Towards the end of the Vedic period in India,the priestly class had become dominant due to the greater emphasis on rituals.This lead to the growth of superstition.At the same time the cast system had given rise to social discrimination.
This discrimination was based on individuals cast and not on his capabilities.Some castes came to be superior and other inferior.In such conditions many thinkers like Kapila,Charvak,Vardhaman Mahavir, Gautama Buddha etc. made efforts to reduce superstition. The teachings of Gautama Buddha where easy to understand and practice in day to day life.
Gautama Buddha provided answers to questions like ‘What is the nature of human life?’ and ‘Why does man have to undergo suffering?’ in the form of four noble truths.
1.Dukkha(Suffering):Human life is full of suffering.
2.Trisha(Desire):The cause of suffering is desire or craving.
3.Dukkha -nirodh:It is possible to end suffering.
4.Pratipad:The way to end of suffering.
The way shown by him to end suffering is known as astang marg or the eight fold path.The eight principles are
Panchasheel:These are the rules of conduct that are to be followed along with eight-fold path.
1.Ahimsa(Non-violence):No living thing should be hurt.
2.Satya(Truth):One should not tell lies.
3.Asteya:One should not steal.
4.Indriya Samyam:One should win control over bodily desires.
5.One should not take intoxicants.