The Five-Minute Buddhist Books

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The Third Noble Truth

The Third Noble Truth

Now we know that all the world is suffering, and the cause of all is desire and attachment. These are important ideas to really understand and think through. You’ll have some extra time today to reflect on the First and Second Noble Truths, because the Third Noble Truth is really simple.

The Third Noble Truth is the idea that Suffering can be beaten.

We know from the first two Truths that everyone, everywhere is suffering in one way or another and that all this suffering is related to attachment and desire. “Doctor Buddha” first identified the problem (suffering), then he found the cause of the sickness (Desire), so the next step was to prescribe a cure.

Yes, there is a way to beat this depressing cycle of misery that we’ve been talking about. Most people haven’t attained this, and most won’t in this lifetime. Let’ s see if we can work it out on our own; as I said, it’s pretty easy. Since suffering is the problem we are trying to beat, and suffering is caused by attachment and desire, then it seems that the way to beat suffering is to control desire and limit attachments. Attachment and desire come from within; they are caused by our own minds. If we have control of our own minds, we should be able to just shut off the suffering. In fact, Buddhists go so far as to claim that reality is what you make of it. Simple, eh? Well, no, of course it isn’t, but this is idea that everything is in your mind and that you need to learn to control your mind is the heart of Buddhism.

But there is a way to do it, and Buddha went on to explain it in the Fourth Noble Truth, which we’ll cover tomorrow.

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