The teaching of the Buddha has three basic constituents – Sila (1), Samadhi (2) and Panna (3). These are the fundamental elements of his 45-year teaching mission. Do these three aspects constitute his unique contribution to human civilization? Are these elements of his dispensation of Dhamma the keynotes for which he should be remembered? A close perusal of the Tipitaka suggests not.
If we delve into the venerable past of India, we find that at the time of the Buddha and before him, there were other thinkers who believed in and propagated the concepts of sila, samadhi and panna, although not systematically. For the harmonious wayfarer, these teachers usually recommended the practice of various rites and rituals along with the three constituents. Hence, these three were not something identified and preached by Gautama Buddha alone. We find references in Brahmajala-sutta, Samannaphala-sutta(4), etc., that highlight the fact that there were sects which heavily emphasized the practice of sila for the purification of physical and vocal actions.