More than 2500 years ago the historic Buddha taught the four noble truths:
- The truth of suffering
- The truth of the origin of suffering
- The truth of the end of suffering
- The truth of the path to be free of suffering
Since that time all Buddhist schools and traditions recognise four basic ideas or ”four seals“ which assure that Buddha’s original message remains genuine.
- All compounded things are impermanent
- All negatively motivated deeds involve suffering
- All perceptions and implementations achieve peace
- All phenomena are without an independent self
In India the teachings about the path to perception and implementation developed as Hinayana and Mahayana, the small and the big vehicle.
Study, reflection and meditation are based on the treble refuge of Buddha, Dharma and Sangha, I.e., to the goal of enlightenment or liberation, to teachings and methods leading to such a goal, and to the community with those who took this path before us and are taking it with us.
On the great path of Mahayana it is important to include every living being in our practice. A Bodhisattva practices altruistic love and compassion aspiring Buddhahood through applying self-discipline and understanding things.
The great Bodhisattvas, who appeared in India succeeding the historic Buddha, contributed to a height of Mahayana as they prepared and contributed the manifestation of a special layer of Buddhist teachings: the Vajrayana or Tantra.
This embraces teachings and methods based on understanding the continuous presence of Buddha nature inspiring a direct, immediate experience.
In India till around 1000 AD numerous methods emerged all based on the ”four seals“ spreading throughout SE and central Asia.