四 聖 諦 佛 教 宣 言
原 始 佛 教 南 傳 佛 教 僧 團 聯 合 宣 言
依據 釋迦佛陀正覺及教導的「四聖諦」，作為思想、教說及信仰中心的佛教，至今已有二千四百年以上的傳承，而自 釋迦佛陀正覺以來的聲聞解脫僧團的傳承，更是傳襲不絕於世，並興隆於錫蘭、緬甸、泰國、柬埔寨、高棉等東南亞地區，以及印度和歐美部份地區。維續「四聖諦佛教」傳承的榮耀，是過去二千多年來整體佛教的榮耀，也是現今每一位佛教徒的榮耀和使命。近二十年來，經由南傳佛教僧團和部份華人佛弟子的努力，使得有智慧、福德及虔誠信仰的華人世界，能夠重新認識「四聖諦」的精義及偉大，肯定「四聖諦」聲聞僧團傳承的重要與價值，並且承擔起傳承「四聖諦」及聲聞解脫僧團的榮耀和責任。
三、健全、完整的佛教，必需包括對 釋迦佛陀、四聖諦的依止及信仰，奉守、傳承「四聖諦」及解脫律的聲聞解脫僧團，還有依止 釋迦佛陀、四聖諦，並皈信、護持聲聞解脫僧團的居家信士。
五、信仰 釋迦佛陀、佛教及學習佛法，必需依據「四聖諦」為標準，懷疑「四聖諦」就是懷疑佛教，離棄「四聖諦」就等同離棄 釋迦佛陀、佛法及僧團。
六、依止「四聖諦」的聲聞解脫僧團，起自憍陳如等五比丘，是源自 釋迦佛陀的親傳。 釋迦佛陀教法的結集及傳續，是出自奉守「四聖諦」之聲聞解脫僧團的貢獻，此一僧團傳承是真實、可信，可為佛弟子親近、學習。
最後，真誠祝福 華人社會安樂繁榮 華人佛教昌盛久長
(以上宣言內容，由中華、美國、馬來西亞原始佛教會導師 Bhikkhu Vūpasama（隨佛法師）擬稿，美國原始佛教會翻譯，提由錫蘭、緬甸、泰國、柬埔寨、寮國等南傳佛教僧團長老審視、認可）
中華臺灣、美國、馬來西亞原始佛教會 Original Buddhism Society
中道僧團 Sambodhi Saṅgha
佛正覺後 2443 年 / 公元 2011 年 8 月 6 日
Joint Declaration of "Buddhism of the Four Noble Truths"
By the Saṅgha of Original Buddhism and Theravada Buddhism
The Buddhism based on the “Four Noble Truths” as the core of its thought, doctrine and belief, taught by the Buddha Sakyamuni after his enlightenment, has a lineage of more than 2400 years. The lineage of the Sravaka Saṅgha for liberation since the time of the Buddha’s enlightenment has been also transmitted continuously in the world, especially prosperous in Southeastern Asian countries such as Sri Lanka, Myanmar, Thailand, Cambodia, and Laos, as well as in certain regions of India, Europe, and America. The glory to maintain the lineage of “Buddhism of the Four Noble Truths” is the glory of all Buddhists for the past two thousand years, and also the glorious mission for every Buddhist in modern times. For the past twenty years, through the effort of the Theravada Saṅgha and some Chinese Buddhists, the Chinese world with wisdom, merits and devout belief can understand again the essence and greatness of the Four Noble Truths, confirm the importance and value of the lineage of the Sravaka Saṅgha of the Four Noble Truths, and take the responsibility and honor to transmit the Four Noble Truths and the lineage of the Sravaka Saṅgha for liberation.
Here the Sravaka Saṅgha of the Four Noble Truths from Sri Lanka, Myanmar, Thailand, Cambodia and Laos, on behalf of all the Theravada Buddhists, sincerely affirm and earnestly welcome the rise and development of Buddhism of the Four Noble Truths in Mainland China, Taiwan, Malaysia and other Chinese communities in the world, and the inclination to the wisdom and merit of the Buddha Sakyamuni. They will share the success and glory of Buddhism of the Four Noble Truths, and take responsibility to maintain and propagate the Four Noble Truths and the lineage of the Sravaka Saṅgha for liberation, to further glorify the Buddhism of the Four Noble Truths to become a steady and valuable lineage of the Buddhism of the Four Noble Truths.
