Four Noble Truths of Buddhism

I’ve been very impressed by the ‘truth’ of the four noble truths.  In my own way I’ve found extreme comfort in the ideas contained within.  Any situation can be at least looked at from another perspective such that it does not cause pain.  There are obviously some more difficult to overcome.  The whole of Buddhism as a religion exists under the concept that at least one human has reached the end of the eight fold path.

The Four Noble Truths

Life is dukkha.

Dukkha is caused by tanha.

Tanha has a cure.

The eight fold path is the cure for tanha.

Most often translated:

Life is suffering

Suffering is caused by desire

desire has a cure

desire is cured by the eight fold path

Life is dukkha has been translated most often as ‘life is suffering’.  This works well but does not capture the concept of it being fixed in its natural state.  For this reason it is best translated as ‘life is out of joint.’

Dukkha is caused by tanha or that ‘life is out of joint’ is caused by tanha.  This is most often translated as ‘suffering is caused by desire.’  Dukkha is caused by self seeking desire or private desire is perhaps a better translation.  For compassion is often proclaimed as a desire to be cultivated.

Tanha or self seeking can be cured.

The eight fold path is the cure for tanha.  Following the prescription of the eight fold path  removes self centeredness from their life.

These views are meant to turn your attention away from yourself.  To turn to others for no other reason then to decrease their suffering is the same as reducing your own suffering.

A lot of people who hear these ideas and think about the philosophical repercussions are perplexed.  I think most of this results because people so often walk away understanding that to cure suffering one must not desire.  How do you stop desiring? So many see that desire brings as much suffering as it does happiness how can one choose to have neither.

In a way the prescription to stop desiring could be considered under utilitarian rules of aggregation.  Almost utopian in its nature, the cessation of non-utilitarian desires, those desires that benefit all or harm none are conducive to non suffering of all.

The four noble truths when taken as true can be the difference between accepting life and its happenings vs. fighting the events of life, something that the four noble truths understand as essentially impossible.


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