His first sermon to the five ascetics in the Deer Park near
Varanasi, the Buddha spoke of the Four Noble Truths. The Four
Noble Truths of buddha and Eight Fold Path summed up, in a systematic
formula, are the central teaching of the Buddha.
NOBLE TRUTHS OF BUDDHA
Truth of Suffering
Truth of the Cause of Suffering
Truth of the End of Suffering
Truth of the Path leading to the End of Suffering
Truth of Suffering
Buddha's discovery of the solution to the problem of suffering
began with the recognition that life is suffering. This is the
first of the Four Noble Truths. If people examine their own experiences
or look at the world around them, they will see that life is full
of suffering. Suffering may be Physical or Mental
suffering takes many forms. People must have observed at one time
or another, how their aged relatives suffer. Most of these aged
suffer aches and pains in their joints and many find it hard to
move about by themselves. With advancing age, the elderly find
life difficult because they cannot see, hear or eat properly.
The pain of disease, which strikes young and old alike, is unbearable,
and the pain of death brings much grief and suffering. Even the
moment of birth gives pain both to the mother and the child that
truth is that suffering of birth, old age, sickness and death
are unavoidable. Some fortunate people may now be enjoying relatively
happy and carefree lives, but it is only a matter of time before
they , too, will experience suffering. What is worse, this suffering
must be borne alone
physical suffering, there are also various forms of mental suffering.
People feel sad, lonely or depressed when they lose someone they
love through separation or death. They feel irritated or uncomfortable
when they are forced to be company of those whom they dislike
or those who are unpleasant. People also suffer when they unable
to satisfy their limitless needs and wants.
the Buddha said that there is suffering in life, He did not deny
that there is happiness also. On the contrary, He spoke of various
kinds of happiness, such as the happiness of friendship, the happiness
of family life, and so on. But all these kinds of happiness are
impermanent and when one loses them, one suffers. For example,
one may like a pleasant and charming person and enjoy his or her
company. But when one is separated from that person, the happiness
turns into suffering. One suffers because of one's attachment
to pleasures that do not last.
often remain unaware of the inevitable sufferings of life because
they are distracted by temporary pleasures.
The Buddha had observed that life is suffering. Before He Could
find a solution to the problem of suffering in life, He had first
to look for the cause of suffering. The Buddha was just like a
good doctor who first observes a patient's symptoms and identifies
the cause of the illness before prescribing a cure. The Buddha
discovered that the direct causes of suffering are desire or craving,
and ignorance. This is the truth of the cause of suffering, which
is the Second Noble Truth.
is the deep-seated desire that all living beings have for the
pleasures of the senses, and for life itself. For instance, people
always seek to enjoy good food, entertainment and pleasant company.
Yet none of these can give them complete and lasting satisfaction.
After the fine meal has been eaten , the beautiful music heard
and the pleasant company shared, one is still not content. One
would like to enjoy these pleasures again and again, and for as
long as possible.
who desire to own many things can never be fully satisfied too.
Like children in a toy shop, they crave for all the attractive
things they see around them. But like children too, they soon
become dissatisfied with what they already have and desire for
more. Sometimes, they can hardly eat or sleep until they get what
they want. Yet when they succeeded in getting what they want,
they may still find their happiness short-lived. Many will be
too worried for the safety and condition of their new possessions
to enjoy it. Then when the object they possess eventually breaks
into pieces and has to be thrown away, they will suffer its loss
we have obtained something that we desire, we may want more and
more of it, and so greed arises. Because of desire and greed,
people will lie, cheat and steal to get what they want. Uncontrolled
desires can also lead to addiction, for example, to smoking, drinking
and overeating, all of which lead to suffering and cause mental
and physical harm.
one is prevented by another person from getting what one desires,
one may feel anger with that person. Desire when obstructed can
lead to illwill and anger. This in turn can lead to harsh words,
violent quarrels and even fights or killings. All this is suffering.
or desire is like a great tree having many branches. There are
branches of greed, of ill will and of anger. The fruit of this
tree is suffering, but how does the tree of craving arise ? Where
does it grow ? The answer is that the tree of craving is rooted
in ignorance. It grows out of ignorance.
is the inability to see the truth about things, to see things
as they really are. There are many truths about the world which
people are ignorant of because of the limitations of their understanding.
has shown, for instance, that there are sounds that people are
unable to hear and waves of light which they are unable to see.
People would be totally unaware of radio waves, or ultraviolet
light rays if special instruments had not been developed to enable
them to observe these things. So long as people remain ignorant
of things about the world in which they live, they suffer from
all kinds of misunderstandings and delusions.
people develop their minds and acquire wisdom through study, careful
thought and meditation they will see the Truth. They will see
things as they really are They will understand the suffering and
impermanence of life, the Law of Cause and Effect and the Four
Noble Truths. By overcoming craving and ignorance, they will attain
happiness and Enlightenment just as the Buddha did about 2500
Buddha's realization of the end of suffering and his attainment
of Nirvana at the age of thirty-five, crowed his search for Truth
with success. For six years, the Bodhisattva had spared no effort
to find a solution to the problems of suffering. He had tried
the principal method of ending suffering and had found them wanting.
Eventually he found his own solution to the problems of life.
in the Buddha's Teaching
realized the Truth through his own efforts, the Buddha offered
it to all who ready to listen.
is an old story of a turtle and a fish. The turtle lived on land
as well as in the water while the fish only lived in the water.
