Buddhism Complete Guide | Four Noble Truths | Eightfold Path

Updated On: 1-May-2022

What is Buddhism ?

Buddhism is one of the world's largest religion, originated in India. It was founded by Siddhartha Gautama.

Buddhism started with arousing of buddha in fifth or sixth century b.c.e at Bodhgaya. The Buddha's progenitors, were individuals from a respectable Kshatriya's (warrior) class occupying a fringe region on the northeastern Ganges River plain just underneath the Himalayan lower regions. Gautama (descendant of the sage Gotama)

The Bodhisattva's dad, Suddhodana, was the main noble of the town of Kapilavastu, the remaining parts of which have been probably recognized by archaeologists on the present-day outskirt among India and Nepal. Seven days in the wake of conceiving an offspring. Maya passed on.

Suddhodana wedded her sister, Mahaprajapati, who raised the youthful Bodhisattva. At the point when he happened to age, he was hitched to a lady (named Yasodhara in a large portion of the records) whom his dad had chosen. At the appointed time, Yasodhara bore Siddhartha a child, whom they named Rahula (Fetter)


Renunciation

He lived a life of extreme luxury, with a separate palace for each of the three Indian seasons. On gaining maturity, however-and realizing that he, as other beings, was subject to aging, illness, and death-he lost all intoxication with youth, health, and life.


Shaving off his hair and beard while his parents watched on with tearful faces, I:J_e left home for the life orphaned ascetic wanderer in order to seek the "non aging, non ailing, deathless, sorrowless, un defiled, un excelled security from bondage, nirvZi!Ja" (A.III.38; M.26-see Abbreviations, p. xviii).

King Suddhodana, from the very beginning, had tried to prevent his son from leaving the palace by tying him down with sensual pleasures, not only by arranging his marriage but also by surrounding him with young songand-dance women and every other delight a man might desire. One day the young prince, longing to see the outside world, went out for a chariot ride through the capital city.

There, for the first time, he saw a decrepit old man. Shocked, he asked his charioteer about the man's condition; the charioteer replied that such is the destiny of all human beings. The prince turned back to the palace and brooded in melancholy.


On a second ride, he saw his first diseased man and reflected that people are foolish to revel under the constant shadow of illness. On the third trip, he saw his first corpse. Dismayed, he marveled that people could live heedlessly, forgetting the certainty of death.

In an artfully composed dialogue, the king's counselor advises the yo).lng prince to disregard his disturbing encounters and to follow the example of bygone heroes and sages in pursuing the pleasures of erotic love. The Bodhisattva's reply is an eloquent statement of the ascetic case against the sensual life. Sensual joys are fleeting; death always casts its long shadow over life and blights all such transient happiness. The only true happiness would be one not subject to change.

What is the nature of birth and death?

The fundamental premise of Hinduism is that birth and death are the two alternating phases in the seemingly endless cycle of transmigration. This cycle has been set in motion by ourselves in the distant past, and the ultimate goal of all spiritual practice is to end this cycle. The cessation of this cycle of transmigration is known as “liberation” (moksha or the “end of becoming” — nirvana)

The brooding prince rode out again, observed the peasants plowing, and unlike the ordinary patrician-was moved to grief at the suffering of the toilers and oxen, and even at the slaughter of worms and insects by the plow.

While meditating on the truth of suffering, he saw a religious mendicant and made up his mind to leave the household life, for only as a renunciate would he have the chance to follow rigorously the Path of mental training to see if it led to the impeccable happiness-beyond the reach of aging, illness, and death-that he sought.

he prince took a last look at his sleeping wife and infant son, mounted his horse, and rode out of the city, accompanied by his charioteer. After traveling a fair distance, Siddhartha dismounted, sent his charioteer back to Suddhodana with his ornaments and a message, then cut off his hair and exchanged clothes with a passing hunter.

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  • He declared that he had attained the Deathless; that he was going to teach the Dharma; and that if they practiced as he taught, they would quickly realize it for themselves.

    The Buddha then declared the Four Noble Truths. The first is the truth of dukha (suffering), found in every aspect of conditioned existence: birth, aging, death, grief, lamentation, pain, distress and despair; conjunction with the hated, separation from the dear; and not getting what one wants.

    In short, the five skandhas (aggregates) ofsustenance for becoming-form, feeling, perception, mental formations, and consciousness-entail suffering. The second is the truth of the origination of suffering: the thirst or craving that leads to renewed becoming, endowed with passion and delight for this thing and that; in other words, craving for sensuality, for coming to be, and for no change in what has come to be.

    The third is the truth of the cessation ofsuffering: When craving ceases entirely through dispassion, renunciation, and nondependence, then suffering ceases. The fourth is the truth of the path of practice leading to cessation of suffering, the Noble Eightfold Path.

    1. The Noble Truth of the reality of Dukkha as part of conditioned existence.

    Dukkha is a multi-faceted word. Its literal meaning is "that which is difficult to bear". It can mean suffering, stress, pain, anguish, affliction or unsatisfactoriness. Each of the English words is either too strong or too weak in their meaning to be a universally successful translation.

    Dukkha can be gross or very subtle. From extreme physical and mental pain and torment to subtle inner conflicts and existential malaise.