The Chinese cultural tradition has a devout and deep belief in Buddhism. It is the effort and contribution of the Chinese Bodhisattva Path in the Chinese Society. The Buddhism of the Four Noble Truths is very different from the Chinese Bodhisattva Path. But the contribution of the Chinese Bodhisattva Path in spreading the belief in the Buddha is still worthy of affirmation and praise. The Chinese religious traditions are quite unfamiliar with and have had misunderstandings in Buddhism of the Four Noble Truths. In order to assist the Chinese Society to understand Buddhism of the Four Noble Truths, and encourage mutual respect, harmony and union among Buddhist societies, and collaborate in the harmonious development in the society and the prosperity of Buddhism, we discreetly bring up the following joint declarations to the Chinese communities and the people in the society:
1. The doctrine and belief of Buddhism is based on the teaching of the Buddha Sakyamuni in the real history.
2. The lineage of Buddhism started from the enlightenment and liberation of the Buddha Sakyamuni. It is the three rounds and twelve aspects of the Four Noble Truths, taught to the first five Bhikkhus including Ven. Koṇḍañña. Since then, the lineage of the Buddhism of the Four Noble Truths and the Sravaka Saṅgha for liberation began and continued for more than two thousand four hundred years.
3. A robust and complete Buddhism must include the refuge and belief in the Buddha Sakyamuni, the Four Noble Truths, the Sravaka Saṅgha who abided by and transmitted along the Four Noble Truths and the liberation vinaya, and the lay devotees who believe in and support the Sravaka Saṅgha.
4. The teaching of the Buddha Sakyamuni is perfect and ultimate in the three rounds and twelve aspects of the Four Noble Truths that has all the essentials, including the practical methods for enlightenment, abandoning of craving, loving-kindness and compassion, liberation, and the unsurpassed supreme enlightenment. The Four Noble Truths are ultimate and supreme, neither basic Buddhism nor Hinayana Buddhism.
5. To believe the Buddha Sakyamuni and learn his teaching, we must rely on the Four Noble Truths as the standard. To doubt the Four Noble Truths is to doubt the teaching of the Buddha. To discard the Four Noble Truths is to discard the Buddha Sakyamuni, his teaching, and the Saṅgha.
6. Take refuge in the Sravaka Saṅgha of the Four Noble Truths that began from the first five Bhikkhus including Ven. Koṇḍañña, taught by the Buddha himself. The collection and maintenance of the Buddha’s teaching is the contribution of the Sravaka Saṅgha who abides by the Four Noble Truths. This Saṅgha lineage is true and trustworthy. All Buddhists should get associated with and learn from them.
7. The Pali scriptures of the Theravada Buddhism of the Four Noble Truths are the ancient and precious lineage, and the basis for people to learn the true teaching of the Buddha. The Chinese scriptures of the four Agamas and the liberation vinaya are also translated from the Indian Buddhism of the Four Noble Truths. They are the gems in the Chinese Buddhist culture, and the ancient and precious lineage of Buddhism, the important basis to search for the true teaching of the Buddha beside the Pali scriptures. The comparison between the Theravada Pali scriptures and Chinese translated Agama scriptures will help people to understand the common doctrine in Buddhism and the ancient true teaching of the Buddha.
8. Buddhism has been propagated for a long time. During the process, it has absorbed the customs, cultures, and beliefs in various ages, regions, and races and developed into Buddhism schools with different characteristics. Although Buddhism schools with various regional cultures in various times cannot represent the original teaching of the Buddha Sakyamuni, we believe that there is still the ancient and common true teaching contained in those regional Buddhism with various characteristics. They are the common and valuable gems for the whole Buddhist world. Buddhism schools in various regions, through mutual respect and understanding in their common parts, can collaborate and learn from each other to promote the appearance of the true teaching.
9. The emergence of the Buddha’s teaching and the prosperity of Buddhism must base on the joint forces of all Buddhists. The conflict and opposition among various schools and sects would only diminish the brilliance of Buddhism, and cannot help the propagation and prosperity of true teaching. All Buddhists should try their best to avoid discrimination against each other, to promote the harmony and union, and to face the difficulties and troubles in modern times.
10. The wisdom and spirit of Buddhism lies in the pragmatic attitude to face the realistic world. Through the insight into the arising and ceasing from correlative conditions of the realistic world, people can develop the right path to increase their joy and cease their sufferings. They can also understand the right view that everything arising from correlative conditions is therefore impermanent, suffering and has no self. With the view of life to respect living beings, cherish the world, and reduce one’s desire, we can strive together for the harmony for the mankind and peace in the world.
Finally we wish the Chinese community peace and prosperity, and that Chinese Buddhism flourishes and lasts a long time.
(The above joint declaration is drafted by Ven. Bhikkhu Vūpasama who is the mentor and preceptor of Original Buddhism Society in America, Malaysia and Taiwan, translated by the staff of Original Buddhism Society in America, and brought up to the Maha thera of Theravada Buddhism from Sri Lanka, Myanmar, Thailand, Cambodia and Laos to review and approve.)
The Buddhist Saṅgha of the Four Noble Truths
Sri Lanka, Myanmar, Thailand and Cambodia.
Sambodhi Saṅgha in Mainland China, Taiwan, America, Malaysia.
August 6 of 2011, 2443 years after the enlightenment of the Buddha