2. Suffering is caused by human desires.
3. The renunciation of desires is the path of salvation.
4. Salvation can be attained easily by following the Eightfold Path which constitute the following:
I. Right belief
II. Right thought
III. Right speech
IV. Right action
V. Right means of livelihood
VI. Right meditation
VII. Right effort
VIII. Right remembrance or memory.
The Eightfold Path was described as the middle path lying between the excessive luxuries of ordinary life and the extreme austerity of Jainism. By following the Middle -Path, one can attain the ultimate goal life which is Nirvana, the eternal peace and bliss, freedom from all worldly evils and desires as well as from the cycle of birth and death.
According to the Buddha, Nirvana means a peaceful state of mind in which all desires become completely extinct. This state of mind makes a person free from the cyclic chain of birth and death.
Just like Hinduism and Jainism, Buddhism also recognizes the Law of Karma. Buddha believed that man is the maker of his own destiny. If he does good deeds in this life, he will be reborn in a higher form of life, and so on till he attains salvation from the circle of births. On the other hand, evil deeds are sure to be punished. Thus man is advised to follow the middle path.
Buddhism has also attached importance to sanctity of life laying stress on love, compassion and non- injury to living creatures in thought, word and deed. Buddhism strongly puts forward the fact that the whole universe is controlled by Dharma, a universal law.
Buddha was silent about the existence of God though he never denied it. Buddhism also preached the basic equality of all men. Lord Buddha had no faith in caste system and because of this reason, the low class people who had been ill- treated by the higher class were attracted towards the religion.
What is important to note is that Lord Buddha had no faith in rituals and sacrifices. Buddhism thus condemns animal sacrifices and the empty rituals connected with them. Lord Buddha laid stress on good deeds and actions. He advised his disciples to lead an honest and disciplined life. They were told to practice non- violence and not to indulge in corrupt practices but to lead an upright life.
Buddhism has been divided into two sects namely the Hinayana and the Mahayana. Those who followed the doctrine of Buddha strictly and denied the existence of God were known as the followers of Lesser Vehicle or the Hinayanas. The followers of Mahayana of Higher Vehicle believed that Buddha was an incarnation of God.