Buddhist Beliefs: The Four Noble Truths

Hi everyone! Welcome to The Enthusiastic Buddhist.
In this episode I’m going to be talking about the Four Noble Truths and I’ll briefly introduce The Noble Eightfold Path. These are considered to be the very core of the Buddha’s teachings and fundamental to all the different schools of Buddhism. After the Buddha gained Enlightenment in Bodhgaya in India, he walked to Sarnath in Varanasi where he met with the five meditators he had previously practiced with. It was these five men who had the very good fortune to receive the first sermon the Buddha ever gave. And the first teachings the Buddha spoke on was the Four Noble Truths. Now the First Noble Truth is The Truth of
Dukkha. Dukkha is a Pali word that can be translated as suffering or dissatisfaction.
In this First Noble Truth the Buddha said: “Suffering, as a noble truth, is this: Birth
is suffering, aging is suffering, sickness is suffering, death is suffering, sorrow and
lamentation, pain, grief and despair are suffering; association with the loathed is suffering,
dissociation from the loved is suffering, not to get what one wants is suffering – in
short, suffering is the five categories of clinging objects.” So what the Buddha was saying is that to live, means to also experience suffering or dissatisfaction at some point our lives. He wasn’t saying that our
lives are thoroughly depressing and all we experience is suffering so therefore we should
just pray for an early death! Instead, in the First Noble Truth the Buddha is simply
highlighting a fundamental truth about our existence and one we might have overlooked,
or one we might have been in some denial of. I mean we’re all seekers of happiness, so
it’s sometimes difficult to accept that life is really a mixture of pleasure and pain.
The Buddha is just waking us up to this fact and telling us not to be so surprised when
we do experience suffering or unease – it really shouldn’t come as such a shock. And if we are suffering,
we shouldn’t take it personally and think that we’ve made the wrong move. You know,
we shouldn’t blame ourselves and think we choose the wrong partner, the wrong career or something like that. Suffering or dissatisfaction is just a natural part of our human existence. And knowing this should actually bring some relief because it means we can relax even in times of great difficulty, because with time, suffering or dissatisfaction will pass and change into happiness again. And fortunately the Buddha didn’t stop at
the First Noble Truth and say, ‘Yep, you are all going to have to experience suffering. That’s it! See you later guys!’ Instead he also taught the Second, Third and Fourth Noble Truth,
which were to diagnose why we suffer and explain how we can become free of all sufferings completely, forever, and the steps we need to take to get there. Now I want to look at the First Noble Truth
in a bit of detail before we move onto the others. The Buddha was a lot like a doctor;
he carefully looked at our situation and examined all our problems first. In the First Noble
Truth the Buddha really dissects our suffering and reveals that everyone, no matter who they
are, will experience these particular types of suffering, and we can look at these one
by one and investigate the truth for ourselves: So the first one is that birth is suffering.
Well we only have to see that at birth both the mother and child are usually in a lot
of discomfort (to say the least!). The baby being squeezed out of this very narrow opening that’s probably very unpleasant, and coming out of its nice liquidy placenta the baby is subjected
to many experiences that would probably seem very harsh and painful at first. Now of course, there is great joy that accompanies the birth of a baby, right? Well, the Buddha never denied that there was also happiness in our life, he was just pointing to the truth that
suffering exists as well in these events in particular. The next one is Aging is suffering. So most
of us are going to experience this suffering first when our parents or grandparents start
to age. On a personal note, in June this year, my mother, who leads a life busier than most
20 year olds I know, had a series of strokes, which left her in hospital for six weeks while
she tried to learn to walk again. And I can tell you that no one in my family was having
much fun during those six weeks, it was terrible suffering for all of us. But fortunately she’s
back home and she’s doing well now. But not only are we going to experience
the suffering of old age as our loved ones start to age, we’re also going to experience the suffering of aging firsthand as we lose our youth, our beauty, our energy and our abilities. I mean in terms of beauty, the cosmetic industry is never going to go broke because of all of us women who are desperately trying to stay young and look beautiful. And you can’t say that this
desperation is not some form of suffering. The next one: Sickness is suffering – Now
unless you have a job that you hate, or a school that you don’t want to go to, I don’t recall anyone
ever saying that they enjoy being sick. Everyone hates being sick. Whether it’s a small cold,
or something serious like cancer, sickness is suffering and nobody wants it. Death is suffering. Death may sometimes be
a relief from certain suffering, for instance if the person is in a lot of pain. But then there’s still the grief and suffering of those who are left behind. “Sorrow and lamentation, pain, grief and despair
