Four Noble Truths
The Four Noble Truths of Buddhism are stated in simple terms as:
- Suffering exists
- Suffering arises from attachment to desires
- Suffering ceases when attachment to desire ceases
- Freedom from suffering is possible by practicing the Eightfold Path
I. Suffering exists
The viewpoint is that life consists of suffering and dissatisfaction. This suffering is called dukkha.
Human nature is imperfect, as is the world you live in. During your lifetime, you inevitably have to endure physical suffering such as pain, sickness, injury, tiredness, old age, and eventually death. This is especially true for poor people.
This means you are never able to keep permanently what you strive for. Happy moments pass by, and soon you will too.
II. Suffering arises from attachment to desires
The cause of suffering is called samudaya or tanha. It is the desire to have and control things, such as craving of sensual pleasures. For example, if you desire fame and fortune, you will surely suffer disappointment and perhaps even cause suffering for others.
Attachment to material things creates suffering because attachments are transient and loss is inevitable. Thus suffering will necessarily follow.
III. Suffering ceases when attachment to desire ceases
The end to suffering is called nirodha. It is achieving Nirvana, which is the final liberation of suffering. The mind experiences complete freedom, liberation and non-attachment. It lets go of any desire or craving. It is attaining dispassion.
Nirvana means freedom from all worries, troubles and ideas. It is not comprehensible for those who have not attained it.
IV. Freedom from suffering is possible by practicing the Eightfold Path
In order to end suffering, you must follow the Eightfold Path. This liberation from suffering is what many people mean when they use the word “enlightenment.”
The path to the end of suffering is gradually seeking self-improvement through the eight elements. The path to the end of suffering can extend over many lifetimes, throughout which every individual rebirth is subject to karmic conditioning. Craving, ignorance and other effects will disappear gradually, as progress is made through each lifetime.
There are eight attitudes or paths you must follow to find freedom from suffering. These are the “right” or correct things to do in your life:
- Right view
- Right intention
- Right speech
- Right action
- Right livelihood
- Right effort
- Right mindfulness
- Right concentration
This is the way to reach Nirvana.
|Three Qualities||Eightfold Path|
|Wisdom (panna)||Right View|
|Morality (sila)||Right Speech|
|Meditation (samadhi)||Right Effort|
Three Characteristics of Existence
1. Transiency (anicca)
2. Sorrow (dukkha)
3. Selflessness (anatta)
Unwholesome mental states that impede progress towards enlightenment.
1. Sensuous lust
2. Aversion and ill will
3. Sloth and torpor
4. Restlessness and worry
5. Sceptical doubt
Factors of Enlightenment
What we are made up of…
The five aggregates (skandhas) are
Form (rupa) is made up of
Feeling (vedana) is one of
Feelings arise when there is contact between the six internal organs and the six external objects.
|Internal Organ||External Object|
Perception (samjna) a is related to the six external objects
Volition (samskara) is the response of the will to the six external objects
Consciousness (vijnana) grasps the characteristics of the six external objects
- Visual consciousness
- Auditory consciousness
- Olfactory consciousness
- Gustatory consciousness
- Tactile consciousness
- Mental consciousness
Things that slow us down and restrict our freedom
- Clinging to Ritual
- Sensuous Lust
- Ill Will
- Greed for Fine Material Existence
- Greed for Immaterial Existence
Friends on the way to freedom
The boundless states or brahmaviharas are considered friends on the way to Nirvana. They help in dissolving the idea of a separate self.
- Loving kindness
- Sympathetic Joy
Near enemy is a quality that can masquerade as the original, but is not the original. Far enemy is the clearly opposite quality. The boundless state serves as an antidote for the quality mentioned as the far enemy.
|Pali||English||Description||Near Enemy||Far Enemy|
|metta||loving kindness||good-will, friendship, unconditional love for all beings||selfish love||hatred|
|karuna||compassion||empathy, to feel with someone instead of for someone||pity||cruelty|
|mudita||sympathetic joy||spontaneous joy in response to others success||hypocrisy||envy|
|upekkha||equanimity||even-mindedness based on insight into the nature of things||indifference||anxiety|
Qualities that need to be perfected
The ten perfections (paramis) are
- Generosity (dana)
- Morality (sila)
- Renunciation (nekkhamma)
- Wisdom (panna)
- Energy (viriya)
- Patience (khanti)
- Truthfulness (sacca)
- Resolution (adhitthana)
- Loving-Kindness (metta)
- Equanimity (upekkha)