The Four Noble Truths of Buddhism

The First Noble Truth: The Truth of Suffering

In our mind there can be a subtle but pervasive anxiety about our existence, sometimes called dukha or suffering. This is the Buddha’s “First Noble Truth”. He suggested that we look directly at the content and tone of our mind, to see where this dukha comes from. What do you perceive to be the origin of your dukha?

The Second Noble Truth: The Origin of Suffering

The 2nd Noble Truth is about the origin of dukha (suffering). The Buddha said that the basis of our pervasive dis-ease is that we are attached to, that we cling to, that we grasp at our ephemeral, ultimately insubstantial and impermanent projections, and impute an ongoing, fictitious and “permanent” sense of self in so doing. That is the basis of our suffering. If you look at your mind right now, you can see this happening.

The Third Noble Truth: The Cessation of Suffering

The 3rd Noble Truth is the cessation of dukha (suffering). It is like we had a headache and now we don’t. If you ask someone to describe how they feel when their headache is gone, at first they will heavily reference the feeling of the headache to describe its absence. We might experience cessation as a shift away from the dominance of our habitual patterns of grasping and attachment, but we might also experience it as a more open, spacious, and less compulsive state of mind.

The Fourth Noble Truth: The Path to the Cessation of Suffering

By cutting our habitual patterns of attachment, aversion and ignorance, we can learn to transform our confusion into wisdom and compassion. The way to achieve this transformation, according to the Buddha, is the 8-fold path: right view, intention, speech, action, livelihood, effort, mindfulness, and concentration. It is our actual lives and how we live them that is the path. It is nowhere else to be found.

 

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