are suffering…” Well, I think that’s pretty self-explanatory. “association with the loathed is suffering…”
For instance, when we’re having to spend time with people we don’t get along with, or be
in a place or environment that we don’t like – these are forms of suffering because we
want to be elsewhere or with different people. “dissociation from the loved is suffering…”
For example, if we have to be separated from our loved ones, by death or by distance because one of us is travelling, we miss them and we suffer because of this. “not to get what one wants is suffering…”
Surely we can all understand this one, not getting what we want usually makes us frustrated,
angry and depressed, even. It doesn’t even have to be something so important that we want. It
could be as simple as going to our local grocery store and not being able to buy the type of
milk that we want. Or we wear something nice in the hope of getting attention and praise,
but nobody notices and compliments us, so we suffer. Or we move to another city for
a new start but we still don’t find the happiness we were hoping for and again we suffer. These are just some examples of this type of suffering. Now, these examples of old age, sickness and
death, you could say that the Buddha used to highlight that suffering is a part of our life. But he wasn’t saying that suffering is restricted to only these experiences. It may be hard
for us to fathom at first, but feeling dissatisfied is a common bond that we all share, no matter who we are. Whether we’re rich, poor, famous, ordinary, beautiful or ugly – no one is completely
satisfied with their present experience: we are constantly looking for something more,
or something different. Even if we aren’t suffering from the main
forms of suffering (like sickness, old age, and death), we still suffer from our dissatisfaction
with the present moment. For instance, there’s the suffering of relationships. You know, we might suffer because we want one but don’t have one, or even when we’re in a relationship we’re also not
satisfied. Then there’s the suffering of employment You know, we suffer when we don’t have a job, and even when we have a job we are dissatisfied with our work or our colleagues. Then there is even the suffering of wanting the weather to be different! Everything we experience seems to be tinged
with this underlying suffering or dissatisfaction. And our dissatisfaction then manifests in
us trying to accumulate more, or improve on what we have, for instance: we’re not happy so we go shopping for more clothes, or we try to exercise to get a better figure, or organise a trip away with
our partner – all these activities are motivated by the wish to find some everlasting satisfaction and happiness. And we live our lives plagued with a constant feeling that true lasting
happiness always seems to be one step ahead of us. We seem to believe things like, ‘Oh, once I get married then I’ll be happy, or once I pay off my mortgage then I’ll be happy, or once I retire then I’ll
be happy!’ And we all have these or similar beliefs. So we keep striving towards this goal of happiness somewhere in the future. Meanwhile we’re never satisfied with what we have in the present moment. So
because of this dissatisfaction – we suffer! And you’ll notice that, if you take a look around, that everyone is doing this. Everyone has this belief that happiness is out there and attainable, but if you look around you will see that no one is really 100% happy. So the Buddha then went on to explain the
reason why everything we experience is tinged with dissatisfaction. He taught the Second
Noble Truth which was the Noble Truth of the Origin of Dukkha (the origin of suffering or dissatisfaction). The Buddha explained to us that dissatisfaction or suffering arises not because there is something wrong with the things out there,
it’s because of our own mental state that we suffer. Our unsatisfactory experiences come from three main causes: our mental craving, aversion and ignorance but primarily he says here that it’s because of our craving. He said: “The origin of suffering, as a noble
truth, is this: It is the craving that produces renewal of being accompanied by enjoyment
and lust, and enjoying this and that; in other words, craving for sensual desires, craving
for being, craving for non-being.” Craving here means our desire, greed or wanting. In Pali, the word used is ‘tanha’, which means thirst. So thirst, craving for what we want, craving
to get rid of what we don’t want, craving to be someone or somebody, for instance trying to live up to our own concepts of who we are or what we want others to think of us. All this craving leads to dissatisfaction and suffering. Each and everyone of us is caught up in this game, and we’re so involved in it that we can’t see it. We are always trying to arrange our lives
in a way that is pleasant and happy to us. But no matter what, we’re never 100%
happy. Because we’re constantly crave for more, materially, emotionally, mentally, spiritually, and because of this we experience pain. We might want to be more attractive, have more money, more friends, have a better job, have better relations
with our in-laws, or we want we want more excitement in our lives. We expend so much
energy on trying to acquiring these things, but we never seem to reach the point where we can sit back and say ‘That’s it, this is happiness, I don’t need anything more.’
