Buddha Statue - Antique Thai Style Bronze Chiang Saen Teaching Buddha Statue - 55cm/22"

The Pillars of Wisdom: Exploring the Three Main Buddhist Beliefs


Buddhism, one of the world's major religions, is founded on profound philosophical principles that guide its followers on the path to enlightenment. Central to the Buddhist worldview are three core beliefs that serve as the pillars of wisdom, providing a framework for understanding existence and attaining liberation.

In this blog post, we explore the three main Buddhist beliefs, delving into their significance and the transformative journey they inspire.

1. The Three Universal Truths:

a. Impermanence (Anicca): At the core of Buddhist belief is the recognition of impermanence. Anicca teaches that all phenomena, whether material or mental, are transient and subject to change. Nothing in the material world is permanent, and understanding this truth is crucial for overcoming attachment and suffering. The impermanence of all things invites practitioners to cultivate a mindful awareness of the ever-changing nature of reality.

b. Suffering (Dukkha): The second truth, Dukkha, acknowledges the inherent existence of suffering in life. Suffering, in the Buddhist context, encompasses not only physical pain but also the unsatisfactoriness and dissatisfaction inherent in the human condition. The recognition of suffering is the starting point for the Buddha's teachings, prompting individuals to explore its origins and seek liberation from its grip.

c. Non-Self (Anatta): The third universal truth, Anatta, challenges the concept of a permanent, unchanging self or soul. Buddhists believe that the notion of an enduring self is an illusion, and true understanding arises from recognizing the absence of a fixed identity. Anatta encourages practitioners to investigate the nature of the self and detach from the ego, fostering a deeper understanding of the interconnectedness of all things.

2. The Four Noble Truths:

a. Dukkha (Suffering): The first Noble Truth reiterates the existence of suffering and unsatisfactoriness in life.

b. Samudaya (Origin of Suffering): The second Noble Truth delves into the causes of suffering, primarily identified as craving or attachment and ignorance. Suffering arises from our desires and the illusion of permanence.

c. Nirodha (Cessation of Suffering): The third Noble Truth offers hope by proclaiming the possibility of cessation of suffering. Through the elimination of craving and ignorance, one can attain a state of liberation and peace known as Nirvana.

d. Magga (Path to the Cessation of Suffering): The fourth Noble Truth outlines the Eightfold Path, a guide to ethical and mental development that leads to the cessation of suffering and the realization of Nirvana.

Reclining Buddha

3. The Eightfold Path:

The Eightfold Path is the practical guide to living a life in accordance with Buddhist principles. It consists of the following interconnected components:

a. Right Understanding (Samma Ditthi): Developing a correct understanding of the Four Noble Truths and the nature of reality.

b. Right Intention (Samma Sankappa): Cultivating ethical intentions aligned with the pursuit of liberation and compassion.

c. Right Speech (Samma Vaca): Speaking truthfully, kindly, and avoiding harmful speech.

d. Right Action (Samma Kammanta): Engaging in ethical and compassionate actions that do not harm oneself or others.

e. Right Livelihood (Samma Ajiva): Choosing a livelihood that is ethical and aligned with Buddhist principles.

f. Right Effort (Samma Vayama): Cultivating the effort to eliminate unwholesome states of mind and nurture positive ones.

g. Right Mindfulness (Samma Sati): Developing mindful awareness of one's thoughts, feelings, and actions in the present moment.

h. Right Concentration (Samma Samadhi): Cultivating focused and concentrated mental states through meditation.


The three main Buddhist beliefs encapsulated in the Three Universal Truths, the Four Noble Truths, and the Eightfold Path form the cornerstone of Buddhist philosophy.

Together, these principles provide a comprehensive guide for understanding the nature of existence, addressing the causes of suffering, and charting a transformative path toward liberation and enlightenment.

By embracing these beliefs, practitioners embark on a journey of self-discovery, ethical living, and mindfulness, ultimately seeking to attain the profound wisdom and inner peace advocated by the Buddha.

Khmer Buddha