Friday, December 9, 2011



       We can experience these truths, which lie at the heart of the Buddha's   teachings, through direct experience. They can be viewed as
         (1) Diagnosis of an illness;
         (2) Prognosis;
         (3) Recovery; and
         (4) Medicine to cure the disease.
The first 2 truths deal with the way   things are; the last 2 point the way to freedom from suffering.

        1. The Noble Truth of Suffering
         Besides "suffering," other translations of the Pali word dukkha include unsatisfactoriness, dis-ease, and instability. All these words   point to the fact that no conditioned phenomenon can provide true   (lasting) happiness in our lives. The first step in a spiritual life is to look very closely and honestly at our experience of life and see that   there is suffering. We tend to overlook or ignore or just blindly react to   the unpleasant, so it continually haunts us. Yet although physical  suffering is a natural aspect of our lives, we can learn to transcend   mental suffering.

         2. The Noble Truth of the Cause of Suffering
         Through a lack of understanding of how things truely exist, we  create and recreate an independent self entity called "me."
         The whole of our experience in life can be viewed through this sense   of self. In consequence, various cravings govern our actions. Cravings   arise for sense experiences, for "being" or "becoming" (e.g. rich,   famous, loved, respected, immortal), and to avoid the unpleasant.  These cravings are the root cause of suffering.

         3. The Noble Truth of the Cessation of Suffering
        The mind can be purified of all the mental defilements that cause   suffering. Nibbana, the ultimate peace, has been compared to the   extinction of a three-fold fire of lust, ill-will, and delusion. One who has   realised cessation has great purity of heart, ocean-like compassion,  and penetrating wisdom.

         4. The Noble Truth of the Way to the Cessation of Suffering
        The Way leading to cessation contains a thorough and profound  training of body, speech, and mind. Traditionally it's outlined as the Noble Eightfold Path: 

     (1) Right Understanding;
     (2) Right Intention;
     (3) Right Speech;
     (4) Right Action;
     (5) Right Livelihood;
     (6) Right Effort;
     (7) Right Mindfulness; and
     (8) Right Concentration.
     On the level of    morality (sila), the Path entails restraint and care in speech, action, and livelihood. The concentration (samadhi) level requires constant    effort to abandon the unwholesome and develop the wholesome, to increase mindfulness and clear comprehension of the mind-body    process, and to develop mental calm and stability. The wisdom  (panna) level entails the abandonment of thoughts of sensuality,    ill will, and cruelty; ultimately it penetrates the true nature of    phenomena to see impermanence, unsatisfactoriness, and   impersonality. When all 8 factors of the Path come together in harmony to the point of maturity, suffering is transcended. In summary,   the Four Noble Truths can be thought of as that which is to be (1) comprehended, (2) abandoned, (3) realized, and (4) developed. 

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