The Buddha’s first sermon after his Enlightenment centered on the Four Noble Truths, which are the foundation of Buddhism. The truths are:
The truth of suffering
When you hear that all of life is suffering, it does not sound like life it much fun! But part of what the Buddha was saying is that all of life is temporary, ephemeral, not permanent. This does for the bad things, as well as the good things. If we look at the Sanskrit word for suffering: dukkha, it actually translates to “incapable of satisfying”.
The truth of the cause of suffering
We suffer because we grasp at things, we try to grab onto them and make them permanent. This always causes us pain, because we cannot stop things from changing, no matter how much we try.
The truth of the end of suffering
Through the practice that the Buddha teaches us, we can end our grasping and desire to keep things permanent.
The truth of the path that frees us from suffering
There is a path for this practice, it is called the “8 fold path”. Every action of body, speech, and mind are addressed by the path. It is a path of exploration and discipline to be walked for the rest of one’s life. It is a way of living your life to end suffering, to become enlightened and to attain Nirvana.
For me, when I heard the the first two Noble truths, they made such perfect sense. They were very scary, because I could not visualize life without things that I love, that I am attached to, that I cling to. But at the same time, I wanted my life to change, to be better. The other thing that really drew me to Buddhism was some of the people that I met. They had such a peaceful way about them. I wanted to hang out with them and find out more about them.
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