Monday, November 4, 2013



This wish of all beings, to be free from suffering is also the origin of religion. If there were no suffering, there would be no religion. If there were no birth, old age, sickness and death, there would be no suffering. A Buddha is born into this world to teach us how to end this suffering. The Buddha, Dhamma and Sanga would not evolve on this earth, if we do not experience suffering. The course suffering is understood differently by many depending on the stage of development reached by each individual. 

The Buddha says:
‘This is all I teach you, now as in the past: suffering and the cessation of suffering.’
In this brief sentence we have indeed the essence of the Buddha’s whole teaching. This twofold articulation is also found in the Four Noble Truths, which the Buddha proclaimed 2500 years ago and which will be equally valid 2500 years hence, namely:

    1.       The noble truth of suffering,
    2.       The noble truth of the origin of suffering,
    3.       The noble truth of the cessation of suffering,
    4.       The noble truth of the path leading to the cessation of suffering:

The first and the second noble truths deal with suffering, the third and the fourth with the cessation of suffering. 

The Four Noble Truths are formulated as follows:
1.     This is the Noble Truth of Suffering: Birth is suffering, decay
      is suffering, illness is suffering; sorrow, lamentation, pain, grief
      and despair are suffering; to be connected with one dislikes is suffering; to be separated from what one likes is suffering; not getting what one desires is suffering; in short the five aggregates connected with clinging are suffering.

2.     This is the Noble truth of the origin of suffering: It is that craving which gives rise to fresh rebirth and bound up with pleasure and desire, finds ever fresh delight, now here, now there, that is to say: craving for sensual pleasures, the craving for eternal existence, the craving for self-annihilation.

3.     This is the noble truth of the cessation of suffering: it is the complete and total annihilation of this craving, its dissolution, forsaking and renunciation, the liberation and detachment from it. 

4.    This is the noble truth of the path leading to the cessation of suffering: It is the Noble Eightfold Path, that is to say: right understanding, right thought, right speech, right action, right livelihood, right effort, right mindfulness, and right concentration.”

An excerpt from – “The Vision of Dhamma”- By Ven. Nyanaponika Thero

The Buddha explained that there is only one cause, one reason we experience suffering, and that is craving. Craving is the creator of the world. The whole of this world is nothing but craving in visible form, the embodiment and manifest from the will to exist. Our sense organs are the instruments, the tools for the satisfaction of this craving.
If you look closely, the “five aggregates” are connected with clinging or craving (tanha) is referred to in the first noble truth. They are: 
1   Body or material form (rupa)
2   Feeling (vedana)
3. Perception (sanna)
4   Mental formations (sankara)(e.g.,emotions and volition, thought processes and all other processes that do not come under any of the other groups)
5. Consciousness (vinnana);

We experience good days when we are not aware there is suffering in us. We may feel sorry for someone who is suffering at that time, but we are also glad that we are not experiencing it, forgetting that suffering is there all the time. It even exists even in pleasure, joy and happiness. Pleasure vanishes just when we want to catch hold of it. Every time we want to keep it, it disappears and we have to find it a gain. 

This body of ours cannot even sustain life unless it is constantly fed, cleaned, exercised and repaired.  The body is not the only sufferer. The mind is too. It won’t listen. It does what it pleases. It continues to think about things which have a tendency to make us unhappy. If that is not suffering what is suffering? The mind with its thinking and the body with its many parts are both suffering. The Buddha said there is only one cause, one reason we experience suffering, and that is craving or clinging. These three are craving for existence, craving for self-annihilation and craving for sensual gratification. These three are impossible to fulfil since they are subject to change and are impermanent. There is no way we can win. We are engaged in a hopeless struggle, and that is called real suffering. The Buddha explained that the five aggregates that are connected with clinging brings suffering and are defective and unsatisfactory. 

Anything that is impermanent and subject to suffering cannot be named as “I” or “mine.” If you to call them “mine” you should be able to control and handle the ownership of yours. One should be able to live with an ownership of your body, without facing old-age, sickness and death. Since existence is entirely comprised of in those five aggregates. All existence is therefore:

1.       Impermanent (anicca)
2.       Subject to suffering (dukka)
3.       Non-self (anatta)

 The way to cessation of all
suffering,which is liberation
 from freedom, is the fourth
noble truth, the noble eightfold
 path. This path is divided
into three parts: moral conduct
(sila), concentration (samadi)
 and wisdom (panna).

The right view is the first step because
it means that one has seen clearly that there is nothing else to be done in one’s life except to find the way out of suffering through a spiritual discipline. Although the right view is only mentioned at the beginning, the result of treading the noble eightfold path will be absolute right view. Right view includes the realization that is possible for every one of us to actually start practicing. Right view also means having an understanding of kamma and of a need to effect a change in one-self in order to get out of suffering. Not changing the world or its inhabitants or the people we happen to live with, but changing ourselves. We cannot eliminate problems but we can eliminate our own reactions. We can also eventually come to the end of the path which culminates in the right view of self, which is non-self. Right view is the essential foundation for entering into the spiritual path.

The moment of joy begins from the moment we see clearly that we are fighting a losing battle and trying
to have sense pleasures and protect ourselves from losing ego. This is
the moment of entering the path
and it is a moment of joy. This joyous feeling is important for meditation and meditation is important for treading the path. 

When one realises this truth, is able
to see the reality of nature as they
are and begins to tread the noble path, one gradually begins to cut down one’s fetters. This can be done through insight meditation. This gradual understanding of the process of reducing sensual desires and attachment to worldly things can bring much peace, harmony and happiness to oneself. When one experiences this concept of letting go, one will be able to gain inner peace and lasting happiness described by the Buddha.

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