ZEN BUDDHA | Zen buddhist glossary

ZEN BUDDHA | Zen buddhist glossary

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Glossary: The Four Noble Truths

The first noble truth is that Suffering (Dukkha) exists. There are three forms of Suffering. Ordinary Suffering (Dukkha-dukkha) such as physical and mental suffering associated with birth, growing old, illness and dying. Suffering due to change (Viparinama-dukkha). Anxiety and stress is caused by the longing to hold on or attach to things that are subject to change. And as everything in life changes, as everything comes and goes, there is a lot of Suffering. The third form is suffering from conditioned states (samkhara-dukkha). As everything is impermanent or transformative all forms that exist never live up to our (fixed) expectations.

The Focus of the second noble truth is on the origin of Suffering. According to Buddha the Suffering is caused by craving and aversion. By having desires for ourselves rather than for the whole there will be Suffering. The disturbances are caused by three poisons namely:

  • Ignorance, Misunderstanding of the ultimate Reality
  • Attachment, Attachment to pleasurable experiences
  • Aversion, The Fear of not getting what you want and vice versa

The Focus on Suffering does not make Buddhism a negative philosophy. According to the Buddha Teachings it is merely a practical assessment of the human condition. This becomes clear with the third noble truth namely the cessation of Suffering. It is the ending of all the unsatisfactory experiences and their causes. It also focuses on the not arising of these experiences. When a form of Suffering ceases a temporary state of Enlightenment may occur with the practitioner.

The fourth noble truth is 'the path to the cessation of Suffering' also known as The Noble Eightfold Path. The Noble Eightfold path is considered as the essence of the Buddha Teachings.

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