Introduction To The Buddha’s Dhamma
Introduction To The Buddha’s Dhamma – Noble Searches
Greetings, I am John Haspel. My search for understanding and authentic Dhamma is described here:
What Is Taught Here – Why – How To Find It
Becoming-Buddha.com has more than 300 Dhamma articles, 500 videos, and 600 audio recordings on the original and direct teachings of an awakened human being. The recordings are from our live-streamed Dhamma classes from Cross River Meditation Center in Frenchtown, New Jersey.
Site-wide, buttons of various colors and all Blue Text are links for further study (except here). Primary site-wide navigation is linked at the top of every page that will return to the Becoming-Buddha.com home page.
I have structured Becoming-Buddha.com to support developing the Buddha’s Dhamma as he intended. The Buddha often said “Ehipassiko” which means “Come and See For Yourself.” The Buddha is telling us that his dhamma is not rooted in magical fabrications or mystical speculations. It cannot be “transferred”magically from one confused mind to another.
Understanding Four Noble Truths cannot be developed through distracting rituals, magical endowments across non-physical “realms”or painful deprivations.
The Buddha’s Dhamma avoids any fabricated “dharma” that would distract one from what is occurring in life as life unfolds. Speculative and fabricated modern “dharmas” can only further ignorance of Four Noble Truths.
On each page is a drop-down menu called “Dhamma Articles And Talks By Topic.” This is the complete archive, of all texts and audio and video recordings, organized by subject. These links will return a category page with links for further study. This is helpful for studying a single subject with links providing additional context. From top to bottom is a skillful way of reading through or listening to a few suttas at a time. This will develop a thorough and effective understanding of the Buddha’s Dhamma
On the Becoming Buddha Home Page below the menus are links from our 16-week, 32-class Structured Study of true Vipassana, introspective insight into anicca, anatta, and dukkha, Three Marks Of Human Existence, as taught by the Buddha. This study resolves all confused views of self and an impermanent world – the defining theme of the Buddha’s Dhamma.
The suttas further below provide the authentic foundation and over-arching context for understanding what the Buddha originally taught and how to effectively and directly develop his Dhamma. They can be read in any order though may be most effective when read from top down.
The Buddha’s Dhamma is to be directly experienced by all well-informed and well-focused Dhamma practitioners. How do you know if you are developing the Dhamma as intended? “Ehipassiko,” come and see for yourself.”
Of course, “seeing for yourself” through direct engagement with the Buddha’s Dhamma requires finding a still-pure Dhamma and a skillful Dhamma teacher who has actually studied and developed the Buddha’s Dhamma. This is the only way to develop an awakened human being’s authentic Dhamma.
The context and foundation for all that I have studied, developed, and teach is found only in the Sutta Pitaka, the second book of the Pali Canon.
The most significant, remarkable, and practically applied base of knowledge on the true reality of human life that I have found continue to be the direct and un-embellished Dhamma of an awakened human being.
If you are new to Buddhism or a modern Buddhist practitioner who has grown increasingly confused and disappointed by modern Buddhism-By-Common-Agreement or other speculative beliefs or “dharmas,” you are as fortunate as I am to have discovered an awakened human being’s Dhamma! Here you will only find teachings that an awakened human being actually taught as preserved in the Sutta Pitaka. The Buddha’s Dhamma quickly develops mindful focus and gentle contentment.
It is the Sutta Pitaka that preserves an authentic account of the forty-five-year teaching career of this extraordinary man, Siddhartha Gotama.
An article and recorded talks on the authenticity of the Pali Canon and the remarkable story of how authenticity has been maintained is here:
Included in this article is an explanation of how the many modern Buddhist “religions” developed from craving rooted in ignorance rather than wisdom rooted inFour Noble Truths..
Most of modern Buddhism has been adapted, accommodated, and embellished to fit a fabricated need for continued ignorance of Four Noble Truths. This fabricated “Wrong View” is maintained by unskillful associations and clinging to the modern Buddhism-By-Common-Agreement movement and adapted, accommodated, and embellished modern “dharmas.”
Much of modern Buddhism relies on fabricated teachings that often contradict what an awakened human being taught. When legitimized by the “Buddhist” label this leads to further confusion, deluded thinking, distraction, and continued stress and suffering.
If you have found modern Buddhist teachings irrelevant, difficult to understand, or practically apply and integrate into your life, you will find the Buddha’s direct teachings entirely relevant, easily accessible, and immediately practical.
What The Buddha Taught – What The Buddha Did Not Teach
Siddartha Gotama, a human being, left his life of luxury, wealth, privilege, and power at the age of twenty-nine seeking understanding of the cause of human disappointment, discontent and conflict.
