Noble Truths


Buddha’s four Noble Truths

By António L. Santos

The Buddha’s four Noble Truths are a perfect example of the ‘Journey back to Zero’. Life means Suffering. Suffering has an origin. Suffering can be terminated. Awareness – Zero – is the key to terminate Suffering.

  1. First Noble truth: Does Life means suffering?

Yes! No matter whom you are or the position you hold, to live means to suffer. Whether we like it or not, during our lifetime, we inevitably have to endure physical suffering such as pain, sickness, injury, fatigue, aging… and death. But it doesn’t end here; we also have to endure psychological suffering such as loss, heartbreak, sadness, disappointment, injustice, frustration, confusion, fear, depression… Although there are different facets of suffering in the end, suffering is suffering!

Earth is a school of emotion. There are species physically stronger and there are others that are smarter. No matter which specie we choose to examine, study or compare, in the end, all species on earth are fragile and destined to die! Indeed, life means suffering; however, this is not a divine error and we sure aren’t here by mistake. We incarnate very fragile bodies through which we can physically and mentally feel all that is around us. Because our bodies are earth substance – carbon, oxygen, hydrogen, nitrogen and water – we feel and have to deal with its connection to the planet. These bodies we have chosen are wonderful machines equipped with a very sophisticated mechanism. We need – sooner or later – to learn to love and honor them, for the truth is; they are precious gifts lent to us.

The substances these bodies are made of – as mentioned above – don’t age, do not die or get sick, how come suffering and decay exist?

  1. Second Noble truth: Does Suffering has an origin?

Yes! The origin of suffering resides in passion!? The pursuit of wealth and prestige, desire for fame, to have more and to be more leads us to suffering. As human beings such desires are an inevitably part of our experience here. ‘Should we stop desiring?’ ‘Should we not live with passion?’ If we have no passion or desire then we would have no life. If we have no life, then, there would be no school. No school means no learning, no growth, no evolution. The origin of suffering is not necessarily passion or desire but rather the attachment to the outcome of that which we desire and/or are passionate about. Ultimately, suffering has a direct attachment to ego, therefore attached to a reality that is not real, and that is, the illusion of life here on Earth.

Indeed, suffering does have an origin and until we do accept and understand this fact suffering will simply keep on going and going and going. Here are just a few example keys that contribute to our suffering.

1-    My image – what people may think or say about me is very important.

2-    Can’t drive a car older than 2 years.

3-    I’m not going to dress these pants twice in the same week.

4-    My brother-in-law just bought a chalet. I have to get something he can see!?

5-    My son is a disappointment. I always wanted him to be a lawyer.

6-    I have to do something about my face. I don’t want to look my age.

7-    With the job position I have, there’s no way I will even consider buying this small house.

Obviously the list could go on.

Take a few minutes and analyze the outcome of what I stated above. If you did, then you will realize that suffering is in none of these things but rather in the attachment/thought/outcome we decide to give it.

  1. Third Noble truth: Can Suffering be stopped?

Yes! We can overcome suffering through awakening – become aware of our true self – by practicing detachment. I never suffer because I desire to go play golf, I suffer when something happens that keeps me from doing so. Ultimately suffering is the attachment to an outcome. I don’t necessarily suffer because of my ego, I suffer when I let ego take control over me. Attaining and perfecting our understanding of desire is a process of many levels that will ultimately result in the state of Spiritual freedom.

It is not easy because detachment may require you to become ‘spiritually selfish’ which in turn may lead you to social and/or family issues. The Buddha himself had to have the courage to leave his family behind along with all they could think of him. I’m not saying you have to do such things, but the challenges along this process are inevitable.

Suffering can and will come to an end by all living, but until then many steps need to be taken. You can read about it. You can listen about it. But it will be nothing more than simple steps you take along the journey there. Until you are able to feel it inside all this remains a distant frontier.

Reflect upon the following examples that are, in themselves, part of the confusion they keeps us stuck to the illusion that leads us to suffering.

1-    Life is indeed a game. You are not the game. You are the game player!

2-    You are not a victim of the experiences you’re faced with!

3-    You are not guilty of anything you have chosen to participate in!

4-    You may have everything your heart desires, but nothing will ever be yours here. Don’t get confused!

5-    You don’t have to become somebody, who and what you truly are your brain could never conceive!

6-    Nothing is wrong or imperfect here – everything is the ‘Divine’ in motion!

7-    There are no wrongs nor there are rights, all simply is what it is. There is so much history and data behind what you see people live and go through that judging it would make absolutely no sense!

True happiness is not about having things it is to know about things and our place among them. We will never have anything here, even the body we call ‘ours’ in reality is nothing but a leased vehicle with a date to pickup and a date to drop it off. Whether we like it or not, all we ever had here will simply stay here, but there is one thing we take with us to the other side, and that is: ‘What we have become’. When we know this in our hearts our ways change, because what we have become is what will follow. The action reaction effect of this ‘game’.

  1. Fourth Noble truth: The path to stop suffering.

There is a path that takes us to the end of suffering. As we become consciously aware we embark on a gradual path of self-improvement. It is all about balance such as the middle way between the two extremes of excessive self-indulgence – hedonism – and excessive self-mortification – asceticism – that will lead us to the end of the cycle of rebirth. The final quality discerns it from other paths which are merely “wandering on the wheel of becoming”, because these do not have a final object. The path to the end of suffering can extend over many lifetimes, throughout which every individual rebirth is subject to karmic conditioning – craving, ignorance, delusions, and its effects will disappear gradually, as progress is made on the path.

Here are some ideas you can use, however, if words are all you see and read then, the time is not yet here.

1-    Begin to dance with life.

2-    Walk life – don’t run – don’t stop.

3-    You are visiting here, you are not from here nor are you staying here.

4-    Live the philosophy: Be and let be.

5-    Do what you think is the right thing to do – don’t think about it, feel it.

6-    Share your opinions with detachment.

7-    We are all walking towards something, but no one will ever be able to tell you what that is. All those who got there didn’t come back. The same thing will happen to you. Keep walking.

8-    Know that you are always at the right place at the right time. If you don’t like it, go within and do some changes. Our actions, thoughts and behaviors is what creates the ‘places’ and ‘times’.

9-    Know that you are being served every moment of your stay. If you don’t like what’s being served to you, simply go back to your table.

10-  Take what you need, not necessarily what you want. How do you do that? Just identify which ‘you’ is commanding.

11-  Live well out of the opinion of others. Remember this, as soon as you begin to live differently, you’ll be put aside. The majority of people walking this earth do not want to see you happy. They will turn the shoulder if you succeed.

12-  Love everything and everyone you see – everything and everyone you touch – but you don’t have to go to bed or dine with any of them.

0 views0 comments

Recent Posts

See All