What Buddha Rejected?
This survey of the philosophical and religious thought shows that at the
time when the Buddha formulated his teaching (i. e. Sasana in Pali),
certain ideas had a firm grip on the mind of the people.
in the infallibility of the Vedas;
in Moksha or Salvation of the soul,
i.e., its ceasing to be born again;
in the efficacy of rites, ceremonies and sacrifices as means of
in Chaturvarna as the ideal for social
in Iswara as the creator of and in
Brahmana as the principle underlying
in Atmana, or the soul.
(vii) Belief in
Sansara, (wandering together),
i.e., transmigration of the soul.
in Karma, i.e., the determination of
man's position in present life by deeds
done by him in his past life.
formulating the principles of his Sasana the Buddha dealt with this old
stock of ideas in his own way.
The following are the ideas which he
He condemned indulging in speculation as to the whence, whither and
what am I?
He discarded heresies about the soul and refrained from identifying it
with either the body, sensations, volitions or consciousness.
He discarded all the Nihilistic views which were promulgated by
certain religious teachers.
He condemned such views as were held by heretics.
He discarded the theory that the cosmic progress had a known
He repudiated the theory that a God created man or that he came out of
the body of some Bramha.
The existence of the soul he either ignored or
What Buddha Modified?
He accepted the great grand law of cause and effect with its
He repudiated the fatalistic view of
life and other equally foolish view that a God predestined as to what
should happen for man and the world.
He discarded the theory that all deeds committed in some former birth
have the potency to produce suffering, making present activity
impotent. He denied the fatalistic view of
Karma. He replaced the view of Karma
by a much more scientific view of Karma. He put new wine in old
Transmigration (sansara) was replaced
by the doctrine of re-birth.
He replaced the doctrine of moksha or
salvation of the soul by the doctrine of
The Buddha Sasana is thus an original
piece. The little in it which is old is
either modified or restated.
What Buddha Accepted ?
The first distinguishing feature
of his teachings lay in the recognition of the mind as the centre of
Mind precedes things, dominates them, creates them.
If mind is comprehended all things are comprehended.
Mind is the leader of all its faculties. Mind is
the chief of all its faculties. The very mind is made up of those
The first thing to attend to is the culture of the
The second distinguishing feature of his teachings is that mind is the
fount of all the good and evil that arises within and befalls us
Whatsoever there is of evil, connected with evil,
belonging to evil—that issues from the mind. Whatsoever there is of
good, connected with good, belonging to good—all issues from mind.
If one speaks or
acts with a pounded mind then affliction follows him as the wheels of
the cart follow the feet of the bullocks who pull the cart. The
cleaning of the mind is, therefore, the essence of religion.
The third distinguishing feature of his teachings
is the avoidance of all sinful acts.
The fourth distinguishing feature of his teaching
is that real religion lies not in the books of religion but in the
observance of the tenets of the religion.
Can anyone say that the Buddha's
religion was not his own creation?