(Last Updated on : 10/09/2009)
The Four Noble Truths (Sanskrit: catvari aryasatyani; Pali: cattari ariyasaccani) are one of the most cardinal Buddhist teachings. In broad terms, these truths are associated with suffering`s nature, origin, cessation and the path leading to cessation. They are among the truths Gautama Buddha is known to have realised during his experience of enlightenemnt.
The Four Noble Truths appear numerous times throughout the most ancient Buddhist texts, like the Pali Canon. Mahayana Buddhism regards these as an introductory teaching for people not ready for its own teachings.
The Teachings of Buddha are centered around meditation, which allows an insight into the mind which helps to rejuvenate and understand things with a better perspective. This whole process to long lasting happiness is a step-by-step procedure, by following which all can transform their state of mind, which might be in trouble and confused. His teachings in way are the doorway to a blissful state of mind. Buddhism helps the mind to deviate away from fanciful thinking and takes a very uncomplicated look at everybody`s human conditions. Gautama Buddha preached the Four Noble truths which are also known as Four Noble Truths of Buddhism or Four universal Truth of Buddhism.
Why the Buddha is supposed to have taught in this manner is enlightened by the social circumstance of the time in which he lived. The Buddha was a Sramana, a wandering ascetic whose "aim was to discover the truth and attain happiness." He is alleged to have achieved this aim while under a bodhi tree near the River Neranjana; the Four Noble Truths are an expression of his understanding of the nature of "suffering", the primal cause of all suffering, the escape from suffering, and what extent a person can go to so that they themselves can "attain happiness".
These truths are not expressed as a hypothesis or provisionary idea, rather the Buddha says:
"These Four Noble Truths, monks, are actual, unerring, not otherwise. Therefore, they are called noble truths."
The Buddha is also known to have taught them…
"…because it is beneficial, it belongs to the fundamentals of the holy life, it leads to disenchantment, to dispassion, to cessation of suffering, to peace, to direct knowledge, to enlightenment, to Nirvana. That is why I have declared it."
This teaching was the basis of the Buddha`s first preaching after his enlightenment. In early Buddhism this is the most advanced teaching in the Buddha`s Gradual Training (the Buddha sometimes described the practice (patipatti) of his training as the gradual training, because the eightfold path involves a process of mind-body transformation that unfolds sometimes over a prolonged period).
The four noble truths are as follows:
1. The Nature of Suffering (Dukkha):
No one on this earth is bereft suffering. Everyone has to go through the miseries of birth, sickness, old age, finally culminating in death. Everybody arrives in this world crying, when one falls sick he/she feels helpless, it pains more when one grows old because old age reduces energy and it is difficult to move around. Death is again painful; people are scared to die. Similarly, when one`s loved ones pass away, one is shattered beyond extent. All these happen due to one`s excessive attachment with them, and one cannot bear the separation. Therefore life signifies suffering. One suffers when one is in company with those one does not prefer, when somebody close leaves forever. Sometimes wants and desires also make one unhappy when there is no fulfillment of one`s wishes. Buddha`s teachings do not ignore the suffering that is a part of everybody`s life, just as it has happiness, it also has its own share of sadness. Happiness as well as sadness are all momentary, Buddha said.
2. Suffering`s Origin (Samudaya):
According to Buddha`s teaching, in order to eradicate the suffering, knowledge of the origin of suffering is highly crucial. "It is this craving which leads to renewed existence, accompanied by delight and lust, seeking delight here and there, that is, craving for sensual pleasures, craving for existence, craving for extermination".
3. Suffering`s Cessation (Nirodha):
According to Buddhism one should get rid of greed and ignorance. These are the vices that never let anyone lead a better life. A complete change in one`s outlook will come if one can do away with greed and ignorance. This can lead to a much better and peaceful life. When all suffering will end, the state of Nirvana is achieved. The Buddha said, "The extinction of desire is Nirvana." This is the ultimate state of perpetual happiness, which is really difficult unless one can sacrifice their greed, ignorance, and lustful ambitions. Attaining Nirvana is possible by following the teachings of Buddhism; nothing can give as much peace as this attainment would.
4. The Way (Marga) Leading to the Cessation of Suffering:
In order to end one`s suffering, Buddhism advises to follow a middle path or the Middle Way. This is known as the Noble Eightfold Path. This according to the teachings in Buddhism can be the means to end all worldly strife. Whatever unhappiness one faces in life is a result of an extreme way of life, which can be altered by following a moderate middle path. These are the basic truths in life but from which one can also move out by following the teachings of Buddhism. "Now this ... is the noble truth of the way leading to the cessation of suffering: it is the Noble Eight fold Path; that is, right view, right intention, right speech, right action, right livelihood, right effort, right mindfulness, right concentration."
The Truth of sufferings is connected with the failure to recognise all the eternity of the Buddha and it concerns the prevention and aberration of the true Dharma. Cessation of sufferings arises with the elimination of inner defilements, when one can enter into the Buddhic essence with oneself.