It is Buddha Jayanthi today and a good time to recall the four noble truths:
- The First Truth, brothers, is the fact of suffering. All desire happiness, sukha: what is good, pleasant, right, permanent, joyful, harmonious, satisfying, at ease. Yet all find that life brings dukha, just the opposite: frustration, dissatisfaction, incompleteness, suffering, sorrow. Life is change, and change can never satisfy desire. Therefore everything that changes brings suffering.
- The Second Truth is the cause of suffering. It is not life that brings sorrow, but the demands we make on life. The cause of dukha is selfish desire: trishna, the thirst to have what one wants and to get one’s way. Thinking life can make them happy by bringing what they want, people run after the satisfaction of their desires. But they get only unhappiness because selfishness can only bring sorrow.
- There is a Third Truth, brothers. Any ailment that can be understood can be cured, and suffering that has a cause has also an end. When the fires of selfishness have been extinguished, when the mind is free of selfish desire, what remains is the state of wakefulness, of peace, of joy, of perfect health called nirvana.
- The Fourth Truth, brothers, is that selfishness can be extinguished by following an eightfold path: right understanding, right purpose, right speech, right conduct, right occupation, right effort, right attention, and right meditation. If dharma is a wheel, these eight are it’s spokes.
~ Extracted from The Dhammapada, by Eknath Easwaran