Last Updated 21 Apr 2020

The Four Noble Truths in Buddhism

Category Buddhism, Truth
Essay type Research
Words 2507 (10 pages)
Views 626

There are many things that can be found in a religion. The idea of a religion is to give hope for life after death and to give peace of mind during life and a reason to live in a morally “right” way. There are so many religions in the world and so many questions that are answered within each religion. Buddha was born a prince but he continuously looked at many things that were going on outside of the palace and the lives that the commoners lived. While doing this he decided to start changing how he lived his own life.

During this time he began practicing meditation in an attempt to find a reason for his behaviors. Later he changed his name to Buddha and then he began to minister and speak to the people. Buddha spoke about a continual peace and interconnection with those who were around them (Palmer, Cooper, and Corcoran 2001, pp 1-4). One of the main foundations in the religion of Buddhism is the idea of the four noble truths. There are four noble truths in the practice of Buddhism. The four noble truths are the qualification of life.

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These truths are that there is life that is “qualified by suffering, that suffering has a cause, that there is a state beyond suffering, and that there is a path to the state” (Lopez 2001, p. 15). In the Dali Lama’s teachings on the four noble truths he talks about the general desire for all to have happiness and for them to not have suffering. He also talks about how these truths are “all encompassing” (1981 p. 1). The first noble truth is the truth that there will be suffering in life.

In his talks on the noble truths, the Dali Lama states that all people experience various types of suffering. He also divides suffering into three categories. These categories are “the suffering of suffering, the suffering of change, and the all-pervasive suffering. ” The suffering of suffering can be described as something like a headache. Some type of thing that inflicts suffering on someone and that there is no reason for the suffering and there is nothing to come from the suffering so the suffering is purely suffering.

This type of suffering is not only experienced in humans but also in animals and this type of suffering is also troublesome in animals as it is in humans and they too wish to be freed from this type of suffering. Since there is a fear of these types of suffering and a desire to eliminate the suffering there is a strong desire to find ways to end this suffering and there are many different ways that individuals can choose to end this type of suffering. This type of suffering can also be described in the types of suffering that occurs when people are found to be living in poverty or having to suffer in this way.

The Dali Lama reminds that everyone is able to tell that this type of suffering is suffering and that a relief of some sort is needed (1981, p. 1). The second type of suffering can only be described s the suffering of change. This type of suffering is something that is experienced when someone becomes “restless” and wants some type of change. There are so many things that can occur as well. The way that the Dali Lama describes this type of suffering is that “we are sitting comfortably relaxed and at first, everything seems all right, but after a while we lose that feeling and get restless and uncomfortable.

” Unlike the suffering of suffering when someone experiences the suffering of change it can ultimately come in the form of something that could have previously been thought of as great or wonderful. For instance if someone is able to begin earning money and seemingly get out of the situation of poverty as described in the previous paragraph then they might believe that life is going to be better. The disappointment that money is unable to buy happiness through things that could now be owned is what could be known as the disappointment of change (1981, p. 1). The third type of suffering is all pervasive suffering.

This type of suffering is the basis of the first two types of suffering. The Dali Lama speaks about this type of suffering as the type of suffering that contains the main principles of things like karma. This type of suffering is that there is simply suffering in life because there is suffering in human life. This is the type of suffering that causes some people to take their own lives and commit suicide and is the all pervasive suffering that these people do not feel they will ever be able to escape from. This is also what is behind the “disturbing minds” that are part of the human existence.

With this type of suffering there are many things that the follower of Buddhism can learn and learning about this type of suffering can only cause there to be a more intense and better life. The Dali Lama encourages that “killing yourself isn’t going to solve your problems” and therefore works with the followers and those for whom he is speaking to be able to better manage their feelings and not feel that the act of suicide is necessary. This is the final type of suffering for which the Dali Lama speaks about and the final type of suffering in the first noble truth which is the truth of suffering (1981, pp.

1-2). The second of the noble truths is the truth of the cause of suffering. The Dali Lama first talks about how the true Buddhists believe that “there is no external creator and that even though a Buddha is the highest being, even the Buddha does not have the power to create new life. ” Through Buddhism it is taught that the “ultimate cause” for most suffering is the mind. This is meaning that the mind has the power to control the thought process and many of the feelings that occur which are negative. These negative feelings can include many different and various forms of negative thought.

The idea behind this truth is that if one has the power to control their mind then they are able to control their thought process and by thinking fewer negative thoughts then the benefit to the person will be that they will be more enlightened and feel better overall. The Dali Lama states that one should work hard to not try to “grasp a true existence” and this is what is behind many of the negative thoughts. With the negative thoughts and the negative karma that is used. It is also thought that the negative actions that are there involved are also what is behind all negative actions.

This is the reason for which the middle way is encouraged (1981, pp. 2-3). The third of the four noble truths are that there is the truth of the cessation of suffering. The Dali Lama speaks about how there are many things that are grasped by the mind and how to train the mind to not grasp certain things will help the mind to be able to manage certain feelings and issues through this if one is able to end the “disturbing negative minds, the cause of all suffering, then we will end the suffering as well.

” This is important as it proposes that each person is in charge of ending their own suffering through being able to rid themselves of all of the negative things that are available. This truth is further taught when practicing the middle way and that by practicing the middle way one is able to end his/her suffering (1981, p. 3). The fourth of the four noble truths is the truth to the path of cessation. This is that the path to being able to find the middle way is a journey that each must take. The Dali Lama speaks of the thirty seven things that are needed to reach enlightenment.

