Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Four Noble Truths

Now for my bit on the Four Noble Truths .

The Buddha said that life is suffering. To many that sounds like a very pessimistic view but to overcome this suffering Buddha gave us the Four Noble Truths. The Truths define suffering, where it came from and how to overcome it and become enlightened.
Let's start off by defining the Four Noble Truths.

1. The Nature of Suffering. Birth, death, aging, illness, pain, having what is displeasing, seperation from what is pleasing; all these and more are suffering.

2. The Origin of Suffering. Suffering comes from craving. Wanting what we cannot have, wanting what we have to last longer, that leads to suffering.

3. The Cessation of Suffering. By ending the cravings, we end the suffering and the endless cycle of rebirth.

4. The Way Leading to the Cessation of Suffering. Shows us how to end suffering throught the Noble Eightfold Path; which is right view, right intention, right speech, right action, right livlihood, right effort, right mindfulness, right concentration.

According to the Buddha we are suffering and torment because we want things. If you step back and look, it really makes sense. How often have you gotten the advertisement for some big sale on a massive HDTV and thought how you couln't live without it, or what you could cut out in order to afford it? Or perhaps you have to work an extra job you hate in order to afford it? But if you didn't crave that extra large TV then you wouln't be stressed about all the ways you can't afford it and you could just enjoy watching your programs or spending time with friends and family. I know that many of us get caught up in having the newest and shiniest things, so much so that we have a catch phrase (keepin up with the Jones'), but in doing so we ruin ourselves. I love computers and technology and it updates and outdates itself at a blinding rate and I used to get caught up in that expensive cycle. Now I look at what I need it to do and if it does that, then I am happy with it and found that my computers can last years instead of months.

There is so much to be said about giving up craving that I could drone on for pages and probably lose any followers I accumulate, but the best example to keep in mind are the monks who dedicate themselves to Buddhism completely. They have nothing, they give up all forms of money and have to beg and barter for meals. They have nothing and want nothing, and they seem content with the world. Amazing!

I will continue my series next time with the Noble Eightfold path and how to end suffering.

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