December 1, 2012
The Eightfold Path And The Four Noble Truths
In this paper, I will be explaining the importance of the Four Noble Truths and the Eightfold path in the Buddhist religion. I will also explain why these two systems of rules and instruction on meditation are important to each other. They are important to Buddhist beliefs and apply to freedom of re-birth and the way of Nirvana. These noble ways of life need to be perfected in order to attain nirvana. The Eightfold path and the Four Noble Truths where arranged by Siddhartha Gautama as the substructure of all of his teachings. Although, many Buddhist have many differences in the way they practice Buddhism, Siddhartha’s teachings are honored and respected by all. For many Buddhist, the main goal in their current life time is to be freed from the cycle of re-birth “The Samsaric cycle” and reach Enlightenment.1 Rebirth can be explained as the renewal or renewed existence of one’s soul. Buddhist believes that people do not possess a soul or have a “permanent self.” It is believed, that who we are at any given time is made up of the five skandhas.2These five skandhas include; Physical factors, feelings, perceptions, volitions and awareness of consciousness. As long as these “forces are held together, a distinct separate being exists.”3 These skandhas forces are held together with Karma, and are the law of action that keeps one from dissipation.4 Karma is powered by desire and desire is what gives karma its power.5 The Buddhist believe in order to break the Samsaric cycle, one must reach Enlightenment. The Four Noble Truths and the Eightfold path is the path to follow to help rid the body and mind of desire and reach the state of nirvana.6 The first noble truth is “life is all suffering”, this can be defined that life and rebirth is ultimately unsatisfactory and is all suffering. In Buddhist terms this noble truth translates into Dukkah.7 Dukkah is most commonly translated into suffering, and suffering is by each person individually, and does not really mean physical suffering. Suffering in this case can mean emotional or physical suffering and more to the fact that no human is ever satisfied in their life. Humans may enjoy good times and satisfying relationships but as a whole the good times never last, relationships will all come to an end, and the sense of unhappiness is felt throughout life. Buddha specifically said in his teachings “these things are unpleasant: meeting with what you dislike, being parted from what you like, and not getting what you want. If you give it some thought you may start to realize that there is more than enough dukkha to go around for everyone.8 This noble truth is the basic human problem, and is the starting place to one spiritual journey. In order to begin ones spiritual journey in sync with the four noble truths one must know and admit that suffering you have in life is unavoidable. Once a person has made this realization they may proceed to the second noble truth. The second noble truth is “suffering is caused by craving”, This means that there is a reason for all of this suffering. Our ongoing desire, is a desire that cannot be relived, these desires include; the attachment to material possessions, people, and relationships. We as humans tend to have an idea that” the grass is always greener on the other side” meaning that what we desire we cannot always have. This uncontrolled desire causes most humans to be unhappy with their current situation whiles on the search for the next best thing.9 This noble truth inspires followers to look within themselves and recognize the root of their craving and desire. When people become entangled in the capacious realm of craving, life becomes an iniquitous cycle and rebirth is imminent. For a person a person to conquer the Samsaric cycle they must learn to control cravings and desires and become non-attached to people and things, in...
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