The four noble truths are considered to be fundamental teachings of Gautama Buddha. These truths lay groundwork on how man should view his existence in this world. Others have viewed these teachings as being too pessimistic. This is because of the focus on suffering/pain as an inextricable component of life. The four noble truths aim at recategorizing man’s experience as cause and effect, skllful and unskillful rather than me/not me and being/not being (Bikkhu, 1999). The first noble truth discusses about the nature of suffering (dukkha).
It claims that the latter is experienced through our relations with others, in aging, in birth, in death, and in illness (“Four Noble Truths,” 2007). In short, it is the case that everyone would encounter some sort of pain whether mental or physical. Gautama Buddha tells us that we must learn to know/understand as well as accept these sufferings as facts of life. The Second noble truth is centered on the origin of suffering/dukkha-samudaya. Accordingly one suffers because he/she craves, this can either be sensual, for eternal existence or for self-destruction.
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Craving (or tanha) is a corruption of one’s mind and as such ought to be avoided (“the Second Noble Truth,” 2005). There is a need for us to confront and rid ourselves of attachments, hate, and our delusions. Craving or desire can lead one to lie, cheat and steal--- in short to live a dishonest life. Inability to get one’s object of desire also leads to anger and frustration; which would be self-destructive to the individual (“The Cause of Suffering,” 2007). To be controlled by one’s desire is to remain in ignorance.
The latter is considered to be the inability to see the truth about things. In order for one to overcome this he/she must seek wisdom through meditation and study. The third noble truth is the end of suffering. This will be made possible if one is able to rid of his/her ill will, craving, and ignorance. When we are able to end suffering, we will be able to attain full/ultimate happiness. It is the case that as one is able to transcend his/her desires and consequently pain; he/she would be able to become increasingly at peace and happy.
Buddhist calls this transcending as supreme enlightenment whereas the person is able to achieve the same clarity as Buddha. The two main features of being enlightened is wisdom and great compassion (“enlightenment,” 2006). The fourth noble truth tells us how we could end suffering. Buddha teaches us that we must take the middle path in order for us to be enlightened. This goes to say that one should not live the extremes of life. One must not live in total luxury and indulgence but he/she must also not live is pure ascetism.
Both these extremes are prone to error, even the one which seeks absolute purification of one’s existence. In line with this middle path, Buddha formulates the systematic cure to suffering which is the eight fold path. The latter could be seen as “self-help” guide on how to achieve enlightenment by following different steps. I think that the teachings of Gautama Buddha with regards to the four noble truths can be applied in everyday living and modern meditation. I believe that even if one is not an official Buddhist; he/she would find meaning in these teachings.
After all if we come to take a keener look at what these truths are saying; we would realize that they can be used to make one lead a more clear and peaceful kind of life. The truths that Buddha speaks of can be used by anyone wanting to achieve clarity of the mind and wishes to lead a life free from internal and external conflicts. It is the case in order for a person to achieve this he must first recognize that he/she is prone to afflict him/her and others. She must take into consideration that the things she does in life would be for the removal of superficial cravings instead of indulging in vanity, greed, and pride.
I personally believe that we would be able to apply the teachings of Buddha in our day to day existence. The cessation of over-craving, and suffering would lead to a life of personal illumination. Overcoming these tendencies would not only aid our selves but also influence for the better our relationship with other people. Buddhism gives us a path to spirituality that manifest itself in the way we do and deal with life. References: Bhikku, A. ,(1999). The Four Noble Truths: A Study Guide. Retrieved September 14 2007, from http:// www.
accesstoinsight. org/lib/study/truths. html. (n. d. ). Four Noble Truths. Retrieved September 13, 2007, from http://buddhism. 2be. net/Four_Noble_Truths. (2005). The Second Noble Truth. In Access Insight, Retrieved September 13, 2007, from http://www. accesstoinsight. org/ptf/dhamma/sacca/sacca2/index. html. Gyatso, G. K. , (2006). Buddhism and the Four Noble Truths. in Meditate in London. Retrieved September 14, 2007, from http://www. meditateinlondon. org. uk/buddhism-the-four-noble-truths. php
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