I think that most of us feel we want to know the truth about things. No on likes being lied to or deceived.
And certainly when it comes to religion, I think it is very much about truth seeking. Seeking universal truth, that makes sense out of this World and this existence.
Well, without ever dismissing any other religious beliefs, the Buddha taught that there are Four Noble Truths.
I want to try to break this down a little today.
Let’s start with why he chose the word Noble.
The word Noble has several meanings, but here are three that I think are most appropriate to what the Buddha intended.
1. of an exalted moral or mental character or excellence
2. admirable in dignity of conception, manner of expression, execution, or composition
3. possessing, characterized by, or arising from superiority of mind or character or of ideals or morals
So I see that the Buddha chose a word to describe these Truths that truly communicated their intention.
He did not say these are laws or rules. He said they are Noble, and he said they are Truth.
Looking at the First Noble Truth can be enough to put many people off from Buddha’s teachings. Because the First Noble Truth is “There is suffering”.
And who wants to suffer?
So many will stop right there, because they think that Buddhism sounds negative and depressing.
But Buddha saw that there is suffering in this life, and the first step to eliminate suffering is to recognize it’s existence.
It’s like having a water leak in your house; if you just ignore it, it is not going to go away. The first thing you have to do, is accept and acknowledge that you have a problem before you can begin to fix it.
So I see the First Noble Truth as one that is very liberating. I do see there is suffering. Suffering in my own life, and suffering in the World around me. I am aware that closing my eyes to this does not make it stop.
I am also aware that wishes and prayers have never put an end to suffering.
The reality is the First Noble Truth, there is suffering. Period.
Then the Buddha gave us the Second Noble Truth, the origin or cause of suffering. Suffering arises from attachment to desires.
So one can immediately see that hopes, wishes and prayers are a desire. We take a strong attachment to these desires, and are continually saddened by unfulfilled or just temporary results. Continuing on this path simply puts us in a circle of suffering (Dukkha). Over and over again, we desire, attach, become disappointed and suffer.
Again, this is just the Noble Truth. If any of us examine our own reality honestly, you will see this truth.
In the Third Noble Truth, the Buddha makes it clear that suffering ceases when attachment to desire ceases.
This only makes sense. By examination we see the cause of our suffering. But letting go of these desires and attachments eliminate this for us.
And lastly, the Fourth Noble Truth tells us that freedom from suffering is possible by practicing the Eightfold Path.
So to me, The Four Noble Truths which are the foundation for Buddha’s teaching, are very positive and happy.
He gets us to accept the reality of things, see the cause of it, explain how to let it go, and gives us a clear path to follow.
This is why I say Namo Buddhaya, because it means I bow (pay homage) to the Buddha. Because I thank him for his teachings and guidance. That he has shown a way for all living beings to live in peace.
Loving kindness, compassion, and mindfulness are the backbone of the dhamma.
So I hope you can see that these are not my truths or your truths. These are universal truths. These are Noble Truths.
May you all be free of suffering. May you be well, happy and peaceful.