Monks and Monasteries of India, (1962), p. 210.


See: Vin. II. 139.


See, e.g.: A. V. 193-8; M. I. 426-32.


See: A. IV. 41; A. V. 190-91; Sn. 51-53; see also the following subject material.


Thai people have developed similarly unique meanings of other concepts and terms, e.g.: ārammaṇa (’sense object’), viññāṇa (’consciousness’), pāramī (’spiritual perfection’), santosa (’contentment’), upekkhā (’equanimity’), adhiṭṭhāna (’determination’), parikamma (’preliminary meditation exercise’), bhāvanā (’cultivation’), vipassanā (’insight’), kāma (’sense desire’), lokiya (’mundane’), lokuttara (’transcendent’), puñña (’merit’), icchā (’longing’), etc. These terms are now used either in a completely different meaning from how they were originally intended, or else their range of meaning has changed. In the study of Buddha-Dhamma it is vital to be able to recognize and distinguish these newer meanings in order to understand the true definition of these terms.


Trans: In the original Thai text of Buddhadhamma, the venerable author never uses the first person pronoun to refer to himself. This is a means of distancing himself from the text. As he states in the Author’s Notes, he wishes as much as possible to present an objective account of the Buddha’s teachings, and in this regard, to have the readers forget that he is there. As this is unusual in an English context, I have occasionally inserted the first person pronoun.


See the ’sequence of teaching’ (desanānukkama) at: MA. II. 219 (in reference to: M. I. 184-91). [Trans.: this final statement, of the presentation being consistent with the Four Noble Truths, is particularly noteworthy. For more on this subject, see how the four factors of Dukkha, Samudaya, Nirodha, and Magga are included in the Contents. See also chapter 19 on the Four Noble Truths.]