What is the goal of the Buddha’s teachings? It is solely to help us achieve our deepest aspiration for happiness and to overcome all suffering. The teachings tell us we are in the cycle of death and rebirth (Sanskrit: ‘samsara’). As long as we are in it, true and lasting peace and happiness cannot be found.
It is taught that the main causes of our experiences, good and bad, are our thoughts and karma (i.e. our intentions, our actions). Negative thoughts and actions that harm others are the main causes of suffering. Abandoning them and cultivating positive thoughts and actions that benefit others are the main causes of happiness for oneself and others.
To achieve the temporary happiness of this life and future lives, especially the permanent everlasting happiness of liberation from samsara, requires a sustained and systematic way of disciplining the mind and changing behaviour in daily life. This must come from belief and faith that our thoughts and actions do matter and will bring about effects in this and all future lives. This in turn comes from accepting that reincarnation and karma exist, understanding what karma is, and that the permanent everlasting happiness of liberation from samsara exists and can be achieved.