The Four Noble Truths – Buddha’s First Teaching

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Do not believe in anything simply because you have heard it. Do not believe in traditions because they have been handed down for many generations. Do not believe anything because it is spoken and rumored by many. Do not believe in anything because it is written in your religious books. Do not believe in anything merely on the authority of your teachers and elders. But after observation and analysis, when you find that anything agrees with reason and is conducive to the good and the benefit of one and all, then accept it and live up to it. – The Buddha

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The Four Noble Truths:

  1. All things and experiences are marked by suffering/ disharmony/ frustration (dukkha). 
    • Suffering exists. We suffer when we experience pain. We suffer when we do not get what we want. We suffer when we get what we want, but it does not last indefinitely. We suffer when we have some idea of what we want and the reality is a bit different. This is the First Noble Truth.
  2. The arising of suffering/ disharmony/ frustration comes from desire/ craving/ clinging. 
    • The cause of suffering is desire—our inflexible desire for things to be other than what they are. According to the Buddha, the problem is not that we are not getting what we want, it is that we want too much.
  3. To achieve the cessation or end of suffering/ disharmony/ frustration, let go of desire/ craving/ clinging.
    • It is possible to put an end to suffering by learning to live more simply and be content with what we do have. This is sometimes referred to as putting an end to desire, but it doesn’t mean that we desire nothing at all; it means that we recognize desire as desire, and we act on some desires, such as the desire to make others happy, but we do not expect that we will realize happiness by satisfying our desires.
  4. The way to achieve that cessation of suffering/ disharmony/ frustration, is walking the Eight-fold Path.
    • Right understanding, aspiration, speech, conduct, livelihood, effort, mindfulness, and concentration.

Alan Watts – The Four Noble Truths

Alan Watts gives his interpretation of the four noble truths in this video lecture.

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5 Replies to “The Four Noble Truths – Buddha’s First Teaching”

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  2. I have a question what is the link between the lotus flower and the four noble truths??(i like your site by the way

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