The essence of the Buddha's early preaching was said to be the four Noble truths:
- Life is fundamentally disappointment and suffering.
- Suffering is a result of one's desires for pleasure, power, and continued existence;
- To stop disappointment and suffering on must stop desiring; and
- The way to stop desiring and thus suffering is the Noble eight fold path - right views, right intention, right speech, right action, right livelihood, right effort, right awareness and right concentration. The realization of the truth of anatman (no eternal self) was taught as essential for the indescribable state of release called nirvana.
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