Over the next six years, through his own effort, Siddartha developed a profound understanding that ignorance of Four Noble Truths is the initiating condition that all manner of individual craving, aversion, confusion, conflict, and ongoing stress and suffering are dependent on.
The Buddha awakened to the profound understanding that the nature of all human discontent, confusion, greed, aversion, and ongoing deluded thinking is rooted in ignorance of Four Noble Truths
This often misunderstood and often intentionally misrepresented foundational teaching is known as Dependent Origination
The Buddha’s very first Dhamma teaching established these Four Noble Truths as the context and clear direction for anyone interested to accomplish precisely what Siddhartha Gotama accomplished – become Rightly Self-Awakened, Become Buddha.
The entirety of the Dhamma is to bring understanding of Four Noble Truths. The Buddha taught the Noble Eightfold Path as the direct and only path human awakening.
Every teaching the Buddha presented during his forty-five-year teaching career was taught in the context of Dependent Origination and Four Noble Truths.
The Eightfold Path develops profound introspective insight into, and release from, the common human condition arising from ignorance of Four Noble Truths described as Three Marks Of Existence.
The intended purpose of the Buddha’s entire teaching career is to resolve ignorance through vipassana – introspective insight. Rather than a popular hybrid meditation method, vipassana in the context pf the Buddha’s Dhamma is introspective insight into the clinging relationship between impermanent phenomena and individual ignorance and the stress and suffering that follows
What Siddhartha Gotama Discovered
Siddhartha Gotama discovered the Noble Eightfold Path through his own search for understanding. Here is an article that describes the importance of recognizing and abandoning ignoble searches that lead to more ignorance:
The Buddha, finally engaging in a Noble Search, discovered a Timeless Eightfold Path to end all confusion, deluded thinking, and self-inflicted suffering.
Requisites For Understanding – The True Foundations Of Mindfulness, Concentration, and Profound Wisdom
Jhana Meditation – The Buddha’s Only Meditation Method
Jhana meditation is the meditation method the Buddha taught as the eighth factor of the Eightfold Path. Practiced within the framework of the Eightfold Path, Jhana meditation will develop a tranquil and well-concentrated mind supporting the refined mindfulness necessary to integrate the Eightfold Path into one’s life.
The Buddha taught meditation for a single purpose – to increase concentration.
Instructions for beginning a Jhana meditation practice and guided Jhana meditations of varying lengths are here:
The Four Foundations Of Useful Mindfulness
The Satipatthana Sutta initially teaches the Four Foundations of Mindfulness. This is the foundation that Jhana meditation rests upon. This foundation provides the direction to recognize and abandon distracting feelings and thoughts which supports deepening concentration. This is the primary purpose of meditation as the Buddha teaches meditation. The balance of the Satipatthana Sutta explains what to hold in mind, what to be mindful of, as concentration increases and understanding of the Buddha’s Dhamma becomes integrated.
Anapanasati Sutta – An Example Of Authentic Dhamma Practice
The Anapanasati Sutta is a sutta where the Buddha uses the example of accomplished Monks to describe the results of a properly integrated Dhamma practice.
You may have heard the word “Insight” with regard to Buddhism. Most modern Buddhist practices teach a very broad and overly analytical form of insight lacking the context, guidance, and purpose of Four Noble Truths and the Eightfold Path. This often encourages further distraction and avoids addressing ignorance of these Four Truths.
The Buddha’s Dhamma develops specific introspective insight into what follows from ignorance of Four Noble Truths. This specific insight brings direct understanding of “Three Marks of Existence.”
A Practical, Direct, And Consistent Dhamma
The Pali Canon is a somewhat difficult read. What does become apparent after a careful study is the consistency of the Buddha’s teachings and how every teaching the Buddha ever presented was presented in the context of Dependent Origination and Four Noble Truths. When this is held in mind even the more obscure or seemingly difficult to apply teachings become useful and applicable.
The Buddha consistently describes his deeply profound teachings in very simple terms: “I teach the arising of suffering and the cessation of suffering, nothing more.”
Buddhism is often characterized as pessimistic or nihilistic. This view is a wrong view rooted in ignorance of the purpose and scope of the Buddha’s Dhamma. The Buddha taught that by understanding suffering and its origination anyone could abandon self-created confusion, delusion, and suffering and develop a life of lasting peace and happiness. The Buddha describes the process of ending ignorance and developing a profound understanding of the true nature of human life as becoming ”Rightly Self-Awakened.”
What I Discovered
I struggled for many years, becoming increasingly frustrated and confused about “Buddhism,” until I found the Sutta Pitaka and studied only what the Buddha taught as a path, an Eightfold Path.
