Friday, March 21, 2008

List #21: The Four Noble Truths

The full moon days mark the main Buddhist holidays, and always a good time to meditate and think about the teachings of the Buddha. After his long meditation under the Bodhi Tree, the Buddha realized the nature of suffering, the subject of the Four Noble Truths:

1. The Nature of Suffering (Dukkha) Everyone suffers, but the nature of suffering is its impermanence.

2. The Origination of Suffering (Samudaya) The cause of suffering is craving (what the Lao call tanya) The origin of suffering is not realizing the nature of impermanence, so we try to cling to pleasant states of being and avoid unpleasant states of being. Craving drives us and suffering comes from desiring what we can not have.

3. The Cessation of Suffering (Nirodha) refers to the realization that all compounded things are impermanent. When we understand suffering, we view everything with equanimity - not embracing the things we want and not fleeing from the ugly things.

4. The Way (Marga) Leading to the Cessation of Suffering - the Eight-fold Path is eight states that we should strive for.

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