The four Noble Truths are:
2. Samudaya, the arising or origin of dukkha
3. Nirodha, the cessation of dukkha and
4. Magga, the way leading to the cessation of dukkha
The Noble Truth Dukkha or Dukkha Aiya Sacca has been translated into English as suffering or pain. Often words like sorrow and misery are used to mean the Pali word “dukkha”. This has resulted in the misunderstanding by ordinary people who have misinterpreted the word to presume that Buddhism is pessimistic. In actual fact Buddhism is neither optimistic nor pessimistic but it is realistic. In Buddhism all things are looked at objectively. It tells you exactly and objectively in different ways.
Arising of dukkha (Dukkhasamudaya Ariya Sacca)
The second Noble Truth that is arising or the origin of dukkha is (Dukkha samudaya Ariya Sacca.) This is defined as follows. It is this thirst (Tanha-craving) which produces re-existence and re-becoming (Punobbhava) and which is bound up with passionate greed’ (Nandi raga sahagatha) and which finds fresh desire now here and there (tatratatrabhinandini) namely (1) thirst for sense-pleasures (kama tanha) (2) thirst for existence and becoming (bhava-tanha) and (3) thirst for nonexistence, self annihilation (Vibhava tanha)
Philosophical side of samudaya - origin of dukkha
To realize the philosophical side of the origin of dukkha one should possess some idea about the theory of karma and rebirth. There are four Nutriments (ahara) in the sense of “cause” or “condition” necessary for the existence and continuity of beings ie. (1) Ordinary material food (Kabalinkarahara), (2) contact or our sense organs (including mind) with the external world (phassahara) (3) consciousness (vinnanahara) and (4) mental volition or will (manosancetanahara). Of these four, the last mentioned mental volition is the will to live, to exist, to re-exist to continue to become more and more important. It creates the root of existence and continuity, striving forward by way of good and bad actions (kusala kusala kamma). Thirst, volition and mental volition and “karma” denotes the desire, the will to be, to exist and to re-exist.
Nirodha- the cessation of dukkha
The third Noble Truth is that there is emancipation, liberation, freedom from suffering, from the continuity of dukkha (Dukkhanirodha ariya sacca) which is Nibbana. However, it is extremely difficult to define the term Nibbana which is supramundane. The absolute Truth or ultimate reality is generally expressed in negative terms such as Tanhakkhaya” :extinction of thirst, (asamkhatha) “uncompounded” “unconditioned” Ragakkhaya” extinction of desire,” dosakkhaya” extinction of hatred and” mohakkhaya” extinction of illusion. Some parties tend to believe that Nibbana is self annihilation. However, Nibbana is not self-annihilation because there is no “self’ or “I” to annihilate. If there is any annihilation it is the annihilation of the illusion, of the false idea of self, It is not correct to believe that Nirvana is negative or positive.
The Fourth Noble Truth - Magga- the Path
The fourth Noble Truth is the way leading to the cessation of dukkha (Dukkhanirodhagamini-patipada ariya sacca). This is called the Middle path (Majjimapatipada) This is so called because it avoids two extremes: one extreme being the search for ultimate happiness through sensual pleasures. The other is the search for emancipation through self-mortification. Hence he abandoned both Attakilamatanuyogaya and Kamasukhalyukanuyogaya and found the Middle Path which is generally known as the Noble Eight Fold Path (Ariya Attangika Magga ) which led him the Nirvana. This is composed of eight categories or divisions namely Right understanding (Sammaditti),Right thoughts (Samma Sankappa), Right Speech (Samma Vaca), Right Action (Samma Kammantha),Right Effort(Samma Vayama),Right Mindfulness (Samma Sati) and Right Concentration (Samma Samadhi).
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