E240 Buddha Questions

Assigned: Buddha's Three Cardinal Discouses. (Free online source.)

First Discourse: Setting Rolling the Wheel of Truth

1. Buddha is known as "the awakened one." As reported by his cousin Ananda Thera, how does Buddha describe his awakening to the Truth he describes and how (in terms of speaking style) does he convey its impact on his own consciousness? What effect is this discourse apparently designed to have upon Buddha's audience (which consisted of five ascetics)?

Second Discourse: The Not-Self Characteristic

2. Buddha describes form, feeling, perception, judgment-making, and consciousness as "not-self" (things not proper to our being), and he praises "estrangement" from all these as a means of liberation and a path to enlightenment. However, his sermon itself takes the form of a rather precise, reasoned account of how to achieve the enlightenment he has attained. How might we explain that paradox?

Third Discourse: The Fire Sermon

3. This third sermon accords doctrinally with the first two, but how does Buddha's employment of the metaphor "fire" give what his message a different emphasis or add to what he has already explained?

Edition: Buddha's Three Cardinal Discouses. (Free online source.)