The Third Noble Truth comes directly from the Second one: The end of suffering comes with the end of clinging.
As Achaan Chah said, “If you let go a little, you’ll have a little happiness. If you let go a lot, you’ll have a lot of happiness. If you let go completely . . . you’ll be completely happy.”
You can do this at the macro level, in letting go regarding lights turning green, or payments arriving, or your teenage children giving you a hug. Sure, you’d like things to turn out well, and that’s fine. You take practical steps toward them turning out well, and that’s also fine. But you can simultaneously have a … Read more »
The Second Noble Truth describes the principal cause of suffering. It is clinging. . . to anything at all.
The bad news is that we suffer. The good news is that there is a prime cause – clinging – that we can address.
There are lots of words that get at different aspects of clinging. For example, the original Pali word is “tanha,” the root meaning of which is thirst. Here are some related words, and you might like to pause briefly after each one to get a sense of the experience of it: Desire. Attachment. Striving. Wanting. Craving. Grasping. Stuck. Righteous. Positional. Searching. Seeking. Addicted. Obsessed. Needing. Hunger.
As a general … Read more »
The Four Noble Truths are the most fundamental teaching of the Buddha. Deceptively simple, they actually provide a profound explanation of human unhappiness, both gross and subtle, and how to attain increasingly positive states of mind, from stress relief in daily life to an unshakeable calm happiness and a selflessly compassionate heart.
With regard to the Four Noble Truths, the Buddha has been likened to a physician who diagnoses a condition, explains what causes it and what will end it, and then lays out in detail its cure.
The Noble Truth of Suffering
The first Noble Truth is that life contains inevitable, unavoidable suffering. (Some translators use the word, “stress,” to convey the broad meaning … Read more »
Some of us are able to acknowledge these less attractive aspects without being unduly fazed. Others tend to cultivate strategies to help hide the cracks. Yet others convince themselves that their weaknesses are inherent aberrations, with this view then becoming a rationale for indulging in aberrant behaviour. It is the last of these views that I tend to work with in addiction.
Some of us convince ourselves that we are such a waste of space that really, we should commit ourselves to a life of substance-induced mayhem or simply rid the rest of … Read more »
I used to be confused about why the third truth came before the fourth. And I realize now that if I could not accept or believe that there was an end to suffering, I would not have trudged the path. After all, I would not have known what would be at the end of the path—or if there would even be an end. If somebody had described to me the path that would lead me away from suffering before telling me that there is an end in sight for suffering, I would have most probably had an attack of horrified anxiety. And convinced myself that the life I was living was much more manageable than … Read more »
When I first read the second truth, I had goose bumps, because I knew my life was heading in the direction of suffering. All the choices in my life were on the path of suffering, and all the things I was doing in my life too, kept me on the path of suffering. At age fourteen I had chosen to live on the streets. I had gone off the rails. Eighteen months with my biological mother from the ages of eleven to twelve and a half had taught me to self medicate. No adult could tell me what to do. I was going to take complete control of my life. And so I had made … Read more »
The First Truth: There is suffering
Everything is impermanent. What arises will cease. When Shakyamuni gained enlightenment (insight), he became a Buddha, which means he attained an awakened mind. He awoke to what enlightened beings had seen before him. He rediscovered the path onto which we can return. The Four Noble Truths are part of the teachings that connect all Buddhist traditions.
The First Truth, that there is suffering, may seem pessimistic at first, as if life is hopeless. That is how it once appeared for me. Although I had suffered, I would have told you once upon a time that I had a great childhood, but once I stopped going for refuge to the … Read more »
Reflecting on these three truths, coupled with praying to a God that never came to my rescue when I needed Him, initiated a spiritual crisis within me.
By … Read more »
Title: “Never Turn Away – The Buddhist Path Beyond Hope and Fear.”
Author: Rigdzin Shikpo
Publisher: Wisdom Publications, Boston (2007).
Available from: Amazon.com.
Tejananda, Buddhist practitioner, meditation teacher, and author of The Buddhist Path to Awakening, gives an overview of a new, fresh approach to translating the wisdom of Tibetan Buddhism into a western idiom.
Rigdzin Shikpo (Michael Hookham) was one of the earliest Western students of Chogyam Trungpa Rinpoche.
Trungpa, who died in 1987, was a brilliant yet controversial figure. But whatever his flaws, he was undoubtedly one of the key figures in transmitting and translating Tibetan Buddhism for the western world: not so much … Read more »
The Buddha’s teaching on suffering does not say that we have to accept all of our unhappy circumstances. For those living the lay life, his advice was to look after ourselves and seek abundant happiness.
Let’s say you’re in a job or a relationship that isn’t really working for you, but it’s not so horrible that you have to flee. It’s a comfortable routine and provides security, and you can name a whole bunch of reasons why it’s a perfectly good place to stay. But you’re dissatisfied. Feeling a bit stuck. Like you’re not going anywhere. Oh well, I hear you say. Life is suffering, right? We have to learn to accept what is.
Yes, … Read more »