You need the absolute. Otherwise the path is worth about as much as a Dr Phil program. And the absolute does not arise, IT IS. That's the theistic argument. You can't get universal moral principles from impermanent changing phenomena. Dependent co-arising as a teaching points to relative nature of created things. So what was Buddha going for then than the absolute? But as displayed here, so many deny this reality in his teachings. That always seemed odd to me. I wonder what the Buddha would have thought, after having examined cause and effect, of Thomas Aquinas five proofs of an absolute being, i.e., 1) things subject to impermanence and change cannot have ever come into reality without a first permanent unchanged thing to give rise to the impermanence and change. 2) That we know of no thing that is the efficient cause of itself, because it would be prior to itself, which is impossible. 3) That all impermanent things have the potential to not be, and that being the case, then nothing would actually exist, so there has to be something that is pure being/pure actuality that exists -- a necessary being. 4)That there are degrees of perfection (moral and otherwise). In all genuses there is a maximum (an absolute), by which we can form judgements of more or less. So there is something that is truest, best, noblest, and consequently, something that is most being. 5) And that all things tend to act toward an end, that there is order to the universe. This includes the order of action by which we can formulate what is skillful and what is unskillful. Without the underlying order, then things would be arbitrary, and there would be no way to lead a skillful life. There must exist some being that governs this order.
This is just giving you a little background to this notion that action is not arbitrary, that logic indicates that there is a being that is goodness itself, and by which we can judge what is skillful, and what is not, what is good and what is not. And it seems many teachers admit the absolute in their teachings without seeing the conclusion which is logically necessary.
http://www.accesstoinsight.org/lib/auth ... imits.html
If the desire aimed at a happiness based on things that can age, grow ill, die, or leave you, notice how that fact sets you up for a fall. Then notice how the distress that comes from acting on this sort of desire is universal. It's not just you. Everyone who has acted, is acting, or will act on that desire has suffered in the past, is suffering right now, and will suffer in the future. There's no way around it.
http://www.accesstoinsight.org/lib/auth ... bl139.html
In contrast to the relative, often false values of our age, the Buddha's teaching is a revelation of true and absolute values.
Thereby we preserve the well-being of our whole personality, both here and in the hereafter, by living in harmony with the universal laws governing our mental and moral life.
But regardless of one's personal inclinations, the universal moral laws operate objectively — action being followed by due reaction, deeds by their fruits. The Buddha merely reveals the laws of life, and the more faithfully we follow them, the better it is for us, for then we act according to the Dhamma.
http://www.accesstoinsight.org/lib/auth ... hings.html
But the Buddha applies the characteristic of suffering to all conditioned things, in the sense that, for living beings, everything conditioned is a potential cause of experienced suffering and is at any rate incapable of giving lasting satisfaction. Thus the three are truly universal marks pertaining even to what is below or beyond our normal range of perception.
http://www.accesstoinsight.org/lib/auth ... el273.html
One might gain the impression from this account, that it needed Ananda's intense and clever arguments to change the Buddha's mind. But an awakened one's mind cannot be changed, because he is always in touch with absolute reality.
http://www.accesstoinsight.org/lib/auth ... el261.html
In terms of Absolute Truth, there is no "immortal soul" that manifests in a succession of bodies, but in terms of the relative truth by which we are normally guided, there is a "being" that is reborn.
(Notice how he just said we have no individual soul, entering the thicket of views, for sure, positing that we do not have anything truly unique about us. What he just stated indirectly is called monism -- that we are all one being. He says we don't have unique being, even though it is plainly evident that we are unique.)
The Buddha was an extremely demanding person, unwilling to bend to this supposed wisdom or to rest with anything less than absolute happiness.
http://www.accesstoinsight.org/lib/auth ... el394.html
This Dhamma, or universal moral law discovered by the Buddha, is summed up in the Four Noble Truths
That which we call a being, an individual, a person does not in itself, as such, possess any independent abiding reality. In the absolute sense (paramattha) no individual, no person, is there to be found, but merely perpetually changing combinations of physical states, of feelings, volitions and states of consciousness.
(Another absolute statement, which defies logic -- we are all one, but we only perceive multiplicity. A mark of Hinduism as well, for sure.)
http://www.accesstoinsight.org/lib/auth ... toend.html
The Eightfold Path stands at the very heart of the Buddha's teaching. It was the discovery of the path that gave the Buddha's own enlightenment a universal significance and elevated him from the status of a wise and benevolent sage to that of a world teacher.