This is the path that those who are motivated to liberate themselves from suffering. These thirty seven factors to enlightenment are through the five paths. The five paths being the “four close placements of mindfulness, the four miraculous powers, the four pure abandonments, the five powers and the five forces, the seven factors of enlightenment, and the eightfold path. ” The other way that one is to travel through the paths of the cessation of suffering was through the six “transcendent perfections. ” This way is through practicing both the methods and wisdom.

Through these types of journeys it is said that one can end all suffering and find his/her way to enlightenment (1981, p. 4). The middle way is what the Buddha taught as the end to all suffering. This middle way is the belief that there is good neither through extreme indulgence or through depravation. The middle way is the belief that there is a great way for things to be thought of for the middle of life. This is that one should live in the middle realms of things and that each person should attempt to work on how they can find the perfect “middle” life for themselves (Lopez 2001, pp.

28-29). The Eightfold Path is thought to be another way to end all suffering in the practice of Buddhism. The Eightfold Path is the overall ways that Buddha taught that one could reach enlightenment. The beginning of the Eightfold Path is understanding. There is having a knowledge and understanding of the four noble truths. The way that is described in the fourth noble truth is in itself the way of the Eightfold Path. These also include that there is a “Truth of Change” and the “Truth of No Self. ” The Eightfold Path is uses the understanding and acceptance.

The understanding is that one is able to do. The acceptance is that there is an overall acceptance that there are things that we could not change (MacPhillamy 2001, pp. 1-3). The Eightfold Path also teaches that there needs to be a place of thought. This place of thought is where one is able to introvert into his/her mind and is able to therefore create and control the thoughts that he/she has. In his article on the Eightfold Path, MacPhillamy is talking about the things that can keep one from being able to reach enlightenment.

These things being that there are “little lies, deceptions and fantasies that we tell ourselves inside our heads all day long. ” Thus meaning that the things that one might tell him/herself in order to be able to manage their feelings are really one of the biggest things that will keep them from enlightenment (2001, p. 3). The next three parts of the Eightfold Path are speech, action and livelihood and they form their own group. With these things it is overall the process of changing them to where their main focus is on inner peace.

By acting right and in the moral manner for these things can change the overall issues. There are also “Three Treasures Precepts. ” These are that “I take refuge in the Buddha. I take refuge in the Dharma. I take refuge in the Sangha. ” These are all things that are a part of the unified way of life that includes these three things if they are not all included then it is impossible for one to be able to stand on the issues within him/herself. There are also the “Three Pure Precepts. ” These are that “I will cease from evil. I will do only good. I will do good for others.

” The idea behind these three things is that if we continue to do these three things then our lives will be easier and there can be a reassurance and knowledge that all is well through these things (MacPhillamy 2001, pp. 3-6). The next part of the Eightfold Path are the “Ten Great Precepts. ” These precepts are: “I will refrain from killing. I will refrain from stealing. I will refrain from abusing sexuality. I will refrain from speaking untruthfully. I will refrain from selling the wine of delusion. I will refrain from speaking against others.

I will refrain from being proud of myself and belittling others. I will refrain from holding back in giving either Dharma or wealth. I will refrain from indulging anger. I will refrain from defaming the Three Treasures. ” There are also the forty eight less grave precepts that should be followed however the top ones have been listed. The next parts of the Eightfold Path are the ideas of effort, mindfulness, and mediation. With the idea of mindfulness there are some things to keep in mind. With mindfulness it is necessary to “Do one thing at a time. Pay full attention to what you are doing.

When your mind wanders to something else, bring it back. Repeat step number three a few hundred thousand times. And, when your mind keeps wandering to the same thing over and over again, stop for a minute and pay ‘attention’ to the distraction ‘: maybe it is trying to tell you something. ” Pure meditation is required in being able to maintain ones beliefs and the issues of one being able to manage his/her overall journey through the Eightfold Path (MacPhillamy 2001, pp. 6-15). Also when studying the four noble truths it is essential to study the overall experience and belief in Nirvana.

The idea of Nirvana is the idea of “absolute truth” (Lebiniz 1999, p. 4). Nirvana can also be described as the overall goal for one who is practicing the four noble truths as the idea of Nirvana is a place where there is an end to all suffering and end of all other types of frustration and other problems (Buddhism… p. 1). Being able to know that Nirvana is achievable and being able to believe in that is the faith that many Buddhists need in order to be able to manage how things are going and to be able to encourage appropriate actions from others and within themselves.

Being able to reach a state where there is no pain and no suffering is a dream come true to many. This is in the end the way that happiness can be achieved. In studying the four noble truths of Buddhism many different parts of the religions and beliefs of Buddhism need to be followed and understood and in the end reaching the point of Nirvana or the end of all suffering will help others to be able to be more motivated.

These overall steps to reaching enlightenment were formed by the Buddha from his own experiences in “awakening” what he was to become (Eckel 89). References Buddhism: The Search for Enlightenmentl, Retrieved on 26 April 2009 from http://plaza. ufl. edu/cp9470r/project2/beliefs. html Dali Lama 1981, The Four Noble Truths, Retrieved on 27 April 2009 from http://www. lamayeshe. com/index. php? sect=article&id=380 Eckel, MD 2002, Buddhism, 1st ed, Oxford University Press, New York, NY. Lebiniz 1999. Buddha-Buddhism Religion, Retrieved on 26 April from

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The Four Noble Truths in Buddhism. (2016, Jul 08). Retrieved from https://phdessay.com/the-four-noble-truths-in-buddhism/

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