The Four Aryan (or Noble) Truths are perhaps the most basic formulation of the Buddha’s teaching. They are expressed as follows:
1. All existence is dukkha. The word dukkha has been variously translated as ‘suffering’, ‘anguish’, ‘pain’, or ‘stress’. The Buddha’s insight was that our lives are a struggle, and we do not find ultimate happiness or satisfaction in anything we experience. We are constantly arguing with reality as it is and this makes us suffer.
2. The cause of dukkha is Tanha or craving. The natural human tendency is to blame our difficulties on things outside ourselves. But the Buddha says that their actual root is to be found in the mind itself. In particular, our tendency to grasp at things (or alternatively to push them away) places us fundamentally at odds with the way life really is.
3. The cessation of dukkha comes with the cessation of craving. As we are the ultimate cause of our difficulties, we are also the solution. We cannot change the things that happen to us, but we can change our responses.
4. There is a path that leads from dukkha. Although the Buddha throws responsibility back on to the individual he also taught methods through which we can change ourselves, for example, the Noble Eightfold Path.
As you know, there is plenty of links and websites that can tell you what the First Noble Truth is and that is helpful but at the same time, it is good to see what it means to everyday ordinary people and how it translates in our to daily lives.
Our Sangha focuses on what we call Everyday Buddhism, and this comes from the teachings of our root inspiration in Gyomay and Koyo Kubose Senseis of the Bright Dawn Way of Oneness that some of our members received their lay ministry training. So instead of a bookish definition, we want to share down to earth, real-life explanations of the Four Noble Truths. Below, you will find links to personalized explanations of each noble truth from members of our Sangha, that come for all different walks of life, and how they have engaged with each of the Four Noble Truths in their personal lives and what it means to them.
Click on an image below corresponding to the Noble Truth you want to explore.