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The Fourth Noble Truth

The Fourth Noble Truth

Just to summarize, we now know that all life is suffering. This suffering is caused by attachments and desire. Yet, there is a way to end this suffering. To continue our medical analogy, Doctor Buddha, saw the problem, identified the cause, and then prescribed a cure. Today we are going to discuss this cure.

The Fourth Noble Truth is the path (or “Way”) that ends suffering.

This prescription to end suffering is usually called The Eightfold Path, because it has eight steps or components. These eight components are:

1. Right Thought
2. Right Speech
3. Right Actions
4. Right Livelihood
5. Right Understanding
6. Right Effort
7. Right Mindfulness
8. Right Concentration

This path is also sometimes called “The Middle Way” because it goes directly between all opposite concepts. It is the middle way between asceticism and self-indulgence. By focusing on perfecting these eight components, you can attain enlightenment and be released from all suffering. This is what is called attaining Nirvana (or Enlightenment).

“I teach about suffering and the way to end it”
Shakyamuni Buddha

You can probably guess what we’ll be discussing for the next eight days, right? Some of the steps on the eightfold path are intuitively simple, yet hard to put into practice. Others are conceptually complex and take a lifetime of practice to master (if ever).

Now your homework for the weekend. Memorize the four Noble Truths. They’re the heart of Buddhism, and we’ll be discussing them repeatedly. If you have time, memorize the eightfold path as well, as that’s just as crucial. There really isn’t much to memorize in Buddhism, but these two lists are way up there in importance.

The Four Noble Truths

1. All of life is suffering
2. There is a cause to this suffering, desire and attachment
3. There is a path to end this suffering
4. The Eightfold Path is the way to end suffering

 

 

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