This is what I heard. He was staying at Baranasi in the Deer Park at Isipatana. He addressed the group of five.
“One gone forth does not pursue two dead ends. Which two? Infatuation, which is vulgar, uncivilized, and meaningless. And mortification, which is painful, uncivilized, and meaningless.
“I have awoken to a middle path that does not lead to dead ends. It is a path that generates vision and awareness. It leads to tranquility, insight, awakening, and release. It has eight branches; appropriate vision, thought, speech, action, livelihood, effort, mindfulness, and concentration.
“This is suffering: birth is painful, aging is painful, sickness is painful, death is painful, encountering what is not dear is painful, separation from what is dear is painful, not getting what one wants is painful. This psycho-physical condition is painful.
“This is craving: craving is repetitive, it wallows in attachment and greed, obsessively indulging in this and that: craving for stimulation, craving for existence, craving for non-existence.
“This is cessation: the traceless fading away and cessation of that craving, the letting go and abandoning of it, freedom and independence from it.
“And this is the path: the path with eight branches: appropriate vision, thought, speech, action, livelihood, effort, mindfulness, and concentration.
“ ‘Such is suffering. It can be fully known. It has been fully known.’
“ ‘Such is craving. It can be let go of. It has been let go of.’
“ ‘Such is cessation. It can be experienced. It has been experienced.’
“ ‘Such is the path. It can be cultivated. It has been cultivated.’
“So there arose in me illumination about things previously unknown.
“As long as my knowledge and vision were not entirely clear about the twelve aspects of these Four Noble Truths, I did not claim to have had a peerless awakening in this world with its humans and celestials, its gods and devils, its ascetics and priests. Only when my knowledge and vision were clear in all these ways did I claim to have had such awakening
” ‘The freedom of my mind is unshakable. There will be no more repetitive existence.’ ”
Translated by Stephen Batchelor – Appears in “Confessions of a Buddhist Atheist”, appendix III