Middle path

A fundamental Buddhist teaching, described by the Buddha himself in some of his first sermons. The middle path lies between two extremes, either of which might lead one away from enlightenment. One extreme is that of excessive materialism, or focus on things of this world and of the flesh. For the Buddha such things were not in or of themselves bad, but they signal a continued attachment to desire and ignorance of the true nature of the universe. The other extreme was the world-denying asceticism the Buddha saw among some Hindus and which he himself had temporarily practiced. Asceticism, he argued, was also a sign of attachment to delusion, since to deny the world too energetically was to reinforce its power over you. Instead of either approach, Buddhists should seek the middle path, that of moderation in all things. SEE ALSO: Eightfold Path; Siddhartha

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