The Four Noble Truths and Three Marks of Reality

Truths = 1, 2, 3, 4

Marks = a, b, c


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.       Dukkha

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

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




1.      Dukkha

2.      Tanha

3.      Anicca

4.      Anatman (Anatta)




1.      Give a nuanced description of what the Buddha meant by Dukkha

2.      Describe the eight-fold noble path by rganizing it into the three divisions