Wat  Buddharatanaram

The Four Noble Truths

We can experience these truths, which lie at the heart of the Buddha's   teachings, through direct experience. They can be viewed as 
  (1) Diagnosis of an illness; 
  (2) Prognosis; 
  (3) Recovery; and 
  (4) Medicine to cure the disease. 

The first 2 truths deal with the way   things are; the last 2 point the way to freedom from suffering. 
  
 1. The Noble Truth of Suffering
 Besides "suffering," other translations of the Pali word dukkha include unsatisfactoriness, dis-  ease, and instability. All these words   point to the fact that no conditioned phenomenon can  provide true   (lasting) happiness in our lives. The first step in a spiritual life is to look very closely and honestly at our experience of life and see that   there is suffering. We tend  to overlook or ignore or just blindly react to   the unpleasant, so it continually haunts us. Yet  although physical   suffering is a natural aspect of our lives, we can learn to transcend   mental  suffering. 

  2. The Noble Truth of the Cause of Suffering
 Through a lack of understanding of how things truely exist, we  create and recreate an
 independent self entity called "me."  The whole of our experience in life can be viewed    through this sense   of self. In consequence,   various cravings govern our actions.  Cravings arise for sense experiences, for "being" or "becoming" (e.g. rich,   famous, loved,  respected, immortal), and to avoid the unpleasant. These cravings are the root cause of  suffering. 

  3. The Noble Truth of the Cessation of Suffering
 The mind can be purified of all the mental defilements that cause   suffering. Nibbana, the
 ultimate peace, has been compared to the   extinction of a three-fold fire of lust, ill-    will, and delusion. One who has   realised cessation has great purity of heart, ocean-like  compassion,   and penetrating wisdom. 

  4. The Noble Truth of the Way to the Cessation of Suffering
  The Way leading to cessation contains a thorough and profound  training of body, speech,   and mind. Traditionally it's outlined as the Noble Eightfold Path: 
     (1) Right Understanding; 
     (2) Right Intention; 
     (3) Right Speech; 
     (4) Right Action; 
     (5) Right Livelihood; 
     (6) Right Effort;    
     (7) Right Mindfulness; and 
     (8) Right Concentration. 


  On the level of    morality (sila), the Path entails restraint and care in speech, action, and      livelihood. The concentration (samadhi) level requires constant effort to abandon the     
   unwholesome and develop the wholesome, to increase mindfulness and clear

   comprehension of the mind-body    process, and to develop mental calm and stability.          The wisdom  (panna) level entails the abandonment of thoughts of sensuality, ill will, and      cruelty; ultimately it penetrates the true nature of    phenomena to see impermanence,        unsatisfactoriness, and   impersonality. When all 8 factors of the Path come together in        harmony to the point of maturity, suffering is transcended. In summary, the Four Noble        Truths can be thought of as that which is to be (1) comprehended, (2) abandoned, (3)          realized, and (4) developed. 


THE FOUR NOBLE TRUTHS - Dharmathai.org. (n.d.). Retrieved February, from http://www.dhammathai.org/e/dhamma/nobletruth/nobletruth.php