    2. The Noble Truth that Dukkha has a causal arising.

    This cause is defined as grasping and clinging or aversion. On one hand it is trying to control anything and everything by grabbing onto or trying to pin them down, On the other hand it is control by pushing away or pushing down and running away or flinching away from things.

    It is the process of identification through which we try to make internal and external things and experiences into "me and mine" or wholly '"other" than Me. This flies in the face of the three signs of existence - Anicca, Dukkha. Anatta - Impermanence. Stress or Suffering and No-Self.

    Because all conditioned existence is impermanent it gives rise to Dukkha, and this means that in conditioned existence there is no unchanging and permanent Self.

    There is nothing to grasp onto and also in reality, nothing or no 'one' to do the grasping! We grab onto or try to push away ever changing dynamic processes. These attempts to control, limit us to little definitions of who we are.

    3. The Noble Truth of the end of Dukkha

    The Noble Truth of the end of Dukkha, which is Nirvana or Nibbana. Beyond grasping and control and conditional existence is Nirvana. "The mind like fire unbound." The realisation of Nirvana is supreme Bodhi or Awakening.

    It is waking up to the true nature of reality. It is waking up to our true nature. Buddha Nature. The Pali Canon of Theravada, the foundational Buddhist teachings, says little about Nirvana, using terms like the Unconditioned the Deathless, and the Unborn.

    Mahayana teachings speak more about the qualities of Nirvana and use terms like, True Nature, Original Mind, Infinite light and Infinite life. Beyond space and time. Nirvana defies definition.

    Nirvana literally means "unbound' as in "Mind like fire unbound". This beautiful image is of a flame burning by itself. Just the flame, not something burning and giving off a flame. Picture a flame burning on a wick or stick, it seems to hover around or just above the thing burning.

    The flame seems to be independent of the thing burning but it clings to the stick and is bound to it. This sense of the flame being unbound has often been misunderstood to mean the flame is extinguished or blown out. This is completely opposite to the meaning of the symbol.

    The flame "burns" and gives light but is no longer bound to any combustible material. The flame is not blown out - the clinging and the clung to is extinguished. The flame of our true nature, which is awakening, burns independently.

    Ultimately Nirvana is beyond conception and intellectual understanding. Full understanding only comes through direct experience of this "state' which is beyond the limitations and definitions of space and time.

    4. The Noble Truth of the Path that leads to Awakening.

    The path is a paradox. It is a conditioned thing that is said to help you to the unconditioned. Awakening is not "made" by anything: it is not a product of anything including the Buddha's teachings. Awakening, your true nature is already always present.

    We are just not awake to this reality. Clinging to limitation, and attempts to control the ceaseless flow of phenomena and process obscures our true nature.

    The path is a process to help you remove or move beyond the conditioned responses that obscure your true nature. In this sense the Path is ultimately about unlearning rather than learning - another paradox. We learn so we can unlearn and uncover. The Buddha called his teaching a Raft.

    To cross a turbulent river we may need to build a raft. When built, we single-mindedly and with great energy make our way across. Once across we don't need to cart the raft around with us. In other words don't cling to anything including the teachings.

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    Quote Of The Day
    "To live a pure unselfish life, one must count nothing as one's own in the midst of abundance."
    - Buddha

    However, make sure you use them before you let them go. It's no use knowing everything about the raft and not getting on. The teachings are tools not dogma.

    The teachings are Upaya, which means skillful means or expedient method. It is fingers pointing at the moon - don't confuse the finger for the moon.

    Eightfold Path filll up

    1. Samma-Ditthi — Complete or Perfect Vision

    also translated as right view or understanding. Vision of the nature of reality and the path of transformation.

    2. Samma-Sankappa — Perfected Emotion or Aspiration

    also translated as right thought or attitude. Liberating emotional intelligence in your life and acting from love and compassion. An informed heart and feeling mind that are free to practice letting go.

    3. Samma-Vaca — Perfected or whole Speech

    Also called right speech. Clear, truthful, uplifting and non-harmful communication.

    4. Samma-Kammanta — Integral Action

    Also called right action. An ethical foundation for life based on the principle of non-exploitation of oneself and others. The five precepts.

    5. Samma-Ajiva — Proper Livelihood

    Also called right livelihood. This is a livelihood based on correct action the ethical principal of non-exploitation. The basis of an Ideal society.

    6. Samma-Vayama

    Complete or Full Effort, Energy or Vitality. Also called right effort or diligence. Consciously directing our life energy to the transformative path of creative and healing action that fosters wholeness. Conscious evolution.

    7. Samma-Sati

    Complete or Thorough Awareness. Also called "right mindfulness". Developing awareness, "if you hold yourself dear watch yourself well". Levels of Awareness and mindfulness - of things, oneself, feelings, thought, people and Reality.

    8. Samma-Samadhi — Full, Integral or Holistic Samadhi

    This is often translated as concentration, meditation, absorption or one-pointedness of mind. None of these translations is adequate. Samadhi literally means to be fixed, absorbed in or established at one point, thus the first level of meaning is concentration when the mind is fixed on a single object. The second level of meaning goes further and represents the establishment, not just of the mind, but also of the whole being in various levels or modes of consciousness and awareness. This is Samadhi in the sense of enlightenment or Buddhahood.