The Four Noble Truths are principles that explain suffering and the path to liberation. It is to be the four quintessential principles in Buddhist teachings.
If you take the time to learn about the Four Noble Truths, you will understand better than other Buddhist teachings and understand life and what is going on.
You will take a long time to grasp the Four Noble Truths. But first, let’s learn about the truth about suffering according to the Buddha’s words.
What Are The Four Noble Truths?
The Four Noble Truths are the principles related to suffering and Buddha’s way of life. According to some accounts, the Buddha realized these truths while meditating under the bodhi tree.
The earliest written records of the Four Noble Truths date back about 2,500 years. In it, the Buddha taught about the suffering origin and cessation.
In the first two teachings, the Buddha pointed out the suffering problem and the cause. And the following two teachings are the cure and the way to free people from suffering. Among them, the fourth truth is the Noble Eightfold Path, one of the quintessential teachings in Buddhism.
1. Truth of Suffering (Dukkha)
The Buddha defined life as “Dukkha.” In Pali, this phrase means “suffering.”
However, some scholars say the phrase means “the inability to satisfy” or “the inability to endure anything.”
So, human life is covered with suffering if the first truth is understood. The three most significant categories people face are old age, sickness, and death.
However, if understood more profoundly, suffering comes from the fact that people do not have the life they expect.
Human joy does not last. Meanwhile, the desires and cravings that make people suffer always exist. This first teaching of the Buddha can make those who know it for the first time feel pessimistic.
However, this teaching reflects reality. The Buddha’s teachings point out suffering in life and reveal the right way to end these negative things.
2. Truth of the Cause of Suffering (Samudāya)
Following the first truth, the second truth points out the cause of human life’s suffering: greed and lust.
In the earliest writings concerning the Four Noble Truths, Samudāya is replaced by Tanha. Its exact meaning is aspiration and craving. Three basic desires/cravings, three evil roots, are greed, delusion, and hatred, respectively.
The first cause of suffering is greed and lust, represented by the rooster. The illusion that causes people suffering is a pig. Finally, snakes symbolize hatred and destruction, one of the causes of primary suffering.
People are always looking for outside things to amuse themselves. However, even the most successful people are always dissatisfied with reality. It is the truth that the Buddha wanted to convey through this second truth.
Tanha or Samudāya is the word used for wrong desires. Those who understand Buddhism can ultimately have positive desires, such as aiming for enlightenment and wishing the best for others. These wishes will be collective as Chanda instead of Tanha.
3. Truth of the End of Suffering (Nirodha)
The Third Truth is the Buddha’s teaching to extinguish and liberate from suffering. The state of being free from painful desires or negative emotions and fears is called Nirvana.
Humans can only end suffering without greed, hatred, and delusion when they have an enlightened mind. Buddhists at this time clearly understand “emptiness” and avoid confusion and wrongdoing.
Not everyone can achieve absolute enlightenment. Yet, people can still achieve different levels. In other words, Nirvana is when people reach enlightenment at the highest level, extinguishing greed, lust, and envy.
In Buddhism, those who reach the nirvana state are liberated from the samsara cycle. However, the Buddha did not encourage Buddhists to care too much about Nirvana. What he wants is to free people from suffering through enlightenment.
4. Truth of the Path (Magga)
These truths will only be theoretical if there is no way to liberation. The final fact relates to the eight principles that are the solution for people to end suffering.
An eight-spoked wheel symbolizes the Eightfold path. Practicing the Noble Eightfold Path, one doesn’t indulge but doesn’t have to endure harsh austerities.
This Noble Eightfold Path needs to work together to support each other.
Right View – Sammā ditthi
People need to understand the Buddhist teachings on karma and rebirth.
The Buddha didn’t want Buddhists to blindly believe in the path to liberation from the world blindly. He wants Buddhists to appreciate its validity.
Right Thought- Sammā san̄kappa
People need to get out of an environment of regret and harm to meditate on suffering, not self and impermanence.
Right Speech – Sammā vācā
People must practice proper speech regularly by always speaking the truth, not slandering and slandering.
Right Action – Sammā karmanta
It is harmonious conduct without killing, stealing, frivolous indulgence, and sensual pleasures.
Right Livelihood – Sammā ājīva
It will help if you abstain from harming people and animals, like killing animals, trafficking harmful substances, and exploiting people.
Right Effort – Sammā vāyāma
It would help if you always stayed positive. In addition, it does not think about evil actions and prevents these actions from arising.
Mindfulness – Sammā sati
Take time to reflect and think about your body, emotions, and mind.
Right Concentration – Sammā samādhi
Meditation can help you focus on a particular object. Also, it helps to keep the human mind steady and clear.
Understanding The Truth Takes Time
The Four Noble Truths are seemingly simple truths that are difficult to understand clearly. Only some people who come in contact with these facts for the first time can fully understand them.
It may take many years to understand the truths and reach enlightenment fully.
The Four Noble Truths, including the Eightfold Path, allow people to free themselves from suffering. According to the Buddha’s teachings, the Eightfold path is only a means for people to become enlightened.
It is like a boat crossing a river; when you have reached the other shore, you can leave it for others. Yet, the journey to enlightenment is fraught with difficulties.
People may have to spend their whole lives mulling over the Four Noble Truths. Thank you for reading!