FOUR TRUTHS OF THE NOBLE ONES
(often simplified as the Four Noble Truths)
These four truths of the noble ones (a precise translation) constitute a primary interest for those living a wise and noble way of life. These four truths summarise the heart of the Buddha’s teachings.
The teachings do not fall narrowly into a religious, psychological, religious, secular, spiritual category. The teachings address every category and institution, as well as the human situation.
1. THERE IS SUFFERING. What is suffering? Suffering is not getting what one wants, losing what one has, being separated from who or what one has become identified with. Suffering includes clinging and holding onto such matters as forms, things, body, feelings, perceptions, thoughts, views, consciousness, past, present and future and so on. (The Buddha has never made a crude generalisation such as ‘life is suffering’).
Suffering is to be understood.
2. THERE ARE CAUSES AND CONDITIONS FOR SUFFERING. Unsatisfactory desire, ignorance (ignoring issues), clinging, habits, addictions, obsessions, projections, identification with belief systems/social-political ideologies, lack of reflection and lack of understanding of inner and outer circumstances. Genuine insights and clarity changes the causes and conditions for suffering. Problematic mind loses its grip through insights and letting go of the causes and conditions for suffering, gross or subtle. Pains and ills of the body may arise through the past (such as genetic/hereditary factors) or the present (such as an accident, violence of another, pollution, poison, ) without the capacity for inflicting suffering on the mind.
Causes and conditions for suffering are to be explored.
3. THE RESOLUTION OF SUFFERING. Liberation is freedom from the painful past, freedom to respond wisely to the present and freedom to act wisely for the future. There is no start and finish to such a liberation. It is deathless. The end of suffering is called Nirvana. Resolution of sufferings shows the emptiness of ‘I,’ ‘me’ and ‘my,’ frees up love and compassion and enables inner peace to be the norm of daily life. Wisdom enables the capacity to live a free and caring life amidst the range of dependently arising circumstances.
The resolution of suffering is to be realised (to make real).
4. THE WAY TO THE RESOLUTION. The way or the path is right understanding (or right view), right intention, right speech, right action, right livelihood, right creative effort, right mindfulness, right concentration. The development and cultivation of each of these eight links, a wise relationship with others, animals and the environment contribute to a fulfilled way of life. The way includes addressing the ethics in every link and application of skilful means to events.
Right means ethical/wholesome/healthy and right also means a way leading to a fulfilled and awakened life.
The Way is to be developed.
May all beings explore the Four Truths
May all beings realise the experience/evidence base for the Four Truths
May all beings live a wise and liberated life