The intense desire to alter the dhamma to fit confused views rooted in ignorance of The Four Noble Truths has persisted until today. This has resulted in many contradictory “Buddhist” religions that together present a confusing “dharma.” What has developed is at best ineffective in developing the stated purpose of the Buddha’s teaching: “I teach the origination of dukkha and the cessation of dukkha, nothing more.” (Majjhima Nikaya 22.37 +)
What is most interesting to note today is how far the belief that the Buddha’s teachings SHOULD be accommodated to fit ever-changing views. Often the justification for these accommodations is the another misapplied teaching form the Buddha: "Therefore, O monks, if you know the purpose of what I have said, you should keep it in mind accordingly. But if you do not know the purpose of what I have said, you should question me about it, or else (ask) those monks who are wise.” (Majjhima Nikaya 22.12 +)
This one phrase, repeated often by the Buddha, has been re-interpreted to imply that the Buddha taught to question everything including the clear and direct Four Noble Truths including the Eightfold Path. Rather than question the Buddha directly in his time, or to compare the adapted teaching for fidelity to the Buddha’s direct teaching as preserved in the Pali Canon, wholesale changes are made resulting in a modern “Buddhism” that is, as the Buddha states here: “a counterfeit of the true Dhamma (that) has arisen in the world.”
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... unskillful desire, for the Dhamma to be different than it was as first presented, has resulted in a diminishing, and often complete dismissal, of the importance of developing profound understanding of The Four Noble Truths.
The Buddha awakened to the profound understanding that it was ignorance of the true nature of confusion, delusion, and ongoing disappointment, ignorance of true nature of Dukkha, that continues Dukkha. Dependent Origination states that from this initial ignorance of The Four Noble Truths, through twelve observable causative links, all manner of suffering arises.
Developing the Eightfold Path maintains the refined mindfulness necessary to avoid the common tendency to accommodate the clear teachings of the Buddha to fit conditioned views and to remain mindful of the five skillful qualities that support awakening, that support full human maturity.
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