Basic points unifying the Theravada and the Mahayana
- -- Ven. Walpola Rahula
1. The Buddha is our only Master.
2. We take refuge in the Buddha, the Dhamma and the Sangha.
3. We do not believe that this world is created and ruled by a God.
4. Following the example of the Buddha, who is the embodiment of Great
Compassion (mahaa-karu.naa) and Great Wisdom (mahaa-praj~naa), we
consider that the purpose of life is to develop compassion for all
living beings without discrimination and to work for their good,
happiness, and peace; and to develop wisdom leading to the realization
of Ultimate Truth.
5. We accept the Four Noble Truths, nameley Dukkha, the Arising of
Dukkha, the Cessation of Dukkha, and the Path leading to the Cessation
of Dukkha; and the universal law of cause and effect as taught in the
pratiitya-samutpaada (Conditioned Genesis or Dependent Origination).
6. We understand, according to the teaching of the Buddha, that all
conditioned things (sa.mskaara) are impermanent (anitya) and dukkha,
and that all conditioned and unconditioned things (dharma) are without
7. We accept the Thirty-seven Qualities conducive to Enlightenment
(bodhipak.sa-dharma) as different aspects of the Path taught by the
Buddha leading to Enlightenment.
8. There are three ways of attaining bodhi or Enlightenment, according
to the ability and capacity of each individual: namely as a disciple
(sraavaka), as a Pratyeka-Buddha and as a Samyak-sam-Buddha (perfectly
and Fully Enlightened Buddha). We accept it as the highest, noblest,
and most heroic to follow the career of a Bodhisattva and to become a
Samyak-sam-Buddha in order to save others.
9. We admit that in different countries there are differences with
regard to the life of Buddhist monks, popular Buddhist beliefs and
practices, rites and ceremonies, customs and habits. These external
forms and expressions should not be confused with the essential
teachings of the Buddha.
[Approved by the World Buddhist Sangha Council in 1966.]