Jesus taught that He isthe way and not simply one who showed the way as John 14:6 confirms:"I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to theFather except by me." By the time Guatama died, Buddhism hadbecome a major influence in India; three hundred years later,Buddhism had encompassed most of Asia. The scriptures and sayingsattributed to the Buddha were written about four hundred years afterhis death.
Our day-to-day troubles may seem to have easily identifiable causes: thirst, pain from an injury, sadness from the loss of a loved one. In the second of his Noble Truths, though, the Buddha claimed to have found the cause of all suffering - and it is much more deeply rooted than our immediate worries.
The Four Noble Truths : Secular Buddhist Association
The Buddha is often compared to a physician. In the first two Noble Truths he diagnosed the problem (suffering) and identified its cause. The third Noble Truth is the realisation that there is a cure.
it are embodied in the Four Noble Truths ..
The Four Noble Truths contain the essence of the Buddha's teachings. It was these four principles that the Buddha came to understand during his meditation under the bodhi tree.
Each branch of Buddhism follows the Four Noble Truths
Buddhism holds that the goal for humanity is to alleviate suffering. The Buddhist core principles about suffering and ending it are embodied in the Four Noble Truths:
1. Suffering exists
2. Suffering arises from attachment to desires
3. Suffering ceases when attachment to desire ceases
4. Freedom from suffering is possible by practicing the Eightfold Path
(Above from )
The Eightfold Path involves practicing the following: Right View, Right Intention, Right Speech, Right Action, Right Livelihood, Right Effort, Right Mindfulness and Right Concentration. ()
The words translated as "suffering" and "desire" encompass a wider meaning than they do in English.
The Pali* word translated as suffering is and carries the idea that suffering arises from impermanence, which is caused by being attached to this world, reality, or truth (called "conventional truth") in contrast to ultimate truth. Suffering includes even the concept of enjoying anything that is impermanent. This world and all that is in it is temporal in Buddhism. Enjoying something through this attachment is therefore suffering, because the enjoyment will come to an end. Having joy in anything that is temporal is suffering. (See explanation of at ).
"Desire" in Buddhism is more than wanting something; it is a grasping at or craving () for this life, world, or reality. Buddhism teaches that grasping at this world comes from "Ignorance of the self" (). The self is temporal and not real (i.e., the not-self, or ), thus keeping one in the cycle of rebirth. To believe that that this life is real and that you have an individual identity is illusory and hinders true awakening (also called enlightenment or realization), . The word Buddha comes from and means "the awakened one" ().
Many admire Buddhism because its teachings on ending suffering often include references to compassion. Compassion, , arises from wisdom and in Buddhism, wisdom is "understanding or discernment of the Buddha's teaching, especially the teaching of , no self" (). Compassion is the desire to free "all sentient beings" from rebirth. "Sentient beings" include all living creatures, including animals, residents of all the realms (similar to worlds of spirit beings), and demi-gods. One must be human to attain enlightenment, so compassion is needed for these non-humans (including demi-gods) to be reborn as human.
Suffering comes to an end when one escapes rebirth and attains Nirvana, which means "to extinguish." Nirvana is the state in which one has extinguished the notions of false reality and false self (the individual self which does not exist). Some Buddhists sects teach that Nirvana is "oneness with the Absolute" ().
The path also includes Buddhist meditation, Mindfulness, because the mind is part of this temporal reality and must be transcended in order to grasp true reality and shed attachment to this reality, which causes rebirth. Meditation is not done to calm anxiety, but to bypass the mind and reach a state of no-mind or no-thought so that one sees that there is an existence (the "true" self or Buddha nature) independent of his thoughts and mind. This "true" self (phrase for convenience, not a Buddhist term) is sometimes called the Witness and the "true" Buddha Mind sometimes referred to as Big Mind. Mindfulness meditation is to bring the meditator to realization that he is the Witness.
For this reason, the mind and thoughts are often popularly referred to as "monkey chatter," "monkey mind," or "mind chatter" by those in the West promoting Mindfulness. One must learn to control or tame the monkey mind so that Big Mind can take over (; ).
Buddha Mind is our real nature, the unconditioned 'Mind' - and words are metaphors here, remember - that lies beneath the conditioned monkey mind that is interdependent with the world with which it interacts. Moreover, the monkey mind, our everyday mind, is conditioned by our genes, our upbringing, our subconscious, our memories, fears and loves.
Doing Mindfulness over a period of time causes the worldview to shift; one can then allegedly realize his "true" nature and understand that the temporal world is not real. Therefore, the practice of Mindfulness is necessary to end suffering, according to Buddhist teachings.
Quotes from Buddhism
"Buddhism aims at the truth and if not everyone has the capacity to understand it yet, they perhaps will be ready for it in their next life" ().
"The doctrine of anatman (or in Pali) is one of the central teachings of Buddhism. According to this doctrine, there is no "self" in the sense of a permanent, integral, autonomous being within an individual existence" ().
"Very simply, our bodies, physical and emotional sensations, conceptualizations, ideas and beliefs, and consciousness work together to create the illusion of a permanent, distinctive "me."
The Buddha said, "Oh, Bhikshu, every moment you are born, decay, and die." He meant that, every moment, the illusion of "me" renews itself. Not only is nothing carried over from one life to the next; nothing is carried over from one to the next."
The basis of Buddhism is set out in the Four Noble Truths: 1) ..
The most common and widely known formulation of the Buddha's teaching is that which the Buddha himself announced in the First Sermon at Benares, the formula of the Four Noble Truths. The Buddha declares that these truths convey in a nutshell all the essential information that we need to set out on the path to liberation. He says that just as the elephant's footprint, by reason of its great size, contains the footprints of all other animals, so the Four Noble Truths, by reason of their comprehensiveness, contain within themselves all wholesome and beneficial teachings. However, while many expositors of Buddhism have devoted attention to explaining the actual content of the four truths, only rarely is any consideration given to the reason why they are designated noble truths. Yet it is just this descriptive word "noble" that reveals to us why the Buddha chose to cast his teaching into this specific format, and it is this same term that allows us to experience, even from afar, the unique flavor that pervades the entire doctrine and discipline of the Enlightened One.