The Four Noble Truths are the first teaching of Gautama Buddha after attaining Nirvana. They are considered the essence of the Buddha’s teachings.
“There are these three forms of stressfulness, my friend: the stressfulness of pain, the stressfulness of fabrication, the stressfulness of change. These are the three forms of stressfulness.”
Four Noble Truths
- Suffering exists
- Suffering arises from attachment to desires
- Suffering ceases when attachment to desire ceases
- Freedom from suffering is possible by practicing the Eightfold Path
Life is ultimately suffering/uneasiness.
To live is suffer. The human nature is not perfect and neither is our world. During our lives, we all endure physical suffering: pain, sickness, injury, tiredness, old age, and eventually death. We all must endure psychological suffering: sadness, fear, frustration, disappointment, and depression.
Despite all the degrees of suffering and there are positive experiences in life. We perceive these as the opposite of suffering: ease, comfort and happiness.
Suffering is caused by craving and desire.
Life is imperfect and incomplete, because our world is subject to impermanence. We are never able to keep what we desire forever and we indulge our attachment to transient things: physical objects that surround us, phenomena we consider the cause of happiness or unhappiness, our ideas and concepts, as well as our entire perception or sense of existence.
Since objects of our attachment are transient, their loss is inevitable, as is the suffering that follows. Objects of attachment include the idea of a “self” which is a delusion. There is no abiding self and what we title “self” is merely an imagined entity. In actuality, we are a part of the ceaseless becoming of the universe.
Suffering ends when craving ends.
Suffering can be overcome through human activity, simply by removing the cause of suffering. This is achieved by eliminating our delusion; unmaking of sensual craving and conceptual attachment.
Attaining and perfecting dispassion is a tiered process, ultimately resulting in the state of Nirvana. Nirvana means freedom from all worries, troubles, complexes, fabrications and ideas.
Freedom from suffering is attained by adhering to the Noble Path
Reaching this liberated state is achieved by following the Eightfold path laid out by the Buddha. It is a gradual path of self-improvement, producing vision, producing knowledge — leading to calm, to direct knowledge, to self-awakening, to Unbinding. It is a middle-ground between the extremes of excessive self-indulgence (hedonism) and excessive self-mortification (asceticism).