A Quick intro, just in case you didn’t read my “About” page. This blog is intended to take the reader into a slow introduction to Buddhism. I am not a teacher, I am a student and am using this as a learning tool. I welcome feedback from teachers and students alike and hope the comment section can be used for clarification and useful discussion. I will likely at times interject my own opinion on Buddhism and what it means to me or what it has led me to change in life.
The very first thing you should learn, other than the history of the Buddha, is the Four Noble Truths. The four Noble Truths are as follows:
- The truth of suffering (Life is Suffering)
- The truth of the cause (Where does the pain come from?)
- The truth of eradicating suffering (You can put an end to your suffering)
- The path to end suffering (following the Eightfold Path)
I am going to discuss only the first of the Four Noble Truths today. One item to note is that there are different translations of the Four Noble Truths but in the end, they associate with suffering. Let’s take a look at the term suffering and what it means in Buddhism.
You may look upon suffering If you broke your arms, had a painful cavity in your tooth, have a headache, a cold, the flu, a disease or cancer. These are examples of human suffering. There are other ways we suffer such as anger, hate, jealousy, attachment, ownership, anxiety, panic and/or fear. There are many other terms one could come up with, sometimes if you look at your own experience and how you treat others, you may be able to come up with other instances that did not cover that we could call suffering. I also look at the suffering of others. There are people who are needy, ill, homeless, in need of food and shelter. Maybe they don’t have many friends? Maybe they appear different?
To give some specific examples of my sufferings: There are times when I drive and become frustrated with the driver in front of me because they are going too slow. There are times while driving in city traffic that I become nervous, there are times when listening to someone talk about politics, I become annoyed. These too are examples of the use of the word suffering in the context of the first Noble Truth.
(Added 12/19/2014 12:30pm:)
I wanted to add that I have a friend who struggles with bad habits such as drinking and smoking. This too I consider a suffering. When he drinks, they do things that can cause other people harm. Drinking or sober, this friend also gets into arguments with people and clings to the opinion that only their views are correct. In effect, not only are they suffering but they also attempt to cause suffering to others. This is more my opinion than along the Buddhist teaching but the drinking, smoking and other bad habits can be a personal suffering.
You may notice, I am not offering any suggestions on how to eradicate or deal with these sufferings. The First Noble Truth is discovering these afflictions, dealing with them will be discussed when we discuss the other Noble Truths.
One item I recommend if you have not done so already, is to learn about the life of the Buddha. I will offer a generic wiki page but on the Internet, the resources are endless.