Gautam Buddha summarised his thoughts and teachings into four noble truths, which made it easy for people and his followers to understand, and eventually they got a better understanding of life and its purpose. These truths emerge in many conventional forms in the ancient Buddhist writings, and they have both a symbolic and a propositional role. Symbolically, they express the awakening of the Buddha, and of the potential for his followers to reach the same spiritual awakening as him. As propositions, the Four Truths are a conceptual structure that emerges in the Pali Tipiṭaka (“three baskets”) and early Hybrid Sanskrit Buddhist scriptures.
When Gautam Buddha eventually got enlightenment, he envisioned this world and the common man as a lake of lotus. Some were covered in mud, some were evolving out of it and some were still striving to bloom. He realized that every soul has the potential to flourish like a flower with good insights and feelings, they just need a guide to get out of the darkness. The darkness of delusions, grief, expectations, and sorrow. These are what make a person farther from the understanding of truest knowledge and make it tough to learn the true essence of life.
After attaining enlightenment, Siddhartha Gautam first revived the five companions who were struggling for enlightenment with him. He decided to start the journey of illuminating the world from the five companions who soon befriended him in expanding his thoughts. After meeting, the Buddha told them: “Monks! I have realized the truth of the end of suffering (Nirvana), and the way to end the misery. If you learn and follow it, you will soon become knowledgeable. You must take responsibility for working to concede these things.”
At first, the five monks hesitated to take his advice and asked him many questions. But finally, they started to trust him and desired to hear his teaching. And so the Buddha gave his first teaching to the five monks at Sarnath.
Table of Contents
What are the Four Noble Truths?
- The first Noble Truth was about the fact that suffering exists.
- The second Noble Truth was about the cause of suffering.
- The third Noble Truth was that it is possible to end suffering.
- The fourth Noble Truth explained the path to be followed if you want to end suffering.
The First Noble Truth
According to Buddha, it’s the reality of life that when a person stays in this living world he at some point in time suffers. The Sufferings are not just physical but also mental. In Pali, this particular suffering is termed a Dukkha. Old age, sickness, death, etc are the physical suffering a person goes through in his life. Separation from a person we like, not getting the desired results, etc comes under mental suffering.
Buddha suggested that these sufferings have their origin and even they have an end to it. What we have now will change its form in some or another way, which leads to suffering. Even a fist of sand will lose its grip after some time then how can a person imagine holding time and situations in their hands and wishes the situations to be unchanged. In four noble truths, he explained how a person can realize and overcome the reason behind suffering.
The Second Noble Truth
According to Buddha, the second truth is ascertaining the cause of suffering. Desire and ignorance are two main reasons behind suffering. From desire, he meant with all the wants and needs, craving for the materialistic goods, immortality, and all of which that can never be satisfied. When not satisfied it leads to suffering. In the second thought, Ignorance also causes suffering.
Without the capability for mental focusing and insight, Buddhism describes, one’s mind is left underdeveloped, and unable to take the true essence of things. Vices, such as greed, envy, hatred, and anger, arise from this ignorance. A person is himself liable for the sufferings of his life, and also responsible for getting control over it.
The Third Noble Truth
This Buddha noble truth explains that suffering can be avoided and a person can reach a stage where he never suffers and can attain everlasting happiness. The Buddha strongly affirmed that the complete resolution of suffering is possible and attainable. The fact of the end of suffering, has a twofold significance, advising either the end of suffering in this life, on earth, or in the religious life, through attaining Nirvana.
When one has obtained Nirvana, which is an excelling state released from suffering and our earthly cycle of birth and rebirth, religious enlightenment has been attained. Ignorance and cravings are the root cause of suffering, when a person eradicates these factors from the life he begins eliminating suffering from his life.
The Fourth Noble Truth
In this Noble truth, Buddha suggested the methods through which a person can end up suffering from his life. He listed few paths which can help a person in attaining peace and happiness in his life and makes the path of enlightenment easier than before. These are the steps of noble eightfold paths.
The Buddha’s path, although related to as steps on a path, is not meant as a continual education process, but as eight stages of life, all of which are to be mixed in everyday life. Thus, the atmosphere is formulated to move closer to the Buddhist path.
The Eightfold Path of Buddha is – Right Understanding, Right Intent, Right Speech, Right Action, Right Livelihood, Right Effort, Right Mindfulness, and Right Concentration. Progressing through all those paths of Buddha we can not only pave a positive way in our life but will also be able to form a life full of peace and harmony.
The Four Noble Truths embrace the essence of Buddha’s teachings, though they leave much left unexplained. They are the truth of suffering, the truth of the basis of suffering, the truth of the cessation of suffering, and the truth of the path that leads to the end of suffering. He proffered us the way to work on and now it’s our accountability to bring consciousness to life and manage life with peace and tranquility for us and the people around us.
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