One day, when the turtle had returned from a visit to the land,
he told the fish of his experiences. He explained that creatures
walked rather than swam. The fish refused to believe that dry
land really existed because that was something beyond his own
experience. In the same way, people may not have experienced the
end of suffering, but it does not mean that the end of suffering
is not possible.
must have confidence in an experienced doctor, otherwise he will
never take the medicine that the doctor has prescribed him and
will not cured of his sickness. Similarly, people must have confidence
in the Teaching of the Buddha, who has shown that end of suffering
is really possible.
of the End of Suffering
end of suffering is the final goal of the Buddha's Teaching. It
can be experienced by anyone here and now. For example, when greed
and anger arise in one's mind, one experiences unhappiness and
when thoughts of greed and anger cease, one's mind becomes happy
and peaceful. To end suffering completely, one must remove desire,
ill will and ignorance. This is the Third Noble Truth of the End
Buddha taught that the end of suffering is supreme happiness.
Every step towards the end of suffering is accompanied by ever-increasing
joy. Those who follow the Teaching of the Buddha live happily
without greed among those who are overwhelmed by desire. They
live happily without anger among those who harbour ill will. The
more people free themselves from desire, ill will and ignorance,
the greater will be their happiness. When they have completely
overcome desire, ill will and ignorance, they will know the supreme
happiness as experienced by the Buddha.
putting the Buddha's Teaching into practice, people too can achieve
supreme Enlightenment. Enlightenment has countless qualities,
of which perfect wisdom and great compassion are the most important.
Through perfect wisdom, the great compassion, He is able to help
countless beings to overcome their suffering.
Nirvana for Oneself
end of suffering has been described as supreme happiness and Enlightenment.
However, these terms do not fully express the real nature of the
end of suffering, or Nirvana. Nirvana cannot be exactly put into
words. Attempting to describe Nirvana is like saying that a mango
is sweet, and that it is not like banana or an apple. One has
to eat a mango in order to know for oneself what the taste is
really like. Similarly Nirvana has to experienced for oneself.
Therefore, if people have confidence in the Buddha's Teaching
and put into practice, they can achieve happiness peace and Enlightenment.
a youth, Prince Siddhartha enjoyed the indulgent life of pleasure
in his father's palace. Later, when he renounced the worldly
life and become an ascetic, he experienced the hardship of torturing
his mind and body. Finally, not long before attaining Enlightenment,
he realized the fruitlessness of these two extreme ways of life.
He realized that the way to happiness and Enlightenment was
to lead a life that avoids these extremes. He described this
life as the Middle Path. These three ways of life may be compared
to the the strings of different tensions on a lute. The loose
string, which is like a life of indulgence, produces a poor
sound when struck. The overly tight string, which is like a
life of extreme asceticism, similarly produces a poor sound
when struck and is moreover, likely to break at any moment.
Only the middle string which is neither too loose nor too tight,
and is like the Middle Path, produces a pleasant and harmonious
sound when stuck. So these who follow the Middle Path which
avoid the extreme of indulging one's desires and opposite extreme
of torturing one's mind and body unreasonably, will find happiness,
peace of mind and Enlightenment. This is the Fourth Noble Truth
of the path leading to the end of suffering.
EIGHTFOLD PATH TO THE CESSATION OF SUFFERING
Right Understanding of the following facts:
truth about suffering ... (The Four Truths);
is impermanent and changes;
is no separate individual self- this is an illusion. (We are
Right Determination to:
up what is wrong and evil;
what is good;
thoughts that have to do with bringing suffering to any conscious
being; cultivate thoughts that are of loving kindness, that
are based on caring for others' suffering, and sympathetic joy
in others' happiness.
3. Right Speech:
from telling lies.
from talk that brings harm or discredit to others (such as backbiting
or slander) or talk that creates hatred or disharmony between
individuals and groups.
from harsh, rude, impolite, malicious, or abusive language.
from idle, useless, and foolish babble and gossip. Abstain from
recrimination and negative statements.
from harsh speechpractice kindly speech.
from frivolous speechpractice meaningful speech.
from slanderous speechpractice harmonious speech.
the truth if it is useful and timely. Practice only necessary
speech. Let your speech be filled with loving kindness. Speak
that which alleviates suffering.
4. Right Action:
honorable conduct; abstain from dishonest dealings; take concrete
steps necessary to foster what is good.
things that are moral, honest, and alleviate suffering. Do not
do things that will bring suffering to others or yourself.
5. Right Livelihood:
from making your living from an occupation that brings harm
and suffering to humans or animals, or diminish their well being.
This includes: activities that directly harm conscious beings,
and activities that indirectly harm sentient beings, e.g., making
weapons or poisons.
6. Right Effort:
good and prevent evil;
on yourselfbe engaged in appropriate self-improvement.
The essence of right effort is that everything must be done
with a sense of proper balance that fits the situation. Effort
should be properly balanced between trying too hard and not
trying hard enough. For example, strike the balance between
excessive fasting and over-indulgence in food. Trying hard to
progress too rapidly gets poor results, as does not trying hard
7. Right Mindfulness or wakefulness:
whatever clouds our mental awareness (e.g., drugs).
and intentionally develop awareness.
8. Right Concentration:
by practicing meditation and/or mental focusing. Proper meditation
must be done continuously while awake, and should include work
on awareness of body, emotions, thought, and mind objects.
you are aware of books, movies, databases, web sites or other
information sources about Buddha or related subjects, or if you
would like to comment please send us email