Some ‘Givens’ in Buddhism
1. Buddha (the historical person) was human – nothing more, nothing less.
2. Buddha was embedded in a cultural milieu.
3. “Reality” is a bundle of chains of causes and effects, governed by natural laws. The effects are bundles of energy events we sometimes think of as ‘things’ and sometimes think of as ‘processes’ or ‘events.’
4. The ‘problem’ in the human condition is dukkhā. Dukkhā is a complex concept which subsumes any, all, every form of dissatisfaction one can experience.
5. Dukkhā is an experience. It is not a substance, like clay or air. As an experience, dukkhā changes – it arises, abides a while and passes away.
6. The cause of the experience of dukkhā is compound; that is, dukkhā arises in the interaction between this bundle of processes called “I” and the energy events we call ‘living in the world.”
7. From the “I” side, the cause of dukkhā is approaching life through the delusions of avijjā driven by the cravings and desires of taṇhā.
8. Because there are identifiable causes of the experience of dukkhā, one can intervene and reduce the frequency, intensity, and duration of periods of dukkhā.
9. The tried and true intervention is the discipline or practice come to be known as “The Noble Eightfold Path.’
10 The Noble Eightfold Path is a discipline which cultivates wisdom, morality and psychological development, the end product of which is reduction or elimination of the experience of dukkhā in one’s life.
11. Nothing is permanent. Everything is in flux.
12. There is no ‘atta’ (Sanskrit ‘atman’). That is there is no eternal, unchanging substrate to human existence.