The Four Noble Truths


1.      Life is dominated by suffering: Separation from the things you love; not getting what it is you want. Unavoidable experience of things you despise: sickness, old age, death.

All this regardless of one's karma, because all things are impermanent
Impermanent, alas, are all conditioned things,
Their nature is to arise and pass.
They come into existence, then they cease;
Their allaying, their calming, is peace.
                        Samyutta Nikaya, Vol. II, page 192

a.       Anicca - impermanence.  All things, including ourselves, in flux. One tries but cannot cling to anything, as all things arise and pass.

b.      Pratitya Samutpada: Co-Dependent Arizing: Explains how do things come into being and continue to exist. Accounts for existence of the world -- Samsara: all things, including the gods individuals.

When this is, that is.
This arising, that arises.
When this is not, that is not.
This ceasing, that ceases

Samsara is a chain -- eliminate one link, exit from the process. Weakest links: ignorance and craving.  Eliminated through meditation, learning, behavior change.

c.       Anatman: No Self

                                                   i.      There is no permanent reality behind phenomenal reality: all is process, change.

                                                 ii.      Right perception reveals that there is no permanent, underlying thing that is constant

1.      There is no self that is constant:  he individual is composed of “groups of events” (skandas): Bodily events, perceptions, feelings, dispositions, states of consciousness.  = temporary combination of such events

                                                iii.      There is transmigration but no permanent soul

                                               iv.      Nirvana: "blowing out."  Ineffable, transcendental state, ultimate.  Involves no union with God. Escapes ordinary language:

2.      The cause of suffering is desire and craving

a.       The cycle of rebirth, suffering, death, perpetuated by desire.  Clinging to the impermanent.

“So transient is everything, bhikkus [monks];  so unstable is everything, bhikkus; so uncomforting is everything, bhikkus;
so much so that it is suitable for you to be disenchanted with all and everything, to detach yourself, to free yourself.”

3.      Release from suffering is possible.  Stop clinging. Craving for sensual experience, for better rebirth, even for extinction, can be renounced.  Blowing out the flame of a candle.

4.      The way out of suffering is the Noble Eightfold Path.

a.       Right view, right thought, right speech, right action, right livelihood, right effort, right mindfulness, right concentration. 

b.      These lead to release from samsara.

c.       Asvagosha’s division of the eightfold path:

                                                   i.      Morality: speech, action, livelihood

                                                 ii.      Meditation: effort, mindfullness, concentration

                                                iii.      Insight or Wisdom: views and thoiught