The Principles

The philosophy of Buddhism can become very complicated — our monkey minds love to dance with complications! But the basic principles are simple:
I teach dukkha, its origin, cessation, and path.
That is all I teach.
Gautama Buddha ref

The Four Noble Truths – cattari-ariya-saccani

  1. dukkha sacca: Life is “suffering” — (literal meaning “sourness”) — uncomfortable, unsatisfactory, and sometimes downright painful.
  2. samudaya sacca: The origin, or cause, of suffering is the mind’s resistance to this inescapable situation.
  3. nirodha sacca: But cessation, the end of suffering — a non-struggling, peaceful mind — is possible.
  4. magga sacca: The way for ending suffering is the Eightfold Path.
more: at

The Noble Eightfold Path – ariyo aṭṭhaṅgiko maggo

  1. Complete Understanding sammā-diṭṭhi: realizing the cause of suffering.
  2. Complete Intention: motivation to end suffering
  3. Complete Speech: speaking in a way that cultivates clarity
  4. Complete Action: behaving in ways that maintain clarity
  5. Complete Livelihood: supporting oneself in a wholesome way
  6. Complete Effort: cultivating skillful (peaceful) mind habits
  7. Complete Concentration: cultivating a steady, focused, ease-filled mind
  8. Complete Mindfulness: cultivating alert, balanced attention

Whether we say “Right” or “Wise” or “Complete” … it just means “skillful” — things that work. Like, right effort, concentration, and mindfulness when crossing the street means, look both ways, watch for cars, keep alert for unexpected events.

More about the Noble Eightfold Path

The Noble Eightfold Path in Theravada Buddhism, by Ari Ubeysekara
The Eight-Fold Path, by John Allan

The Three Refuges – tisarana

We can take refuge from these sufferings in these Three Jewels, and find our way out and home:
Take refuge in the Buddha
… in the example of the Buddha, and all teachers and enlightened beings who inspire and guide us.
Take refuge in the Dhamma
… in the basic truth of reality, and the teachings that help us understand it.
Take refuge in the Sangha
… in the community of seekers and path-treaders, known and unknown.

We already take refuge anyway! We are “taking refuge” in the excitement of activity, in surfing the Web or our emotions, in drinking or relationships or sleeping … so here are some refuges to explore that might last a bit longer, and lead to some true cessation.

More about the Three Refuges

What are the Three Jewels?
Why we take refuge