About 2, 500 years ago, Lord Buddha arrived in our midst to show us the true meaning of life and impart to us the true knowledge of human existence. He left for our benefit his immortal teachings that are considered pearls of the world philosophy even centuries after his demise. Know about the "Four Noble Truths" - considered to be one of the most important parts of Lord Buddha's teachings. If you like reading about "The Four Noble Truths", please share this article to your friends and dear ones. Happy Buddha Purnima to all of you!
The holy occasion known as Buddha Purnima commemorates the birth, enlightenment and ultimate liberation of Lord Buddha, the founder of Buddhism. This great soul is supposed to have born in 563 B.C. as prince Siddhartha in the royal household of Nepal. Secluded from normal life and surroundings until his youth by his father, who had been predicted of his son's getting inclined to spirituality in his young days, Siddhartha grew up to realize his destiny as soon as he entered the sphere of worldly people. The sight of a diseased man, an old man, a corpse one after the other filled him with curiosity and upon being told by his charioteer that everyone including himself was to meet the same fate, he was greatly disturbed. When he came by a calm ascetic, he resolved to overcome all human sufferings by living the life of asceticism.
He left his family and all worldly possessions to pursue the way to end all human miseries that came in the form of old age, illness and death. For years, he meditated on the true self of being and gained the ultimate knowledge. Years later, he came to understand why human life was full of sufferings. Not content with his own salvation, he imparted his hard-acquired knowledge to his followers and whoever was ready to listen to him. In lucid terms, he described the causes of human misery. These causes, as delineated by Lord Buddha, are known as "The Four Noble Truths" and appear many times throughout the most ancient Buddhist texts - the Pali Canon. The "Four Noble Truths" throw light on:
a) The Nature of Suffering
b) The Origin of Suffering
c) The Cessation of Suffering and
d) The Path leading to the Cessation of Suffering.
The four truths are said to be among the realizations that dawned on Lord Buddha during his long hours of meditation beneath the Bodhi tree. These are:
The Nature of Suffering (Dukkha) - A little reflection on our part can show us that the world is full of suffering. Our birth is in itself a painful process, so is ageing, illness and death. But the interim period between life and death is full of suffering which results from our union with what is displeasing, separation from what is pleasing, inability to get what we want and getting what we do not want (such as grief, pain and despair). In short, all existence is unsatisfactory and filled with suffering.
The Origin of Suffering (Samudaya) - According to Buddha, all our sufferings have their origin in our desires, accompanied by delight and lust, craving for lowly joys, fame and approval from fellow beings, sensual pleasures and suchlike. It is this constant thirst for earthly pleasures that leads to renewed existence, that is, our bondage to the world - the haven of all misery.
The Cessation of Suffering (Nirodha): The purpose of human birth is to work on attaining the permanent cessation of suffering. Everyone of us have faced suffering at some point of our lives. Some of us may not be experiencing misery at this moment but such a state devoid of suffering is temporary. Suffering is an integral part of human life and each of us has to face misery again and again in this life and in countless future lives. To stop this cycle of suffering, we should develop strong renunciation for this endless cycle, and resolve to attain enlightenment ourselves and to lead every living being to that state, which alone can bring about the permanent cessation of suffering.
The Path to the Cessation of Suffering (Marga): The cessation of suffering can only happen if we are able to bring about a complete ethical, moral, mental and spiritual transformation in ourselves for the better. This can take place if we follow each of the precepts mentioned in the Noble Eightfold Path that consists of right view, right intention, right speech, right action, right livelihood, right effort, right mindfulness, right concentration.
More than 2, 500 years have passed since the demise of this great soul and yet, his teachings have as much significance today as during his own times.