A Friends Introduction to What Buddha Taught
Following Sallie King’s plenary lecture concerning the similarities between what Buddha taught and the ways of the Religious Society of Friends, I heard a leading that it would be a good work to prepare a brief illustration of what Buddha taught for friends. Buddha taught that the infinite silence (which he named Nirvana) could be reached and lived by Proper Understanding of two sets of teachings, the Four Noble Truths and the Eight Fold Path. The Four Noble Truths concern the origin and nature of suffering and the Eight Fold Path is what he taught was the path to the end of suffering.
My leading of the spirit has been to seek and hopefully find where Christ and Buddha saw the path as similar. Christ definitely taught a version of these eight principles. These two sets of teachings can be used to understand what the Gospels teach. Please remember that since Christ was born after Buddha, the compilation of Christian quotations presented here is not at all intended to represent Buddhism. I only present it as a writing of where my leading has lead me in an attempt to see the silence in Truth as One with different expression. The Eight Fold Path has worked for me from Christ centered worship. If you have any advice about this leading please contact me (Tom Wolfe) at Alastor@erols.com or 4908 Berwyn Road - College Park, Maryland 20740.
The Four Noble Truths
First: Suffering exists.
Second: Suffering exists due to Selfishness.
Third: Suffering can be Overcome.
Fourth: Suffering is overcome by the Eight Fold Path.
The Eight Fold Path
Proper Alertness or Mindfulness
The Eight Fold Path in the Gospels
" Wisdom is the principle thing; therefore get wisdom and with all your getting, get understanding"
"Happy is the one who finds wisdom, and the one who gets understanding"
The Understanding that God is One
"Unto thee it was shown, that thou mightest know that the Lord, He is God; there is none else beside Him"
"Listen and hear Oh Israel! Adonai is the Lord and He is one. You must love the Lord, your God with all your heart, soul and strength
"In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth"
"And a certain ruler asked him saying, good master what shall I do to inherit eternal life? And Jesus said unto him ‘why callest me good?’ None is truly good save one that is God."
The Understanding that God is Love
"The Lord hath appeared of old unto me saying: ‘yea I have loved thee with an everlasting love: therefore with loving kindness have I drawn thee."
"God will circumcise your hearts and the hearts of your descendants so that you will love Him with all your heart and soul and you will live"
"Withhold not good from them to whom it is due when it is the power of thine own hand to do it. Say not unto thy neighbor – Go, and come again, and tomorrow I will, give thee; when thou hast it by thee"
"There is no fear in love, but perfect love casts out fear; because fear has torment. He that fears not is made perfect."
I John 4:18
"But rise, and stand before me on thy feet: for I have appeared unto you for this purpose:To make thee a minister and a witness both of these things which thou hast seen and of those things which I have yet to give unto you."
"But seek ye first the kingdom of God and its righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you"
The Purpose not to harm any of God’s creatures
"Devise not evil against thy neighbor, seeing that he dwelleth securely by thee,
Strive not with a man without cause, if he hath done you no harm"
" I was angry with my friend, I told my wrath; my wrath did end.
I was angry with my foe, I told it not, my wrath did grow"
William Blake: A Poison Tree
The Purpose of Living a Simple Life
" The little that a righteous man hath is better than the riches of many wicked"
"Go to the ant, thou sluggard, consider her ways, and be wise. Which having no guide, overseer, or ruler, provideth her meat in the summer, and gathereth her food in the harvest"
The Purpose of Looking Within Instead of Finding Fault in Others
Where there is no wood, there is no fire; so where there is no talebearer, strife ceases.
As coals are to burning coals and wood is to fire; so is a contentious person to strife"
"A fools wrath is presently known; but a prudent man covereth shame"
The Purpose of Working Together Toward the Common Good
"And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them that are called according to His purpose"
" For in many things we offend all. If any man offend not in word, the same is a perfect man, and able to bridle the entire body. Behold, we put bits in horses mouths, that they might obey us; and by doing so we turn about their entire body"
"Speak not evil of one another, brother. He that speaks evil of his brother, and judges his brother, speaks evil of the law and judges the law. But if you judge the law, you are not a doer of the law, but a judge of the law. There is one lawgiver, who is able to save and to destroy: Who are you that you judge one another?"
"He that answereth a matter before he hears fully of it, it is folly and shame unto him"
"But the tongue can no man without God tame, it is an unruly evil full of deadly poison"
"For a just man falleth seven times, and rises up again: but the wicked shall fall ever into mischief"
"He that is faithful in that which is least is faithful also in much: and he that is unjust in least is unjust in much. If therefore ye have not been faithful in the unrighteous Mammon, who will commit to your trust the real riches?
"Seest thou a man diligent in his business? He shall stand before kings, he shall not have to stand before mean men"
And he spoke unto them saying:
"The ground of a rich man brought forth plentifully: And he thought within himself saying what shall I do because I have no room where to store my fruits. And he said this will I do: I will pull down my barns, and build greater; and there will I store all my fruits and my goods.
And I will say to my soul, soul thou hast much goods laid up for many years, take thine ease, eat drink, and be merry. But God said to him, thy fool, this night thy soul shall be required of thee: then whose shall these things be, which thou hast provided? So is he that layeth up treasure for himself, and is not rich towards God.
"You know yourselves how you ought to copy our example: we were no idlers among you; we did not accept room and board from anyone without paying for it; we toiled and drudged, we worked for a living night and day, rather than be a burden to any of you – not because we have not the right to maintenance, but to set an example for you to imitate. For during our stay with you we laid down the rule: the man who will not work shall not eat. We mention this because we hear that some of your number are idling their time away, minding everybody’s business but their own."
2 Thessalonians 2:6-12
"After this I was moved to go into Derbyshire, where the mighty power of God was among Friends. And I went to Chesterfield, where one Britland was priest. He saw beyond the common sort of priests, for he had been partly convinced, and he had spoken much on behalf of Truth before he was priest there; but when the priest of the town died, he got the parsonage, and choked himself with it. I was moved to speak to him and the people in the great love of God, that they might come off from all men’s teaching unto God’s teaching; and he was not able to gainsay."
Autobiography of George Fox
Chapter 4:Page 1
"Casting down imagination, and every high thing that exalteth itself against the knowledge of god, and longing into captivity every thought to the obedience of Christ"
II Corinthians 10:5
" Draw nigh to God, and He will draw nigh to you. Cleanse your hands, ye sinners; and purify your hearts, ye double minded."
" Yea doubtless, and I count all things but loss except the excellence of the knowledge of Christ Jesus my Lord: for whom I have suffered the loss of all things, and do count them but dung that I might win Christ."
"They asked me why we came thither. I said God moved us so to do; and I told them ‘God dwells not in temples made with hands.’ I told them also that all their preaching, baptism and sacrifices would never sanctify them, and bade them look unto Christ within them, and not unto men; for it is Christ that sanctifies. Then they ran into many words; but I told them they were not to dispute of God and Christ, but to obey Him."
Autobiography of George Fox
Chapter 4: Page 2
"In the same way that rain breaks into a house with a bad roof, selfishness breaks into the mind that has not been practicing meditation. While in the same way that rain cannot break into a well roofed house, selfishness cannot break into a mind that has been practicing meditation well."
Dhammapada: The Pairs 1:13-14