The Heart of the Buddha's Teaching Short Essay - Answer Key

Nhat Hanh
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1. Why does Siddhartha Gutama sit under a bodhi tree? What happens while he is sitting here?

Siddhartha Gutama sat under a bodhi tree and vowed not to get up until he understood how to alleviate suffering. He was enlightened with the knowledge that we are all one interconnected being.

2. What did Siddhartha Gutama teach?

Siddhartha Gutama taught the Four Noble Truths of the existence of suffering, the possibility of restoring well-being, and the Noble Eightfold Path that leads to well-being. He claimed to have gone to the end of the path of suffering and gained freedom. This put into motion the wheel of Dharma, which teaches the Middle Way. Austerity is not the only correct practice, and extremes in anything should be avoided. He then taught the four Noble Truths, which remain relevant today. He also taught to engage in the world rather than try to escape it. The Discourse on Turning the Wheel of the Dharma has to do with recognizing suffering and transforming it into "mindfulness, compassion, peace and liberation."

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