The Four Noble Truths
February 25th, 2008 · No Comments
1. All life is suffering.
2. The origin of suffering is attachment.
3. Cessation of suffering is attainable.
4. There is a path to the cessation of suffering. The Eightfold Path is the way for cessation.
1. To live means we suffer.Because human nature is not perfect and the world we live in is not perfect we inevitably endure suffering. Suffering comes in many forms; sorrow, aggravation, sickness, injury, old age, and death. In life we also endure psychological sufferings, as well. Some of these are sadness, fear, disappointment and frustration and finally, depression. It must be said that even though there is suffering, there are also positive aspects of life, which bring us happiness. Ease of living, comfort, happiness, and joy are all positive attributes of life. But life in its totality is imperfect and incomplete. The reason for this is that all aspects of life are impermanent. We are never permanently able to achieve and keep what we strive for. Our moments of sadness and joy pass with equanimity as we live each day. This testifies to the impermanence of our situation.
2. Suffering is based on a misunderstanding of the nature of things. Transient things become the objects of our attachment. Of our suffering. It’s not just physical objects. Both physical objects and mental images combined make up the objects of our attachment. Desire, passion, pursuit of wealth, of prestige, popularity or fame are all objects of craving and clinging. Because the objects of our attachment are transient, the loss is inevitable. Suffering follows loss. Even the idea or delusion of self can be an attachment. An understanding can come from an understanding of energy. To understand our role in the universe, we first have to acknowledge our place and participation in it.
3. It is possible to unmake craving. What can be made can be unmade. We have to unmake sensual craving and attachment to concepts. Attachments to cravings and concepts always leave us wanting for the original experience of the craving. We must become dispassionate over the objects of craving and attachment.By lessening our need for attachments and cravings we are able, step by step, to reach the goal of Nibbana – Nirvana. Nirvana is not comprehensible for those who have not attained it, but Nirvana is freedom from worries and troubles and fabrications and concepts that lead us to cravings and attachments which are the cause of suffering.
4. The Eight Fold Path is a self help path. The Buddha as a teacher gave us the garden tools – the hoes, the rakes, the pruners, to work in the gardens of our individual lives. The concept of personal responsibility and working our own garden as a sacred path is an important concept of Buddhism. The practitioners, like gardeners, are always on the path of becoming. The gradual path of self improvement is the path toward enlightenment. Leaving the path of hedonism or excess on the one hand, or on the other hand, extreme asceticism, the practitioner walks the Middle Path. The goal of Nirvana breaks the endless cycle of birth, life, suffering, and death.
Our lives are the mirror of our efforts.We need to develop a sense of patience as we deal with ourselves, our journey and the people, concepts, ideas, and objects around us. As we develop spiritually our positive energy develops. We become more in tune with the external universe by becoming truly aware of our inner universe. Patience is more than a virtue.It is a necessity in the dealings of the self. Patience is like water. It may take a thousand years to wear down a rock wall but the Grand Canyon is the evidence that it can be accomplished. The Buddha has a saying that ‘a barrel can be filled one spoonful at a time.’ We are weakened or strengthened by our own actions. We are also known by them.
In one story about the Buddha, there were 2 monks waiting to see the Buddha. The first monk entered the garden and sat with the Buddha. He prided himself on his steadfast adherence to all the rules and his ability to carry out being a perfect monk. He asked the Buddha how many lifetimes would it take for him to become enlightened. The Buddha reached up and took a branch and said ‘as many leaves as there are on this branch’. At this the monk became incensed and stormed out of the garden. The second monk came in and sat down and asked the Buddha the same question saying, ‘Master how many lives must I live before attaining enlightenment?’ The Buddha replied, with as many leaves as there in on this tree.’ With that the young monk smiled and said, ‘so you’re saying I will someday attain enlightenment,’ and with that he left the garden a happy monk.
Be patient with yourselves.Live each day with a purpose. Share your dreams.Make our world a better place for you having been here.
Remember the barrel that fills spoonful by spoonful. Without us being ready or aware it fills. Be aware. Be mindful.
I Wish You Peace,
Bhante n. Kassapa Bhikkhu
Buu Mon Temple
Port Arthur, Texas, 77640