Four Nobel Truths. . .

We have by now at the least heard of The Four Noble Truths, yet they are always wort a revisit. Being grounded within these truths will always be the start of any practice. These Four Noble Truths, monks, are actual, unerring, not otherwise. Therefore, they are called noble truths.  (Samyutta Nikaya 56.27)

1. Life is/means Dukkha (mental dysfunction or suffering).

2. Dukkha arises from craving.

3. Dukkha can be eliminated.

4. The way to the elimination of dukkha is the Eightfold Path.

Buddha believed that dukkha ultimately arose from ignorance and false knowledge. While dukkha is usually defined as suffering, “mental dysfunction” is closer to the original meaning. In a similar vein, we can explain dukkha by using the metaphor of a shopping cart that we “try to steer from the wrong end” or bones that have gone “out of joint”. Because of such a mental misalignment, all movement, thoughts and creation that flow out can never be wholly satisfactory. In short, we can never be completely happy. Some circles (myself included) see dukkah as a fundamental part of the path – we cannot awaken without it.

Consider this – Without mud, there is no lotus. Could it be possible that life’s suffering can be the catalyst for wisdom? By realizing, for ourselves, the four truths we can not only reduce and possibly uproot our own dukkha, but also contribute to the reduction of suffering across the globe. The four truths also provide a sequence for how we can transform suffering to freedom. If we continue to act in ways that cause dukkha, we will continue to experience dukkha. If, however, we do something different, such as developing the factors on the eight-fold path, then we can cultivate wisdom and exit the cyclic patterns that cause us suffering.

Peace and Love, Jim

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