The Four Noble Truths
1. The Truth of Suffering (Kutai)
The Buddha declared that this world if full of suffering;
that actual existence including birth, decrepitude,
sickness and death is suffering and sorrow. This is called
the Truth of Suffering.
2. The Truth of the Cause of Suffering
The cause of human suffering lies in ignorance and Karma.
Ignorance and its resulting Karma have often times been
called "desire" or craving. The Buddha declared:
Verily it is this thirst or craving, causing the renewal of
existence, accompanied by sensual delight, seeking
satisfaction now here, now there - the craving for
gratification of the passions, for continual existence in
the worlds of sense.
3. The Truth of the Cessation of Suffering
The extinguishing of all human ignorance and Karma results
in a state known as Nirvana. This is the Truth of the
Cessation of Suffering.
4. The Truth of the Path to the Cessation of
The Truth of the Path to the Cessation of Suffering is the
Noble Eight-fold Path.
1. Right Views - to keep ourselves free
from prejudice, superstition and delusion and to see aright
the true nature of life.
2. Right Thoughts - to turn away from the
evils of this world and to direct our minds towards
3. Right Speech - to refrain from
pointless and harmful talk to speak kindly and courteously
4. Right Conduct - to see that our deeds
are peaceful, benevolent, compassionate and pure; to live
the Teaching of the Buddha daily.
5. Right Livelihood - to earn our living
in such a way as to entail no evil consequences.
6. Right Effort - to direct our efforts
incessantly to the overcoming of ignorance and selfish
7. Right Mindfulness - to cherish good and
pure thoughts for all that we say and do arise from our
8. Right Meditation - to concentrate our
will on the Buddha, His Life and His Teaching.
Since these eight paths can be put into the categories of
precepts, meditation and wisdom we can say that the path of
practice of Buddhism is the Three Vehicles of Learning. By
following the precepts we learn to control the body and
mind. Through mediation we learn to unify our mind. Wisdom
is attained by the practice of the above two and through
this wisdom all ignorance and passions are cut off and true
state of Enlightenment is then realized.
As we look upon Buddhism we find that the various ways of
explaining this state of Nirvana and the methods of
attaining that state of Enlightenment are not one. The
reason for this is that Buddha's sermons were like the
diagnosis of a good physician. Just as a physician
prescribes his medicine according to his diagnosis of the
patient, so the Buddha taught teaching which were simple or
complicated, high or low, according to the capabilities of
his congregation. Again, even though the sermon is the same
the disciples interpreted it differently. Thus, through its
long history Buddhism underwent many changes.