Month: September 2016
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In prior posts I outlined the First Noble Truth “suffering”, the Second Noble Truth “Craving”, and the Third Noble Truth “ending craving and suffering”. If suffering can be overcome by ending craving, then how is this accomplished. The Fourth Noble Truth provides the answer in the form of the Eightfold Path. The Eightfold Path in its simplest form is:
In my next post we will look at Right View and what that really means.
If you read my first two posts where I wrote about the 1st Noble Truth that life includes a lot of suffering and in my next post the 2nd Noble Truth that explained the cause of suffering; you might think that Buddhism is a pretty pessimistic philosophy, but not true my friends. The 3rd Noble Truth is that suffering can be overcome and one can be happy in life. To do this we must give up the craving that causes our suffering. Giving up these cravings for more money, things, power, ego, intoxicants, and the praise of fools can lead us to a life of living in the present and true contentment.
Instead of painting a pessimistic view of life Buddhism encourages to understand that there is light at the end of the tunnel, and we do not need to suffer. In my next post I will discuss what can be done to end the craving that is the root of so much of our suffering.
If we can overcome our propensity for cravings we can trade a state called suffering for a more positive outcome called Nirvana. So Buddhism is in fact is a very optimistic philosophy that offers a path to a better state of mind.
In the first installment of this series I talked about the 1st Nobel Truth “Life is dukkha” or translated into English as life is suffering. The 2nd Nobel Truth is that the cause of suffering is tanha. Tanha can be loosely translated as desire, but more specifically it is not all desires. For instance it is perfectly good and right to desire peace, enlightenment, compassion, and the feeling of being grateful. Instead the desire that I am referring to could best be categorized as a search for self fulfillment in the forms of ego, acquiring more things, and feeling superior to everyone else. Anything that the mind uses to cause a separateness from the rest of humanity, often at the expense of others. So it is this selfish desire to separate ourselves from the rest of humanity that causes suffering. Some everyday examples might include:
- A desire for more material things, a bigger house, a more expensive car, and any other material thing you can think of that you think will satisfy your desire.
- The constant desire for more wealth focused on a selfish need to help fuel your desire for more material things.
- The desire to be better than everyone else, or to think you are superior to your fellow man or women.
- The desire to critique everything and everyone. To find fault in the character and achievements of others.
- The desire to use your position in life as some form of power to control others.
These are just a few examples of the unhealthy desires we pursue that are no more than selfish cravings as they are focused on satisfying no one but ourselves.
In my next installment will we will look at the 3rd Nobel Truth, which begins to shed some insight into the cure.
Much of what I have written about comes from the principles outlined in the book “Buddhism a Concise Introduction”, which can be purchased at Amazon for a modest price.
This is the first in a number of posts on Buddhism. When I mention that life is dukkha the first meaning is that everyone will encounter suffering in their life at one time or another. This is referred to as the first Nobel Truth. This suffering is the result of pain we all experience in our lives. There are 6 primary conditions in life that we all experience:
- The trauma of birth – Many Psychoanalysts attribute anxiety to the trauma that you go through when born.
- The pathology of sickness – We all will experience sickness and various illnesses over the course of our lifetime.
- The morbidity of decrepitude – The great vitality of our youth later turns to worry and fear of aging.
- The phobia of death – As we age we begin to worry about dying, this is one of our greatest fears as it is most certain.
- To be tied to what one dislikes – This could be many things such as a job, a relationship, an illness.
- To be separated from what one loves – This separation again can come in many forms, but it an inevitable burden we must deal with.
As much as we try to avoid the pain and suffering of life, it is inescapable unless we train our minds by understanding the Four Noble Truths and the path to follow that can alleviate the suffering.
In my next post I will talk about the 2nd Noble Truth which points to the cause of dukkha.
If you would like to learn more please read “Buddhism a Concise Introduction”.
You can purchase this book at Amazon by clicking on the link below: