A Snapshot of the Four Noble Truths
"I teach suffering, its origin, cessation and path. That's all I teach", declared the Buddha 2500 years ago.
The Four Noble Truths contain the essence of the Buddha's teachings.
It was these four principles that the Buddha came to understand during his meditation under the
The truth of suffering (Dukkha)
To be alive and to be aware, is to suffer - Dukkha
The truth of the origin of suffering (Samudāya)
All sufferings are the effects of identifiable causes
The truth of the cessation of suffering (Nirodha)
By removing these, we can rid ourselves of the suffering
The truth of the path to the cessation of suffering (Magga)
By moving our conscious mind into a state of contentment and ease through meditation.
Path to the cessation of suffering (Magga) §
The final Noble Truth is the Buddha's prescription for the end of suffering.
This is a set of principles called the Eightfold Path.
The Eightfold Path is also called the Middle Way: it avoids both indulgence and severe
asceticism, neither of which the Buddha had found helpful in his search for enlightenment.
The eight divisions or the Eightfold Path
The eight stages are not to be taken in order, but rather support and reinforce each other:
1.Right Understanding - Accepting Buddhist teachings. (The Buddha never intended his followers to believe his teachings blindly, but to practise them and judge for themselves whether they were true.)
2.Right Intention - A commitment to cultivate the right attitudes.
3.Right Speech - Speaking truthfully, avoiding slander, gossip and abusive speech.
4.Right Action - Behaving peacefully and harmoniously; refraining from stealing, killing and overindulgence in sensual pleasure.
5.Right Livelihood - Avoiding making a living in ways that cause harm, such as exploiting people or killing animals, or trading in intoxicants or weapons.
6.Right Effort - Cultivating positive states of mind; freeing oneself from evil and unwholesome states and preventing them arising in future.
7.Right Mindfulness - Developing awareness of the body, sensations, feelings and states of mind.
8.Right Concentration - Developing the mental focus necessary for this awareness.
The eight stages can be grouped into Wisdom (right understanding and intention), Ethical Conduct
(right speech, action and livelihood) and Meditation (right effort, mindfulness and concentration).
The Buddha described the Eightfold Path as a means to enlightenment, like a raft for crossing a river.
Once one has reached the opposite shore, one no longer needs the raft and can leave it behind.
Regular Meditation and Conscious Breathing = calm - high levels of concentration and clarity
Observations of the mind and training the mind all lead to a constant awareness and comparison
of what is happening in your head - “in here” and what is happening in your world -“out there”.
If you can do this every day and succeed then you will feel regularly contented and at ease, with
both yourself and with the world you are in.