When you first encounter Buddhism, you’ll hear all sorts of explanations and you might be attracted to fantastic meditation experiences or cool stories about this teacher or that teacher. The important thing about these things is to not get sidetracked, but rather, focus on the essence – the fundamentals.
What’s this like? It’s like you have to get to Central Station but then before you get there, you’ve gotten off at some of the smaller stations en-route to Central Station and then you get side-tracked by all the nice things you see – then the train leaves without you.
The Buddhist Path is called the Noble Eightfold Path – but instead of 8, I’m going to make it really simple for you guys – because the 8 factors of the Noble Eightfold Path can be grouped into 3:
1. Precepts – morality
2. Samadhi – stillness
So remember that guys. Precepts, samadhi and wisdom – that is the Buddhist Path. If you can remember that, then you’ll remember the 8 more easily. Plus 3 is easier to remember than 8. 3 will hold your focus easier than 8.
These are the fundamentals – you’ve got to get these right from the outset. If your fundamentals are good, then your whole foundation will be good. If your foundation has holes in it – whatever you’re trying to build on the foundation can collapse at any time. So have a good, solid foundation:
– Do your best to hold yourself to a higher standard – the precepts.
– Which will in turn ease the burdens in your heart – giving you peace (samadhi)
– Which will in turn allow your inherent wisdom to arise.
These are called the 3 non-outflow studies. Because by following these 3, your energy is no longer flowing out and being dissipated into the world of the senses that we live in. Precepts, samadhi and wisdom – the heart of the Buddhist Path.