Not to do any evil deeds
To cultivate the goodness
To purify the mind
This is the teaching of all the Buddhas.
According to Dhammapada Verse 183 the Buddha summarized all of his teaching and all philosophy he detailed on various discourses (sutras). In his ‘Lion’s Roar’ he exhibited that the attachment and grasping (Upadana) always binds mankind to the cycles of rebirths. And only upon cleansing the minds can all of them certainly and truly win the mental liberation and Nibbana at last. According to the Noble Quest he gave his own personal examination and experience of the deep root of the mind-impurities and the ‘clinging views’ and ignorantly clinging rules and ritual’ are very useless and dangerous. Since these things are not only seen as danger but always seen as the alteration.
The Buddha finds that many human beings are simply blinded and in the Udana Sutta he gives the simile of the blind men and the elephant and said: “Oh monks most people who ill-advisedly keep all clinging views and mere rules (sīlabbattupādāna) are blinded and unseeing the Reality. They neither know the profitable deeds and nor the unprofitable kamma. They neither know what the Dhamma is, and they do not know what the Dhamma is not. In their delusion of these things they are by their nature quarrelsome, wrangling and disputatious, too.
Formerly there was a king of Savatthi who ordered an officer; “Go and gather together all of the blind men in a place, then you give them an elephant before them, will you?” The officer had done what he was told and said to the blind men: “This is an elephant” and to one man he presented the head of the elephant; to another man its ear; to another man its tusk; to another man its trunk, the foot, the back, the tail and tuft of the tail, the officer said to each man that that was the elephant.
Shortly the king went to all of the blind men and said to each man; “Well gentle men, have you perceived the elephant?” “Yes Sir”. The king said; “Now tell me, blind men, what kind of the elephant is like?” Then those who had been presented with the elephant’s head answered: “Sir, an elephant is like a pot”. Those who had touched an ear of the elephant replied; “An elephant is like a winnowing basket”. Those who were given with a tusk said an elephant was like a ploughshare. Those who knew only the trunk said an elephant was a plough. Those said the body of an elephant was granary, its foot was like a pillar, its back was a mortar; its tail was like a broomstick…Shortly those blind men began to quarrel, shouting to each other, “Yes, I’m right!” “Yes, it is”. “No, it isn’t! An elephant is not like that”. “Yes, it is like that”. And so on, so forth. Until they come to punch over one another… What’s a shame! Just so are those Buddhists who hold Atta-Upadana.
What is his true teaching? It has once been asked: how do we know ‘what the Buddha taught?’ He gives answer to Elder Upali: “The doctrines of which you know are the doctrines lead people to bless, peacefulness and Nibbana, regard them unreservedly as Dhamma, Discipline, words of the Buddha”. It is the actual practice of Mindfulness that we know for certain and no other way.
While the Buddha was staying in Kosambi North India, he took a few leaves of trees and asked the monks sitting before him; “What do you think O monks? Are the leaves in my hand more than the leaves in this woodland here?” “Sir, the leaves in your hand are just a few, indeed, the leaves in this woodland here are much more”. “Listen! Oh monks! What I have discovered and teaching you is only a little, but what I haven’t told you are very much more. Why I haven’t taught you those things because they are useless and not leading to the peace of mind and to Nibbana”.
And he once compared his truth teaching is similar to a raft for crossing over a river to the safety place. He advised humanity that they should understand that his teaching is like a raft. From this fable it is quite clear that the Buddha’s teaching and advice means to take people from frightful place to safety, bliss and to attain Nibbana. What the Buddha teaches absolutely leads to this end.
The Buddha does not teach anything in order to make intellectual inquisitiveness. On the contrary his four kinds of perfect analytical knowledge especially his ready wit (Patisambhida) supported him to be a practical and perfect Teacher so he teaches all castes of men and women only those things that shall bring peace, happiness and Nibbana (Summum Bonum) to them all, provided they want to follow his great teaching and advice.
The aim of the Buddha to establish the Order of monks and nuns is to provide the spiritual practices for the Holy life so that whoever wishes to leave from the rounds of frightful rebirths should make effort to attain Nibbana as the end of all suffering.
There at the Jeta Grove monastery in Savatthi North India, the Buddha once ordered monks to come before him and said; “The ‘Ten Essentials’ Oh monks, you should always review because you who have given up the household life and gone forth to a homeless life. And what are ten?
“Having consented to be a monk, you have a different status from a layman. Therefore this should always be reflected by you who have gone forth from a household life to a homeless and a holy life.
“My life is dependent on others. This you should ever reflect because you have gone forth from a household life to a holy life.
“What should be done by me is of another character. This you should ever reflect because you have gone forth from a household to a holy life.
“Does my mind not reprove me as to my virtues? This you should ever reflect because you have gone forth from a household life to a holy life.
“Do the wise fellows among myself in the Order, having tested me, not criticize me as to my virtue? This you should ever reflect because you gone forth from a household life to a holy life.
“With all pleasant and dear to me, there is changing and parting inevitably. This you should ever reflect because you have gone from a household life to a holy life.
“Of deeds and of mind, speech and body am I, have deeds for my inheritance, deeds as mould, deeds for kinsmen, deeds for my protection. Whatever kamma I do perform, be it skilful or unskilful of that shall I be heir. This you should ever reflect because you have gone from a household life to a holy life.
“How do I pass my nights and days? This you should ever reflect because you have gone from a household to a holy life.
“Do I delight in a quiet place and solitude? This you should ever reflect because you have gone forth from a household life to a holy life.
“Have I gained faculties transcending the normal, the truly distinctive attainment of noble wisdom of insight, so that when questioned by other monks in the Noble Order in my last days I shall be unperturbed? Oh monks, this should always be reflected upon by you who have gone forth from the household life to the holy life.
These are the ‘Ten Essentials’ that should ever be reviewed by you who have gone forth”. So said the Buddha and all monks who had listened to his unique advice were extremely delighted.