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Buddhism: The 4 Noble Truths and Eight Fold Course of

ADVERTISEMENTS: Buddhism: The 4 Noble Truths and 8 Fold Course of Buddhism! Buddha was mainly an ethical teacher and reformer, not a metaphysician. The message of his knowledge indicate man the lifestyle that leads beyond suffering. When any one asked Buddha esoteric concerns as to whether the soul was various from the body, whether it survived death, whether the world was finite or unlimited, everlasting or non-eternal, etc. he avoided discussing them.


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Conversation of problems for the option of which there is not enough proof leads just to various partial views like the conflicting one-sided accounts of an elephant offered by different blind individuals who touch its different parts. Buddha referred to ratings of such esoteric views advanced by earlier thinkers and revealed that all of them were inadequate, because they were based upon unpredictable sense-experiences, yearnings, hopes and worries.

Instead of going over esoteric concerns, which are ethically useless and intellectually unpredictable, Buddha constantly attempted to inform persons on the most important questions of grief, its origin, its cessation and the path leading to its cessation.

The answers to the four concerns make up the essence of Buddha’s enlightenment. These have actually come to be referred to as the four worthy truths (catvari aryasatyani).


They are:

( 1) Life on the planet has lots of suffering.

( 2) There is a cause of this suffering.

( 3) It is possible to stop suffering.


( 4) There is a course which causes the cessation of suffering (duhkha, duhkha- samudaya, duhkha-nirodha, duhkha-nirodha-marga).

The First Noble Reality about Suffering:

The sights of suffering which disturbed the mind of young Siddhartha were of illness, aging and death. But to the enlightened mind of Buddha not merely these, but the really vital conditions of life, human and sub-human, appeared, without exception; to be filled with anguish. Birth, old age, illness, death, grief, sorrow, dream, despair, simply put, all that is born of attachment, is anguish.

The 2nd Noble Fact about the Cause of Suffering: The Chain of Twelve Hyperlinks:


Though the truth of suffering is acknowledged by all Indian thinkers, the medical diagnosis of this condition is not always consentaneous. The origin of life’s evil is described by Buddha in the light of his unique conception of natural causation (known as Pratityasamutpada). According to it, nothing is unconditional; the existence of whatever depends upon some conditions. As the existence of every occasion depends upon some conditions, there should be something which being there our suffering originates.

Life’s suffering (old age, death, anguish, grief and so forth, briefly denoted by the expression jara-marana) exists, says Buddha, because there is birth (jati). Hence (1) suffering in life is because of (2) birth, which is due to (3) the will to be born, which is due to (4) our mental clinging to items. Sticking once again is due to (5) thirst or desire for things. This again is because of (6) sense-experience which is because of (7) sense-object-contact, which once again is due to (8) the six organs of cognition; these organs are dependent on (9) the embryonic organism (composed of mind and body), which again could not develop without (10) some initial consciousness, which once again hails from (II) the impressions of the experience of past life, which last but not least are due to (12) lack of knowledge of fact.

Therefore we have the twelve links in the chain of causation. The order and variety of the links are not always the exact same in all the preachings; but the above has come to be considered as the full and standard account of the matter. It has actually been promoted amongst Buddhists by numerous epithets, such as the twelve sources (dvadas nidana), the wheel of rebirth (bhava-cakra). Some devout Buddhists remind themselves even today, of this mentor of Buddha by turning, wheels which are made to represent the wheel of causation. Like the telling of beads, this forms a part of their everyday prayers.

The Third Noble Truth about the Cessation of Suffering:


The third worthy fact that there is cessation of suffering follows from the 2nd fact that suffering depends upon some conditions. If these conditions are gotten rid of, torment would cease. But we ought to attempt to comprehend plainly the specific nature of the state called cessation (nirodha) of misery.

To start with it should be noted that freedom from suffering is a state obtainable here in this really life, if particular conditions are satisfied. When the best control of passions and constant contemplation of truth lead a person through the four phases of concentration to ideal knowledge, he is no longer under the sway of worldly accessory.

He has actually broken the fetters that bound him to the world. He is, therefore, complimentary, liberated. He is said then to have actually become an Arhat– a venerable individual. The state is more widely understood now as nirvana– the termination of enthusiasms and, therefore, also of torment.

We need to keep in mind next that the achievement of this state is not necessarily a state of lack of exercise, as it is normally misunderstood to be. It is true that for the attainment of perfect, clear and consistent knowledge of the fourfold reality one needs to withdraw all his attention from outdoors and even from other ideas within, and focus it completely on repeated reasoning and reflection of the realities in all their elements.


But once wisdom has been permanently acquired, through focused thought, the liberated person must neither always remain rapt in meditation nor entirely withdraw from active life. We know what an active life of travelling, preaching, establishing brotherhood, Buddha himself led during the long forty-five years that he lived after knowledge, and even to the last days of his eightieth year when he passed away. Freedom then was not incompatible with activity in the life of the founder himself.

