How to apply the Four Noble Truths

to solve the problem

Penyaji: Khemanando Bhikkhu

              The Buddha’s teachings are based upon the solid foundation of truth in the Four Noble Truths which can be known by all. They are not believed by unknown basis which accepted on mere faith. They start from the centre of our very own undeniable direct human experience. The Buddha was only interested in showing us a clear direct path to true happiness. The Four Noble Truths form the heart of the Buddha’s teaching.  Those having directed perception of reality are noble because they are taught by the Noble one. By understanding it, we become ennobled. The Four Noble Truths mean Pali language called Catu Ariya Sacca. Catu means Four, Ariya means Noble and Sacca means Truth. When we read it in Pali and think of its meaning, it comes out slightly differently which is very interesting.

The Four Noble Truths consist of Suffering (dukkha), the cause of suffering (samudaya), the cessation of suffering (nirodha) and the path leading to the cessation of suffering (magga). The Four Noble Truths were first taught by the Buddha during His first sermon at the Deer Park in Isipatana (Benares) after He attained enlightenment. The sermon is called the Dhammacakkappavattana Sutta or the Teaching of the setting the wheel of Dhamma in Motion. He gave this sermon to the Five Ascetics namely; Kondanna, bhadiya, Vappa, Mahanama and Assaji. The sermon is given by the Buddha to them more than 2,500 years ago.

The first noble is dukkha or suffering. Dukkha or suffering means unsatisfactoriness, not just pain and not just suffering. Although pain and suffering are also part of dukkha, the meaning is much broader than pain and suffering. The real meaning of dukkha ariya sacca is the truth of suffering known by the Noble Ones or by the Enlightened Ones. Each of us knows suffering in our way and we might have our own understanding of suffering, but Dukkha Ariya Sacca means the truth of suffering. We understand the truth of suffering differently from the way ordinary people understand it. Ordinary people understand suffering or unsatisfactoriness in different way because they see it as personal. But to those who are enlightened, unsatisfactoriness is not something personal, it is impersonal.

The second Noble truth is Dukkha samudaya Ariya Sacca. It means the cause of suffering as understood by the Enlightened Ones. What is the cause of suffering? It is craving, attachment, desire, lust and anything synonymous of craving. For instance, we want to buy the mobile phone but we don’t have money. Eventually, we cannot get what we want because we don’t have money. It is the cause of suffering of our selves. Wanting something is in Pali called Tanha or craving. Tanha is the main point to make suffering growing up in our selves. We won’t suffer if we don’t have suffered in our selves.

The third Noble truth is Nirodha Ariya Sacca. It means the cessation of suffering or the Absolute Peace Known by Enlightened Ones. There is a peaceful state where there is no satisfactory experience. It is called Nibbana the extinguishment of craving (Lobha), aversion (dosa) and Ignorance (Moha). it is another kind of Paramatha Dhamma. The Buddha called it “Nibbana” because it is the end of Vana. Vana means craving or tanha. Nibbana is the cessation of dukkha. Desire is the origin the cause of the arising of dukkha. Desire can be eradicated by developing Panna or wisdom. Nibbana has been classified as two folds, namely: Sa upadisesa Nibbana and An upadisesa Nibbana. Sa upadisesa means Nibbana with the Khandas or aggregates remaining but An upadisesa Nibbana means Nibbana without the Khandas or aggregates.

The fourth Noble Truth is the Path leading to the cessation of suffering as understood by the Enlightened Ones. There is a path to lead us to this state of peace and true happiness. The path to cessation of suffering is the Noble Eightfold Path. The Noble Eightfold Path is a systematic and complete formula to rid dissatisfaction and attain true happiness. It contains everything needed for virtuous living, clarity of understanding and the attaining of wisdom. The eight factors of the Noble Eightfold Path is right understanding, right thought, right speech, right action, right livelihood, right effort, right mindfulness and right concentration.

In our daily life we always feel suffering in ourselves. We can prove it by self. For instance, when we want to buy mobile phone but we don’t have money. It is the cause of suffering in our life. Desire is one main to grow the suffering in our life. If we want to get something we have to work first. We work and gather the money after that we can buy mobile phone. After we buy mobile phone we will be free from suffering. It makes us be happy. The first truth state is our problem of suffering. The second state is the cause of the problem. The third state is the ideal state without the problem and the fourth truth states how this ideal state can be achieved. The Buddha is only drawing our attention to the fact that suffering is an inevitable part of life. It is a problem that all experience have to avoid from our life. It can be overcome with the attainment of Nibbana or True Happiness.

To realize the Four Noble Truths is the central task of the Buddhist life as they lead to True Happiness. We will discover that the structure of the Four Noble Truths is the most simple, logical and systematic problem solving formula possible. As these truths solve the ultimate problem of suffering, they are very important indeed. By the way to liberation at the moment of attaining Nibbana is when we realize the aspect of impermanence (anicca). It is being led unto Nibbana by the influence of signless emancipation. When we realize the aspect of suffering (dukkha) it is being led unto Nibbana by the influence of desirelessness emancipation. When we realize the aspect of Non self (anatta) it is being led unto Nibbana by the influence of voidness emancipation. Eventually, all desires, defilements and five khandhas are nothing.