The First Age Teaching

A travelling monk asked Unmon, "What is the teaching given by Sakyamuni during his lifetime?" [This is called the First Age Teaching.] Unmon replied, "The teaching confronts each."

The question means: What did Buddha teach during his lifetime? Gautama Buddha taught for forty-five years, and the written record of that eaching has been compiled into some five thousand forty-odd volumes. But the Buddha's teaching is for each one at each time. It s particular, not general. If one teaching is understood fully, all the other teachings are understood. To illustrate: During the Buddha's lifetime, a general on his way to a campaign stopped to see the Buddha. "I am on my way to battle," he said, "and have no time to stay and learn. But," he implored, "please give me one word that summarises your teaching. I will keep it with me and live it." The Buddha answered, "Awareness."


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