"Do not accept any of my words on faith,
Believing them just because I said them.
Be like an analyst buying gold, who cuts, burns,
And critically examines his product for authenticity.
Only accept what passes the test
By proving useful and beneficial in your life."
- The Buddha
The Four Nobel Truths
The first teaching of the Buddha, following his enlightenment, was the exposition of these Four Truths:
1. In life there is suffering (dukkha). There is suffering in birth, sickness, old age and death. There is suffering in not getting what we want, losing what we have or getting what we don’t want.
2. The cause of suffering is the result of clinging of mind. This truth can also be stated as the presence of desire. The root causes of suffering are greed, aversion and delusion, (not seeing things as they really are).
3. There is an end to dukkha. This comes about with the end to clinging-desire and seeing things as they truly are. The root causes of greed, aversion and delusion must be eradicated.
4. The Buddha’s prescription is the Eightfold Path -- the path to gradual awakening.
The Buddha calls this path the middle way—avoiding the extremes of indulgence in sensual pleasure in attempt to avoid dissatisfaction by gratifying desire or, the other extreme, self-mortification.