One of the main aims of the Buddhist religion is to attain Nirvana. But, Dana, giving Alms and Shila, observing at least the basic five disciplines (Panchasheela, in Pali) are also vital for One's practice.
In the Maha Satipattana Sutta in Digha Nikaya, the Buddha describes Success of Four Pattana Meditations as: “One who is honest to himself and practice this four Pattana Meditations without a delay, he should be willing to achieve Arahat or Anagami level, in seven days to seven years in time which would ultimately direct to Nirvana”
The Buddha said: "One who is willing to attain Nirvana, has to understand Four Noble Truths. These Noble Truths are the key to attain Nirvana, without proper understanding of Suffering, Cause of Suffering, Relief of Suffering and the way to end Suffering, These are the four Noble Truths."
The Path to Nirvana Wikipedia
Dana & Sila practices generate thoughts, (Punya Karma, in Pali), that would create well-being within Samsara. One to give away things, which oneself earned through hard effort might know an easy task. In order to complete Dana Punya Karma, one has to give Alms without a thought of any return.
Observing Sila, or Shiksha, requires much more effort than Dana. Sila is also a Punya Karma, however, basic discipline in oneself would create a powerful platform for such person to attain Nirvana.
The Buddha said: "One who knows that oneself is not breaking these five root disciplines, shall not fear to live anywhere"
The most important Meditation practices laid down by the Buddha are the Four Sathipattana Meditations. They guide one's mind to understand reality behind the connection between Mind and Body. They increase the Wisdom of dividing Nāma and Rūpa, Nāmarūpa Paricceda Gnāna. The word Sathipattana means being in Mindfulness.Kayanupassana (Contemplation on the Body)
Vedananupassana (Contemplation on Feelings)
Cittanupassana (Contemplation on Thoughts)
Dhammanupassana (Contemplation on Dhammas)
Pattana and Anupassana carries the same meaning. All beings associate some kind of a body, Kāya in Pali, and humans associate or link up with a body which is made up with Patawi (Feeling/sensation of Hardness), Āpo (Feeling/sensation of Liquidity), Thejo (Feeling/sensation of hot or mild temperature) and Vayo (Feeling/sensation of Air).
Kayanupassana meditation starts from understanding the true nature of body. The body is the beginning of all sorrow, anger, unwise, likeness, and ultimately Suffering.
The Buddha always said:"Pagncha Upadanaskadha Dhukkha"
"One's birth, sickness, death and all affairs along life is suffering. Whatsoever feeling, or thought generated by mind during One's interaction with world or mind through these six bases is Suffering"
"It starts with understanding of suffering, not by mere mind, but by the purified mind."
The Sallekha Sutta is one of the key suttas that describes the true meaning of Practice towards attaining Nirvana. This describes that Right View (Samma Ditti) is the most important factor that Buddhists should develop to start to become selfless.