I attended a class not too long ago that the teacher admittedly did not like discussing the Four Noble Truths, The Eightfold path and the basics of Buddhism. I thought this strange coming from a teacher. “…not that I haven’t gone over this a thousand times” was the response I received. Before I attended a meditation class for the first time, I thought it strange the leader was somewhat negative in his emails. I figured I misconstrued his email response but after the first meditation session I attended, I talked to him afterwards and I confirmed that his negativity was not misconstrued. Having good teachers is an asset but in this day and age, there are many different avenues to find teachings.
When I search for Podcasts and information online, I am always looking for different perspectives on the Four Noble Truths, Eightfold Path, 5 Precepts and the basics of Buddhism. I really enjoy the different angles people take in describing them and it serves as a reminder of what we need to practice.
You can go back through my blogs to read how I described the Four Noble Truths but 9 months after first posting them, I look at them differently. No longer do I apply these to other people*, the Four Noble Truths are what I would call something you want to work on intrapersonally. (* but I do believe if you want to improve your life, improve the lives of the people around you. I will leave that for a future blog: -> Intrapersonal vs Interpersonal)
It is important to note: Instead of using the word “suffering”, I am going to use the word dukkha because suffering isn’t an exact definition. Dukkha can also be defined as feeling unsatisfied, stress, being attached, feelings of anxiety and stress.
So the Four Noble Truths are:
- The Truth of dukkha
- The Truth of the Origin/Cause of dukkha
- The Truth that we can put an end to dukkha
- The Truth to the Path to End dukkha
and those 4 Noble Truths expanded a bit:
- The truth is, we all suffer from different afflictions. It’s true, it can be physical such as old age, sickness and disease. It can be attachment.
- The Origin/Cause is really how you mentally handle it and the truth is…
- We can end our dukkha/suffering, it’s true, there is a light at the end of the tunnel.
- The Truth is… There is a way to end it, there is a path, there is a practice, The Eightfold Path.
To be honest, the answer is really inside of you. It’s how you take any situation in your life and turn a negative into a positive.
If you are reading this for the first time, or hearing it for the first time, the concept may be foreign to you. This is why I continuously look to others to explain it in their own words. No matter how many times I listen to these basics being discussed, I learn something new. One of my favorite podcasts are podcasts by Gil Fronsdale. Recently I listened to one of his podcasts on the Four Noble Truths (and… I didn’t save it!!! Argh!) so I have to paraphrase what he stated. He said the Four Noble Truths was like early Hindu? medicine. There is a Sickness->Something caused the Sickness->The Sickness has a Cure->The Cure is ___ – —-> and it hit me like an epiphany. This is really how you need to tackle life. Figure out your suffering, figure out what is causing it and make mental practice to put an end to it. Even if you have no clue why you are (Angry, Attached, Jealous…etc) work at recognizing it and instead of creating a negative situation, find a way to make the situation positive. Even if you put your foot in your mouth, you still have time to admit it and turn a negative into a positive.
I mentioned a teacher and leader in the beginning of this blog and want to add that even the Buddha felt he learned all he could from some of his teachers and studied with different teachers. Eventually he found he had to figure things out on his own. I am one who likes to take a teaching and figure things out on my own. I also like to look upon everyone in my life as a teacher, There is always something I can learn from dealing with people, even if it is not a positive experience, I can reflect back and try to make future dealings with them a more positive experience.
Photo Credit: (My Bro, Anthony)