The Four Noble Truths

The Four Noble Truths are the four fundamental categorical statements, propositions or axioms of the Buddha regarding the man’s progress in his samsaric existence and the way out of it and, hence forms the essence of his teaching. These four categorical statements are (i) There is dukkha. (ii) There is its arising (samudaya). (iii) There is its cessation (nirodha). (iv) There is the way (magga) leading to its cessation, The Buddha’s teaching on these four Truths form the theme of his first discourse delivered to his erstwhile companions, the pancavaggiya bhikkhus. This refers to these axioms as ‘Noble Truths’ (ariya sacca) or the ‘Four Noble Truths’ (cattari ariyasaccani).

The Buddha himself says in the Dhammacakkappavatta Sutta about the Four Noble Truths. It runs as follows:

The Noble Truth of dukkha (dukkha ariya sacca): Birth is Dukkha, decay is dukkha, sickness is dukkha, death is dukkha, association with things disliked is dukkha, separation from things liked is also dukkha, not getting what we desire too is dukkha. In brief the five aggregates of grasping are dukkha.

The Noble Truth of the arising of dukkha (dukkhasamudaya ariyacacca). It is that craving (tanha) which leads to renewed axistence, accompanied by delight and lust, seeking delight here and there, that is, (a) craving for sense pleasures (kama-tanha) (b) craving for continuous becoming (bhava-ta­nha) and (c) craving for annihilation (vibhava tanha).

The Noble Truth of the cessation of dukkha (dukkha-nirodha ariyasacca): It is the complete cessation, with detachment, of that very craving, its forsaking, renunciation, and its utter dispassionate cessation.

The Noble Truth of the Path leading to the cessation of dukkha (dukkha nirodhagamini-patipada ariyasacca): It is the Noble Eightfold Path (ariya atthangika magga) namely, (i) Right Understanding (ii) Right Thought (iii) Right Speech (iv) Right Action (v) Right Living (vi) Right Effort (vii) Right Mindfulness (viii) Right Concentration.

That it is through not understanding the Four Noble Truths that we have had to wander so long in this weary path of samsara. The enlightening impact the comprehension of the Four Noble Truths indicated by the Buddha’s own description of his awakening to the unsatisfactory conditions of life and to a way to overcome it. He says, “Thus monks anything that has not been identified previously, arise views, knowledge, wisdom and insight, and there arose (in me) light”.

The Buddha magnified these four noble truths of science that developed in India, regarding the diagnosis of disease. Namely roga (disease), hetu (cause), nivŗtti (rest), and sādhana (medicine). Starting from that, dukkha sacca is a universal truth that exists in suffering, samudaya-sacca explains its cause (diagnosis), nirodha-sacca focuses on treatment, and the recommended magga-sacca. Thus the four noble truths it contains the methodology to solve a problem, either physical or psychological.

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *