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The 4 Noble Truths (Day 129)

Today we looked at the issue of the pain and suffering in our lives as framed by the 4 Noble Truths. These truths define the nature of mindfulness practice, and are at the heart of the Buddha's teaching.


Notice (awareness) when you're suffering/stressed.

Can you see where your acceptance can start to diffuse it?


From Wikipedia:

In Buddhism, the Four Noble Truths are "the truths of the Noble Ones", the truths or realities for the "spiritually worthy ones". The truths are:

  • dukkha (suffering, incapable of satisfying, painful) is an innate characteristic of existence in the realm of samsara;

  • samudaya (origin, arising, combination; 'cause'): together with dukkha arises taṇhā ("craving, desire or attachment, lit. "thirst"). [M: emotional reactions/wanting]

  • nirodha (cessation, ending, confinement): dukkha [suffering] can be ended or contained by the renouncement or letting go of this taṇhā [wanting]; [M: there is a way out of suffering];

  • magga (path, Noble Eightfold Path) is the path leading to the confinement of tanha [wanting] and dukkha [suffering]. [M: this is the practice.]

The four truths are traditionally identified as the first teaching given by the Buddha. While often called one of the most important teachings in Buddhism, they have both a symbolic and a propositional function.

Symbolically, they represent the awakening and liberation of the Buddha, and of the potential for his followers to reach the same spiritual experience as him.

As propositions, the Four Truths provide a conceptual framework for introducing and explaining Buddhist thought, which has to be personally understood or "experienced".

As a proposition, the four truths defy an exact definition, but refer to and express the basic orientation of Buddhism: unguarded sensory contact gives rise to craving and clinging to impermanent states and things, which are dukkha, "incapable of satisfying" and painful. This craving keeps us caught in samsara, "wandering," usually interpreted as the endless cycle of repeated rebirth, and the continued dukkha that comes with it, but also referring to the endless cycle of attraction and rejection that perpetuates the ego-mind.

There is a way to end this cycle, namely by attaining nirvana, cessation of craving, whereafter rebirth and the accompanying dukkha will no longer arise again. This can be accomplished by following the eightfold path, confining our automatic responses to sensory contact by restraining oneself, cultivating discipline and wholesome states, and practicing mindfulness and dhyana (meditation).

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