Tuesday, 1 December 2015

The Four Noble Truths

Hence we understand that the Buddha’s teaching is to know suffering and to know what causes it to arise.   And further, we should know freedom from suffering and the way of practice which leads to freedom.  He taught us to know just these four things.   When we understand these four things we’ll be able to recognize suffering when it arises and will know that it has a cause. We’ll know that it didn’t just drift in!  When we wish to be free from this suffering, we’ll be able to eliminate its cause.

Why do we have this feeling of suffering, this feeling of unsatisfactoriness?  We’ll see that it’s because we are clinging to our various likes and dislikes.  We come to know that we are suffering because of our own actions.  We suffer because we ascribe value to things.  So we say, know suffering, know the cause of suffering, know freedom from suffering and know the Way to this freedom.  When we know about suffering we keep untangling the knot. But we must be sure to untangle it by pulling in the right direction.  That is to say, we must know that this is how things are. Attachment will be torn out.  This is the practice which puts an end to our suffering.

Know suffering, know the cause of suffering, know freedom from suffering and know the path which leads out of suffering.  This is magga.  It goes like this: right view, right thought, right speech, right action, right livelihood, right effort, right mindfulness, right concentration.  When we have the right understanding regarding these things, then we have the path.  These things can put an end to suffering.  They lead us to morality, concentration and wisdom (sīla, samādhi, paññā).

We must clearly understand these four things.  We must want to understand.

We must want to see these things in terms of reality.  When we see these four things we call this saccadhamma.  Whether we look inside or in front or to the right or left, all we see is saccadhamma.  We simply see that everything is the way it is.  For someone who has arrived at Dhamma, someone who really understands Dhamma, wherever he goes, everything will be Dhamma.

(The Teachings of Ajahn Chah)