My Dhamma practice, including teaching, is framed and guided by what I have integrated from developing The Eightfold Path. As such, I encourage all visitors to make use of the resources available here for the benefit of all human beings. What the Buddha taught was that the most loving and compassionate effort any human being can engage in is the Right Effort that develops self-awakening and the cessation of ignorance.
The word “Noble” as it applies to Four Noble Truths” defines the timeless nature of these truths. Nobility implies superiority and continuance. In an impermanent, ever-changing world, these Four Truths remain true and endure while relative “truths” arise and pass away.
For example, “The sky is blue” is at times a true statement. That it is at times true does not make a blue sky or the belief in a blue sky relevant in any way to the Buddha’s Dhamma.
“I feel angry” is also, at times, a true statement. Introducing “feeling-worship” through misguided “mindful” analyzation does not establish temporary feelings (or thought) as a worthy aspect of Dhamma practice. This only serves to develop additional fabrications and continue distraction.
Another significant example is the fabrication of modern “dharmas” that contradict an awakened human being’s Dhamma. Though widespread, I have found that with gentle and patient Right Effort, clinging to fabricated views and unskillful associations is overcome and a useful and effective Buddha’s Dhamma becomes established.
Through all impermanent worldly phenomena, the Four Noble Truths remain true:
- Stress and suffering – Dukkha – occur.
- Ignorance originates and perpetuates individual Dukka.
- Cessation of ignorance is possible.
- The Eightfold Path is the path for developing profound wisdom and the cessation of ignorance.
Important Considerations For Dhamma Practice
The Buddha consistently and often emphasized the importance of wise associations in developing his Dhamma. Here is an article on the singular importance as a Dhamma practitioner of associating with others who actually developed the Buddha’s Dhamma and remain well-focused on the Dhamma:
A group of like-minded meditators, a sangha, well-focused on the Buddha’s original teachings, will prove to be an invaluable support. All conditioned views will eventually fall away from a mind gently focused in the present guided by the framework of the Eightfold Path.
If you are in the Frenchtown, New Jersey area, please join us at one of our twice-weekly classes.
My classes from Cross River Meditation Center in Frenchtown New Jersey are streamed live and recorded. Here is information on my streaming and recorded classes:
If you would like to deepen your understanding through individual instruction there is additional information on individual instruction in Frenchtown New Jersey here or via video chat:
You can be notified of our classes, retreats and the posting of new articles and recordings by subscribing to my newsletter:
Information on my book Becoming Buddha – Becoming Awakened and a ten-week personal Dhamma study and correspondence course, The Truth of Happiness, is here:
If you find this website helpful in developing your understanding of the Buddha’s teachings, please consider a donation to help support the cost in time and money to maintain this resource and provide donation-based Dhamma teaching.:
Finally, if you are new to Dhamma practice or are re-establishing your practice, take your time, be gentle with yourself and your practice. There are difficulties that arise in developing an understanding of the Four Noble Truths and they are all difficulties rooted in ignorance and impermanence.
With a bit of time and gentle patience, you may find what the Buddha actually taught as effective today as it was 2,600 years ago in recognizing and abandoning all fabricated views and fabricated “dharmas” while developing profound understanding of the true nature of human life and a calm and peaceful mind.
Please take your time in reading and listening to this material. When engaged with through gentle determination, you will quickly deepen concentration and a calm and peaceful mind. Over time, you will develop refined mindfulness supporting the integration of the Eightfold Path leading to the cessation of ignorance of Four Noble Truths and becoming “Rightly Self-Awakened.”
Please feel free to contact me with any questions or wanting some encouragement.
John Haspel, December 23, 2019, Peace.
For All Who Reside In The Dhamma
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My Dhamma articles and talks are based on the Buddha's teachings (suttas) as preserved in the Sutta Pitaka, the second book of the Pali Canon. I have relied primarily on Thanissaro Bhikkhu’s excellent and insightful translation of the Pali generously made freely available at his website Dhammatalks.org, as well as the works of Acharya Buddharakkhita, Nyanaponika Thera, John Ireland, Maurice Walsh, Hellmuth Hecker, and Sister Khema, among others, as preserved at Access To Insight.
Also, I have found Bhikkhu Bodhi's translations from Wisdom Publications Pali Canon Anthologies to be most informative and an excellent resource.
I have made edits to the suttas from these sources for further clarity, to modernize language, to minimize repetition, and maintain contextual relevance to Dependent Origination and Four Noble Truths.
Becoming-Buddha.com and Dhamma articles and recordings by John Haspel are licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International License.