Four Noble Truths

Friday, October 21, 2011



Recently we watched George Harrison: Living in the Material World, an amazing two part HBO documentary.

The film contained interviews that discussed the period when The Beatles first became interested in Eastern Religion and Transcendentalism. There was a letter read that George had written home to his Catholic father from India, where he was studying under the Maharishi. It was an explanation of sorts, about how happy the teachings made him, how it did not have to conflict with the way he was raised, but simply add to his understanding. I started to wonder..........

A trip to the library and I have a stack of books on Buddhism, Inner Revolution, and Happiness. This is how I approach a topic of interst.....obsessively read about it.

Half way through the first book, I have to admit I am fascinated. A lot of what I am reading seems insightful, comforting, and helpful!

My Notes: (so far)

  • The most important key to understanding the path to enlightenment is the set of Buddha's teachings known as the Four Noble Truths.
  • First Noble Truth: All life is permeated with suffering. To live is to suffer.
  • Second Noble Truth: Suffering is caused by craving or attachment.
  • Basically, it is not our experiences that directly cause the suffering. It is the fixation or clinging response that we take up regarding these impressions.
  • Example, it is not the experiences that money affords us, nor is it the material objects themselves that are the problem. It is the craving, wanting, desiring appetites, which we become obsessed with repeating and sustaining, that actually cause the suffering.
  • Suffering flows from clinging attachment, which mistakes impermanent things and sensations for lasting and permanent realities.
  • Attachment is a confusion, in the mind and the heart, that tries to capture or solidify that which is forever in flux.
In life, and especially when blogging it can be difficult to avoid getting caught up in the desire to have all sorts of beautiful things and experiences. Sometimes it feels impossible to stay grounded and focused on what is truly important and valuable!

The Third Noble Truth states that the cure for suffering is nonattachment, or the cessation of craving. The Fourth Noble Truth has eight steps or stages of practical realization, referred to as the Noble Eightfold Path. The Eightfold Path is a set of prescriptive attitudes and activities that will lead to the extinction of suffering: it is the path of freedom.

Sounds promising, right?!

3 comments:

Amanda said...

Beyond promising. I'm certainly not a devout student but have found, like GH did, that there's a lot in Buddhist teaching that can layer onto existing belief systems almost like yoga for the spirit. If he didn't make your current reading list, grab yourself a little Thich Nhat Hanh.

Elisa @ Globetrotting in Heels said...

"it is not the experiences that money affords us, nor is it the material objects themselves that are the problem. It is the craving, wanting, desiring appetites, which we become obsessed with repeating and sustaining, that actually cause the suffering."

Isn't that the truth. And it perfectly summarizes today's society, doesn't it?

Siddy Says said...

I yeaaaaarn to simplify my life sometime, to be happy in the being to quit wanting more and more... I always struggle with it. Started doing Art of Living sometime back... It's a meditation and yoga workshop started by an Indian Guru but I feel like a lot of what you have mentioned here is embodied in that... My journey continues slooooowly and steadily, wishing you all the success with yours
xx
Siddy

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