Essential Themes of Buddhist Lectures by Sayadaw U Thittilla

By Sayadaw U Thittilla

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In Pali, the lan­ guage of the scriptures (the Buddha’s teachings) are called Tipitaka, which means ‘The Three Baskets’. Vinaya Pitaka, ‘The Basket of Discipline’, consists of five books which expound the rules of monastic life. Sutta Pitaka, ‘The Basket of Discourses’, is a collection of discussions, stories, poems, and prov­ erbs, written in simple language, imparting all the precepts of practical Buddhism. The third basket, Abhidhamma Pitaka, or ‘Basket of Ultimate Things’, deals with epistemological, metaphysical and psy­ chological matters and is of interest mainly to trained philosophers.

C. ’ Gotama spent his early years in ease, luxury and culture. His father, the King, tried his best not to let him see anything unpleasant and ugly. In his twenty-ninth year, however, when Gotama went to the royal park, he saw on his way an old man, a sick man and a dead man, and he realized that all, 63 without exception, were subject to birth, old age and death, and that all worldly pleasures were only a prelude to pain. Comprehending thus the univer­ sality of sorrow, he had a strong desire to find a remedy for this universal sickness of humanity.

Therefore, a man’s duty is not to break these rules of nature – the laws of justice – not to try to change these laws by means of any prayer and by guarding against them but to know, to understand these eternal, unchanging laws and live in harmony with these laws. Right through the Teachings of the Buddha, stress is laid on such attributes as self-reliance, self-confi­ dence, resolution, energy, work, effort. Buddhism makes a man or woman stand on his or her own feet and be master or mistress of fate.

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