Excerpt from The Basic Study of the Buddha's Dhamma and their Correct Application
There are three ways of teaching: (1) Teaching through similes, also called the “snake charmer’s way”, (2) Teaching to effect the escape from the round of birth and death, and (3) Teaching like a treasurer.
(1) The snake charmer’s way: In this method the teacher has forgotten that the primary benefit of the Buddha Dhamma is the escape from the conditioned world and the attainment of the path and fruition stages of Nibbāna. This person who is lost to the path and fruition stages teaches like a snake charmer with the intention to oppress and control others with his knowledge. This type of person does not know the real benefit of the Dhamma and is unable to experience the taste and essence of the Dhamma. Therefore this way of teaching the scriptures is called the snake charmer’s way.
2) Teaching to effect the escape from the rounds of birth and death: This way of teaching can have two aims: a) to cause people to escape from this world and attain the path and fruition stages of Nibbāna in the dispensation of this Buddha or b) to cause people to fulfil the perfections through the practice of morality and calmness of mind and the other noble practices.
3) The treasurer’s way: The arahats who have attained freedom from defilements in the dispensation of the Buddha, aim to establish the teachings for a long time to come and in order to ensure the continuation of the teachings they teach the scriptures. The arahats who called the Buddhist councils practised this way of teaching and by their instruction they protected and guarded the noble Teachings.
The first discourse of the Buddha, called the Dhamma-cakka-pavattana-sutta, is the source from which the great river of sweet water called the Teachings springs. The scriptures consist of the 84,000 paragraphs of Suttanta, Vinaya and Abhidhamma. The Dhamma-cakka-pavattana-sutta incorporates the Four Noble Truths: the truth of suffering; the truth of the origin of suffering; the truth of the ending of suffering; and the truth of the path leading to the end of suffering. These are the pivot of the Buddhist faith. To establish this pivot, the truth of suffering has to be understood completely and with this understanding the cause of suffering is removed and destroyed. Doing away with the cause of suffering, suffering ceases and Nibbāna is attained. It is very important to always keep in mind the fact that in order to attain Nibbāna the Eightfold Noble Path has to be practised and that only this practice has the power to lead the seeker to the understanding of the path and fruition stages of Nibbāna.