The 4th Noble Reality about the Path to Liberation:

The fourth honorable fact, as seen currently, lays down that there is a path (marga)– which Buddha followed and others can similarly follow– to reach a state free from torment. Ideas concerning this course are derived from the understanding of the chief conditions that trigger anguish. The path advised by Buddha consists of 8 steps or rules and is, therefore, called the eightfold honorable path (astangika-marga). This gives up a nutshell the fundamentals of Buddha Ethics. This path is open to all monks along with laypersons. The noble path consists in the acquisition of the following 8 good things:

Right views (sammaditthi or samyagdrsti):


As lack of knowledge with its repercussions, particularly, wrong views (mithyadrsti) about the self and the world, is the source of our sufferings, it is natural that the primary step to moral reformation should be the acquisition of right views or the understanding of reality. Right view is specified as the appropriate knowledge about the four noble truths. It is the understanding of these facts alone, and not any theoretical speculation concerning nature and self, which, according to Buddha, assists moral reformation, and leads us towards the objective– nirvana.

Right resolve (sammasarikappa or samyaksarikalpa):

A mere understanding of the facts would be worthless unless one solves to reform life in their light. The moral candidate is asked, therefore, to renounce worldliness (all attachment to the world), to give us ill-feeling towards others and desist from doing any damage to them. These 3 make up the contents of right decision.

Right speech (sammavaca or samyagvak):

Right decision needs to not stay a mere ‘pious desire’ however needs to release forth into action. Right decision needs to have the ability to guide and control our speech, to begin with. The outcome would be ideal speech consisting in abstention from lying, slander, unkind words and unimportant talk.

Right conduct (sammakammanta or samyakkarmanta):


Right determination should end in right action or good conduct and not stop merely with excellent speech. Right conduct consists of the Panca-Sila, the five promises for desisting from killing, taking, sensuality, lying and intoxication.

Right livelihood (sammaajiva or samyagajiva):

Renouncing bad speech and bad actions, one need to earn his livelihood by honest methods. The need of this guideline depends on revealing, that even for the sake of preserving one’s life, one must not require to forbidden methods however operate in consistency with excellent determination.

Right effort (sammavayama or samyagvyayama):

While a person tries to live a reformed life, through best views, resolution, speech, action and income, he is continuously knocked off the right path by old wicked concepts which were deep-rooted in the mind as also by fresh ones which constantly occur. One can not progress progressively unless he maintains a constant effort to root out old wicked thoughts, and avoid wicked thoughts from emerging once again.

Furthermore, as the mind can not be kept empty, he needs to constantly endeavour likewise to fill the mind with good concepts, and maintain such concepts in the mind. This fourfold consistent endeavour, unfavorable and favorable, is called ideal effort. This rule points out that even one high up on the course can not afford to take an ethical vacation without running the risk of slipping down.


Right mindfulness (sammasati or samyaksmrti):

The requirement of consistent watchfulness is further stressed out in this guideline, which lays down that the candidate must constantly keep in mind the things he has currently learnt. He should constantly keep in mind and ponder the body as body, experiences as sensations, mind as mind, mindsets ‘as mental states. About any of these he needs to not believe, “This am I,” or “This is mine”. This gadget sounds no better than asking one to consider a spade as a spade.

It is all the more challenging to practice it when false concepts about the body, etc. have actually become, so deep- rooted in us and our behaviours based upon these incorrect notions have ended up being instinctive. If we are not mindful, we act as through the body, the mind, experiences and mindsets are permanent and important. Thus there develops attachment to such things and sorrow over their loss and we become subject to chains and torment.

Right concentration (sammasamadhi or samyaksamadhi):

One who has actually effectively assisted his life in the light of the last seven guidelines and therefore freed himself from all enthusiasms and wicked thoughts is fit to enter step by step into the 4 deeper and much deeper phases of concentration that slowly take him to the objective of his long and tough journey– cessation of suffering.

He concentrates his pure and unruffled mind on thinking and examination regarding the truths, and enjoys in this state, delight and ease born of detachment and pure idea. This is the very first phase of intent meditation.


When this concentration succeeds, belief in the fourfold reality arises eliminating all doubts and therefore, making reasoning and investigation unnecessary. From this results the 2nd stage of concentration, in which there are pleasure, peace and internal serenity born of tense, unruffled contemplation. There remains in this phase an awareness of this happiness and peace too.

In the next phase effort is made by him to initiate a mindset of indifference, to be able to remove himself even from the joy of concentration. From this results the third much deeper type of concentration, in which one experiences ideal equanimity, coupled with an experience of bodily ease. He is yet mindful of this ease and equanimity, though indifferent to the joy of concentration.

Last but not least, he tries to put away even this consciousness of ease and equanimity and all the sense of joy and elation he formerly had. He achieves thus the 4th state of concentration, a state of ideal equanimity, indifference and self-possession– without pain, without ease. Therefore he attains the wanted objective or cessation of all suffering, he obtains to arhatship of nirvana. There are then best knowledge (prajna) and perfect righteousness (sila).

To sum up the vital points of the eightfold course, it might be kept in mind first that the course consists of 3 main points– conduct (sila), concentration (samadhi) and understanding (prajna) harmoniously cultivated. In Indian philosophy knowledge and morality-are idea inseparable– not simply since morality, or doing of great, depends upon the understanding of what is excellent, about which all thinkers would agree, however also because excellence of understanding is considered as difficult without morality, best control of enthusiasms and bias. Buddha clearly states in one of his discourses that virtue and wisdom cleanse each other and the 2 are inseparable. In the eightfold path one begins with ‘ideal views’– a simple intellectual apprehension of the fourfold reality.


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