In fact, the craving is endless, so much so, that people are still craving for something
else when they breathe their last breath. So it’s this endless craving and desire which
is the primary reason for our dissatisfaction. Also our craving, we have the craving of wanting permanency or stability, and that’s only going to lead to disappointment as well, because there is nothing, no object,
no person, no phenomena that can ever remain permanent, so unless we come to understand
that everything is impermanent and unreliable, we suffer because our desire doesn’t
match reality. One way we can identify what our cravings
are is to also take a look at our expectations. Craving usually manifests as expectations. For instance, we might expect our partner to act a certain way in a certain situation. So we’re craving for this, and if we don’t get it, we’re angry and upset and ultimately we suffer. Now fortunately the Buddha didn’t stop at
the 2nd Noble Truth. He went on to explain the Third Noble Truth which is the Noble Truth
of the Cessation of Dukkha. So there is an alternative! We can completely
rid ourselves of this dissatisfaction. Suffering can be extinguished if we remove its cause.
The Buddha said: “Cessation of suffering, as a noble truth, is this: It is remainderless
fading and ceasing, giving up, relinquishing, letting go and rejecting, of that same craving.”
So if we can let go of craving, then we can extinguish our suffering. This is fantastic news, it’s
not all morbid, it is not all doom and gloom! There is an end to suffering. There is a way
to end dukkha, to end this fire of craving and the rolling ocean of emotions that usually accompanies it. What a relief! And the secret is to let go of our craving. If there was
ever a Buddhist motto, it would be two words, ‘Let go.’ The analogy used
often used is that the cessation of dukkha is like a fire being put out – that the burning
has ceased. And this burning is really a mental burning – this burning of the mind that continues to crave and not find satisfaction in the present moment. But to extinguish this craving
that causes so much suffering in our minds, we need to train our minds in a different
way. So it was in the Fourth Noble Truth that the Buddha taught The Truth of the Path Leading
to the Cessation of Dukkha which explains exactly how we start on the path of releasing us from our craving and dissatisfaction. The Buddha said: “The way leading to cessation
of suffering, as a noble truth, is this: It is simply the noble eightfold path, that is
to say, right view, right intention; right speech, right action, right livelihood; right
effort, right mindfulness, right concentration.” The Buddha taught that by learning to use
our three doors (of our body, speech and mind) skillfully, it would lead to present and future
happiness. Especially by learning to refrain from unskilful actions (of our body, speech and mind), it would remove so much unnecessary suffering. So by controlling our body, speech and mind in ways that helps others, instead of harming them, and by generating wisdom
in our minds – we can end suffering. Therefore, true happiness is achievable through
personal endeavor. Now I’ll be going over the Noble Eightfold
Path in more detail in future videos. Meanwhile there are some great articles and free ebooks that I highly recommend that you read. I’ll put links to these on my website, Enthusiastic
Buddhist.com. I just want to quickly mention that some cravings
in life are actually helpful and indeed encouraged. These are cravings to live a life of virtue
and non-violence, wanting to meditate, to have peace and discover who we truly are – these are considered wholesome cravings that we shouldn’t be trying to eliminate as they are necessary in the
beginning of any spiritual path. And we shouldn’t fear that our life would be boring, uninteresting or nothing without craving. We can still live in the world and make plans for the future
without craving, you just wouldn’t have all your happiness contingent on achieving a particular
goal. You could actually be bountifully happy right now. In fact, a person free of craving
is said to experience the greatest happiness, peace and bliss in their body and mind because
they’re fully present in the moment and have no need for anything else. Their
life isn’t boring and bland, in fact everything is new and all their actions are free and
spontaneous because they aren’t worried about meeting the expectations of others. So having
a life free of craving is not something to be feared but something to aspire to. So what cravings can we identify in our lives that might be causing us unnecessary suffering? What cravings do we need to let go of? It
might be our craving for our partner or child to be different from who they are? Or our
craving to be the next millionaire? I know my craving of wanting to see everyone just
get along is something out of my control and something I need to let go of to have some
peace of mind. Or my craving for my parents to live forever is a big one that I’m constantly having to drop. So what cravings can you see in your mind? We all have them, whether they’re obvious to us or not. So anyway, that’s all from me for now, please subscribe to my
channel for future videos. Please like and share this video if you found it helpful.
So have a lovely week everyone and I hope to see you in the next video.

