Philosophy of Buddha

Philosophy of Buddha


Paticca-samuppada or pratityasamutpada, the chain, or law, of dependent origination, or the chain of causation—a fundamental concept of Buddhism describing the causes of suffering and the course of events that lead a being through rebirth, old age, and death.

Existence is seen as an interrelated flux of phenomenal events, material and psychical, without any real, permanent, independent existence of their own. These events happen in a series, one interrelating group of events producing another. The series is usually described as a chain of 12 links (nidanas, “causes”), though some texts abridge these to 10, 9, 5, or 3. The first two stages are related to the past (or previous life) and explain the present, the next eight belong to the present, and the last two represent the future as determined by the past and what is happening in the present. The series consists of: (1) ignorance (avijja; avidya), specifically ignorance of the Four Noble Truths, of the nature of humanity, of transmigration, and of nirvana; which leads to (2) faulty thought-constructions about reality (sankhara; samskara). These in turn provide the structure of (3) knowledge (vinnana; vijnana), the object of which is (4) name and form—i.e., the principle of individual identity (nama-rupa) and the sensory perception of an object—which are accomplished through (5) the six domains (ayatana; shadayatana)—i.e., the five senses and their objects—and the mind as the coordinating organ of sense impressions. The presence of objects and senses leads to (6) contact (phassa; sparsha) between the two, which provides (7) sensation (vedana). Because this sensation is agreeable, it gives rise to (8) thirst (tanha; trishna) and in turn to (9) grasping (upadana), as of sexual partners. This sets in motion (10) the process of becoming (bhava; bjava), which fructifies in (11) birth (jati) of the individual and hence to (12) old age and death (jara-marana; jaramaranam).

The formula is repeated frequently in early Buddhist texts, either in direct order (anuloma) as above, in reverse order (pratiloma), or in negative order (e.g., “What is it that brings about the cessation of death? The cessation of birth”). Gautama Buddha is said to have reflected on the series just prior to his enlightenment, and a right understanding of the causes of pain and the cycle of rebirth leads to emancipation from the chain’s bondage.  The formula led to much discussion within the various schools of early Buddhism. Later, it came to be pictured as the outer rim of the wheel of becoming (bhavachakka; bhavachakra), frequently reproduced in Tibetan painting.

Ashtanga Marga

Eightfold Path, Pali Atthangika-magga, Sanskrit Astangika-marga, in Buddhism, an early formulation of the path to enlightenment. The idea of the Eightfold Path appears in what is regarded as the first sermon of the founder of Buddhism, Siddhartha Gautama, known as the Buddha, which he delivered after his enlightenment. There he sets forth a middle way, the Eightfold Path, between the extremes of asceticism and sensual indulgence. Like the Sanskrit term Chatvari-arya-satyani, which is usually translated as Four Noble Truths, the term Astangika-marga also implies nobility and is often rendered as the “Eightfold Noble Path.” Similarly, just as what is noble about the Four Noble Truths is not the truths themselves but those who understand them, what is noble about the Eightfold Noble Path is not the path itself but those who follow it. Accordingly, Astangika-marga might be more accurately translated as the “Eightfold Path of the (spiritually) noble.” Later in the sermon, the Buddha sets forth the Four Noble Truths and identifies the fourth truth, the truth of the path, with the Eightfold Path. Each element of the path also is discussed at length in other texts.

In brief, the eight elements of the path are: (1) correct view, an accurate understanding of the nature of things, specifically the Four Noble Truths, (2) correct intention, avoiding thoughts of attachment, hatred, and harmful intent, (3) correct speech, refraining from verbal misdeeds such as lying, divisive speech, harsh speech, and senseless speech, (4) correct action, refraining from physical misdeeds such as killing, stealing, and sexual misconduct, (5) correct livelihood, avoiding trades that directly or indirectly harm others, such as selling slaves, weapons, animals for slaughter, intoxicants, or poisons, (6) correct effort, abandoning negative states of mind that have already arisen, preventing negative states that have yet to arise, and sustaining positive states that have already arisen, (7) correct mindfulness, awareness of body, feelings, thought, and phenomena (the constituents of the existing world), and (8) correct concentration, single-mindedness.

The Eightfold Path receives less discussion in Buddhist literature than do the Four Noble Truths. In later formulations, the eight elements are portrayed not so much as prescriptions for behaviour but as qualities that are present in the mind of a person who has understood nirvana, the state of the cessation of suffering and the goal of Buddhism.

According to a more widely used conception, the path to enlightenment consists of a threefold training in ethics, in concentration, and in wisdom. Ethics refers to the avoidance of nonvirtuous deeds, concentration refers to the control of the mind, and wisdom refers to the development of insight into the nature of reality. The components of the Eightfold Path are divided among the three forms of training as follows: correct action, correct speech, and correct livelihood are part of the training in ethics; correct effort, correct mindfulness, and correct concentration are included in the training in concentration; and correct view and correct intention are associated with the training in wisdom.


Anatmavada (The doctrine that the atman or “I” does not exist)—in Buddhism the view that there is no substantial soul or enduring “I” as the ground of man’s psychological acts.

The concept of anatman did not appear in the teachings of the Buddha. He regarded the non-phenomenal soul as an absolute mystery. Nagasena in his commentaries on Buddha’s teaching explained that the human “I” is an uninterrupted train of ideas and states without an existing subject who would experience them (atman), and that individual immortality is a groundless abstraction. All the arising and transitory factors of existence depend on each other only functionally (dharma). They are processes without any ground upon which they would occur; the only reason for their existence is a so-called causal braid which is the stream of conscious life.  In the interpretation of hinayana, the “I” (pudgala) has no distinct existence in relation to the five real psychic elements (shape, feeling, perception, disposition, and intelligence) which constitute personal life. The alleged unity of the individual that appears in the awareness of one’s own “I” is an illusion that results from the continuity of momentary and changing states of consciousness. In the mahayana interpretation, the world is an illusion and the changing states of consciousness are not real. There are different views within this school of the subject of internal experience: the Yogacara (idealist) school thinks that the stream of consciousness is the constantly growing and changing “I”, but it is merely the background and store of an infinite variety of psychological experiences that have no beginning or end; the Madhyamika school thinks that the “I” is only a simple series of passing states of consciousness. The doctrines of later Buddhist schools clearly depart from primitive Buddhism which stated only that the skandhas do not constitute the real “I” and the made no explicit statement regarding the soul substantially or insubstantially.


The most important philosophy of Buddhist philosophy is the transientness . According to this, everything in this universe is momentary and mortal. Nothing permanent. Everything is changeable. This body and universe are in the same way that the organized form of horses, wheels and palanets is called chariot, and separating them does not mean the existence of a chariot.  The origin of this theory is based on the four truths given by the great Buddha . These four truths are :

  • The world is a home of sorrows.
  • The reason for this misery is
  • These sorrows can be eliminated.
  • There is a way to end these miseries.
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