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Monday, December 28, 2009

The Four Noble Truths

The Four Noble Truths

On gaining enlightenment, the Buddha realized the Four Noble Truths.

All beings are subject to Dukkha.
Dukkha is usually translated as suffering but it actually encompasses a wide range of negative feelings including stress, dissatisfaction and physical suffering. Dukkha exists as all beings are subject to illness, separation from loved ones, not getting their desires, aging and death.

Dukkha arises from desire and craving.

All beings crave pleasant sensations, and also desire to avoid unpleasant sensations. These sensations can be physical or psychological, and dukkha arises when these desires and cravings are not met.

Dukkha can be overcome by the elimination of desire and craving.

Nibbana is the state of peace where all greed, hatred and delusion, and thereby dukkha, have been eradicated.

There is a way out of dukkha, which is the Noble Eightfold Path.

Dukkha can be reduced, weakened and finally eradicated and Nibbana thereby attained, by following this path as taught by the Buddha.

Buddhism is occasionally criticized as being overly pessimistic as it seems to focus on suffering rather than on happiness and joy. However, all conditions of happiness and joy are impermanent because all beings are subject to sickness, old age and death, and as a result, all beings are undeniably subject to dukkha.

Instead, Buddhism is actually realistic as the Buddha has taught us how to overcome or reduce dukkha, and how to achieve the permanent bliss of Nibbana. By following the Noble Eightfold Path taught by the Buddha, Nibbana can be experienced even in this present lifetime.

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