Saturday, November 7, 2009

The Four Noble Truths

1. All life is suffering.

2. The cause of suffering is desire.

3. Suffering can be ended.

4. The way to end suffering is the Noble Eightfold Path.

The interpretation of this Dharma is crucial to truly understanding it.

1. Duhkha in Sanskrit is commonly translated as suffering. It would more accurately include the meanings; imperfection, bothersome, impermanence or just unsatisfactory. It is the impermanence of all things, happiness, life, relationships, possessions, the constant flux that is life that it refers to. Although we may get great joy and have wonderful things in our lives, we are still aware of the underlying disturbing factors. We must acknowledge this first Noble Truth. It is the gate to spiritual awakening.

2. What is it we desire that causes our suffering? We suffer because we desire to hold onto things that are not permanent. Greed , anger and ignorance, the three poisons feed desire. We want things, we want to win, we want power. Buddha teaches the doctrine of no-self. The self does not exist as a spiritual entity, just a temporary personality. If we can rid ourselves of the notion of a fixed self then we can start to rid ourselves of the desires that cause suffering.
3. Suffering is associated with Samsara, and all of the impermanent things in the world, so conversely, the end of suffering is part of realizing nirvana, the goal of enlightenment, oneness with the universe. The path to Nirvana is in The Fourth Noble Truth.

4. The end of suffering is the Middle Way. It is a balance between Samsara (being of this world) and Nirvana (release from this world or the Samsara cycle). The Noble Eightfold Path is divided among three goals. Wisdom, Morality and Mental Discipline.

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