Buddhism is neither a metaphysical path nor a ritualistic path. It is neither sceptical nor dogmatic. It is neither eternalism nor nihilism.
It is neither self-mortification nor self-indulgence. It is neither pessimism nor optimism but realism.
It is neither absolutely this-worldly nor other-worldly. It is not extravert but introvert.
It is not theocentric but homo-centric. It is a unique path of enlightenment.
The original Pali term for Buddhism is Dhamma, which, literally, means that which upholds or sustains (him who acts in conformity with its principles and thus prevents him from falling into woeful states).
There is no proper English equivalent that exactly conveys the meaning of the Pali term.
The Dhamma is that which really is. It is the doctrine of reality. It is a means of deliverance from suffering and deliverance itself. Whether the Buddhas arise or not the Dhamma exists from all eternity. It is a Buddha that realizes this Dhamma, which ever lies hidden from the ignorant eyes of men, till he, an enlightened one, comes and compassionately reveals it to the world.
“Whether the Tathágatas appear or not, O bhikkhus, it remains a fact, an established principle, a natural law that all conditioned things are transient (anicca), sorrowful (dukkha) and that everything is soulless (anattá). This fact the Tathágata realizes, understands and when he has realized and understood it, announces, teaches, proclaims, establishes, discloses, analyses, and makes it clear, that all conditioned things are transient, sorrowful, and that everything is soulless.”
In the Alagaddúpama Sutta the Buddha says: “One thing only does the Buddha teach, namely, suffering and the cessation of suffering.”
This is the doctrine of reality.