The Pristine, Ascetic Stage
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This is the first stage of primitive Buddhism, representative of the wandering ascetic Gotama and his fellow 'homeless ones' who led, before the time of monasteries, a purely eremitic existence. The teaching of the Buddha was indeed philosophical in nature, austere, stoical. The men who were striving for release from the disappointment, disillusion and general unsatisfactoriness of mundane life accomplished this only by making a supreme, personal effort, and by the steadfast practice of contemplation. Individual self-perfection led to the Absolute Perfection of NibbafJ,a.