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Scorpion Solitaire


Four Noble Truths

By - 5/23/2013

A prayer wheel
  Photo Credit: Wouter Tolenaars /

At the heart of the Buddha's teachings lies the Four Noble Truths, the four principles he came to understand during his meditations that set him out on the Eightfold Path to enlightenment. In order to truly understand Buddhist practices, let us look at its basic principles.

The First Noble Truth - The Truth of Suffering

Suffering in the way it is meant according to the Buddha goes much deeper than physical suffering. It is the reason of all hardships in life and is caused by the temporary nature of life itself. We suffer because life and everything in life constantly changes. Even when we're happy, that happiness is temporary. Life never lives up to our expectations. It may sound a bit doom-and-gloom, but the Buddha also learned that once the cause of suffering is understood, we can act on it to improve our lives.

The Second Noble Truth - The Truth of the Origin of Suffering

The cause of our suffering is misplaced attachment. Throughout our lives, we attach ourselves to physical objects, feelings and ideas that in turn cause suffering due to their fleeting nature. The fact that we are ignorant of how attached we are and how we're affected by our attachment are further causes for suffering. Most of us have an idea of how we are as people. This is a delusion; there is no such thing as a permanent self. If we fail to understand this we will suffer as a result.

Not all attachments are bad and cause suffering, however. Many desires are genuinely positive, such as a wish to help others or an aspiration to reach enlightenment.

The Third Noble Truth - The Truth of the Cessation of the Suffering

In the third Noble Truth, we learn that the key to end our suffering is to end our misplaced attachments. Our own actions determine whether we can sense the true conditions of nature without being misled or overly attached and thereby removing the causes for suffering. That way we can reach the state of enlightenment known as nirvana.

The Fourth Noble Truth - The Truth of the Path to the Cessation of Suffering

The final Noble Truth teaches us how to end the suffering. The Buddha gives a set of principles known as the Eightfold Path, which if practiced together can help us remove suffering and attain nirvana. The path concerns wisdom, which deals with our understanding of life, ethical conduct which teaches us to live right, speak right and act right throughout our lives, and meditation which requires mindfulness, effort and concentration.

Although it may seem like Buddhism has a negative view of life with its frequent talk of suffering, the very essence is positive. It teaches us that there is a way out of suffering. When we truly understand suffering and how it affects us, we can learn to break free from it and reach enlightenment.


Scorpion Solitaire

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