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22 Vows Acknowledgement  | Buddhism  DedicationDr Ambedkar Movie  |  Education

THE FOUR NOBLE TRUTHS

 

Once there was a woman named Kisagotami, whose first-born son died. She was so stricken with grief that she roamed the streets carrying the dead body and asking for help to bring her son back to life. A kind and wise man took her to the Buddha.

The Buddha told her, "Fetch me a handful of mustard seeds and I will bring your child back to life." Joyfully Kisagotami started off to get them. Then the Buddha added, "But the seeds must come from a family that has not known death."

Kisagotami went from door to door in the whole village asking for the mustard seeds, but everyone said, "Oh, there have been many deaths here", "I lost my father", I lost my sister". She could not find a single household that had not been visited by death. Finally Kisagotami returned to the Buddha and said, "There is death in every family. Everyone dies. Now I understand your teaching."

The Buddha said, "No one can escape death and unhappiness. If people expect only happiness in life, they will be disappointed."  The Buddha mentioned the four noble truths:-

The Buddha taught that life was dissatisfactory because of craving, but that this condition was curable by following the eightfold path. This teaching is called the four noble truths:

  1. There is Suffering or Sorrow - Dukkha  -All worldly life is unsatisfactory, disjointed, containing suffering.  Suffering is common to all.

  2. There is a cause for Suffering -Tanha  -The cause for suffering, which is attachment or desire (tanha) rooted in ignorance. We are the cause of our suffering.

  3. There can be end to the Suffering -Nibbana  -There is an end of suffering, which is Nirvana. We can stop doing what causes suffering.

  4. The path to end Suffering - Marga Everyone can be enlightened. There is a path that leads out of suffering, known as the Noble Eightfold Path.

Now we can analyze the four noble truths in detail:-

1.         There is suffering - Dukkha

  • This first truth of suffering which depends on this so-called being and various aspects of life, is to be carefully analyzed and examined. This examination lead to a proper understanding of oneself as one really is. 

  • Suffering: Everyone suffers from these thing
    -    Birth- When we are born, we cry.
    -    Sickness- When we are sick, we are miserable.
    -    Old age- When old, we will have ache and pains and find it hard to get around.
    -    Death- None of us wants to die. We feel deep sorrow when someone dies.  

  •          Other things we suffer from are:
    -    Being with those we dislike,
    -    Being apart from those we love,
    -    Not getting what we want,
    -    All kinds of problems and disappointments that are unavoidable.  

  • The Buddha did not deny that there is happiness in life, but he pointed out it does not last forever. Eventually everyone meets with some kind of suffering. He said:

"There is happiness in life,
happiness in friendship,
happiness of a family,
happiness in a healthy body and mind,
...but when one loses them, there is suffering."
                                              Dhammapada

  1. The cause for suffering - Tanha
     

The cause of this suffering is carving or attachment. This carving is a powerful mental force latent in all, and is the chief cause of most of the ills of life. It is this carving, gross or subtle, that leads to repeated births in this world and makes one cling to all forms of life.

The Buddha explained that people live in a sea of suffering because of ignorance and greed. They are ignorant of the law of karma and are greedy for the wrong kind of pleasures. They do things that are harmful to their bodies and peace of mind, so they can not be satisfied or enjoy life.

For example, once children have had a taste of candy, they want more. When they can't have it, they get upset. Even if children get all the candy they want, they soon get tired of it and want something else. Although, they get a stomach-ache from eating too much candy, they still want more. The things people want most cause them the most suffering. Of course, there are basic things that all people should have, like adequate food, shelter, and clothing. Everyone deserve a good home, loving parents, and good friends. They should enjoy life and cherish their possessions without becoming greedy.

  1. The end of suffering  - Nirvana ( also called as Nibbana)
     

Both suffering and carving can only be eradicated by the following the Middle Path, enunciated by Buddha himself, and attaining the supreme Bliss of Nibbana, the ultimate goal of Buddhists. It is achieved by the total eradication of all forms of carving. This Nibbana is to be comprehended by the mental eye by renouncing all internal attachment to the external world. In some of the Buddhist countries Buddhist people pronounce Nirvana as Nibbana).

To end suffering, one must cut off greed and ignorance. This means changing one's views and living in a more natural and peaceful way. It is like blowing out a candle. The flame of suffering is put out for good. Buddhists call the state in which all suffering is ended Nirvana. Nirvana is an everlasting state of great joy and peace. The Buddha said, "The extinction of desire is Nirvana." This is the ultimate goal in Buddhism. Everyone can realize it with the help of the Buddha's teachings. It can be experienced in this very life.

  1. The path to the end of suffering - Marga: The path to end suffering is known as the Noble Eightfold Path. It is also known as the Middle Way.

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