100 thoughts on “Buddhist Beliefs: The Four Noble Truths

  • Happy to subscribe to your channel. Been learning so much from you. Thank you, my fellow Buddhist

    Kisses to your Mom. Good health and love to you all

  • Buddhism is more about a philosophy of a happy life. If others view it as a religion, it is a religion of peace and love as the Dalai Lama described it.

    Peace, love and happiness to all beings.

  • Hi Mindah. Love your videos. One question: We hear a lot about the causes of suffering. My question is what are its effects. What is its function? Where does it take us? What changes does it makes on us? I hope you can give us your insights. Thanks a lot!!

  • Thanks, Minda. I am learning so much from you.

    Every weekend I spend a day to study and learn more about Buddhism through books and your videos.

    May you continue your good work and sharing your knowledge with us.

    Sincere wishes of happiness and Metta 😆

  • ocumentation always to carry what india welath of art their working of business and trade and thier invention almost looted from india to make a welathiest country that is what said time to time

    what are the things looted form a country we dont c that documentation all that some one written and develop art of writing this all that secndary prmary our scinece invention and library almosted looted by other country by war
    thus documentation

    age old practice of astrolgy scinece predicted exactly what would be the life of king in the stages of life

    did lot of ducmentation devalue the astrolgoy and our astrology almost looted this is not documented properly any worlds of videos carried this how we c how a documentaiton carried about roots

  • @Mani oomen craving or desire is not evil but in spiritual term we suggest to detach from desire and cravings not because they are evil but we talk of evolving your desire through detachment. What you desire at the age of ten, become meaningless at the age of 25 and at the age of 45. Desire or crave something that makes real meaning.

  • thank you so much for explaining the 4 noble truth in a way i can understand it better. as ive searched for the deeper meaning and understanding on these for many months now, and most explanations are hard for me to understand, or comprehend due to some of the difficult words they use in their explanations.
    i just have a question i would like an answer to if you can….or anyone who is reading this and can help me by explaining it in a way, so i can totally say " ahhh, now i get it" lol ……………………… my question is this………
    for example, if someone on purpose would hurt you, either a girl gets raped or someone steals your money on the streets…… or even, if someone knows you well enough, to hurt you in a way that only they know , this would hurt you the most….. in other words, they know your weak points and use that into hurting you deliberately, in order for some type of revenge or power control …………
    why should the victim feel as if its their fault, why cant the victim feel or even say ITS THAT PERSONS FAULT , AND BECAUSE OF THIS PERSONS HORRIBLE ACTIONS TO ME, I NOW…SUFFER BADLY WITH MENTAL AND EMOTIONAL PROBLEMS .
    for example…….if someone tourchered someone, should the victim get legal justice in a court of law, or just let it go and hope karma will sort it out…. because a buddhist ones told me, that, you cant blame anyone for anything, you created this agony yourself ????? well…. i'm sorry, but the victim should not be made to feel as if their to blame for some punk, who decided to torture or rape her in my view…..please help me in explaining this , help me to understand what is what please ????????

  • Galatians 5:16 This I say then, Walk in the Spirit, and ye shall not fulfil the lust of the flesh.5:17 For the flesh lusteth against the Spirit, and the Spirit against the flesh: and these are contrary the one to the other: so that ye cannot do the things that ye would.5:18 But if ye be led of the Spirit, ye are not under the law.5:19 Now the works of the flesh are manifest, which are these; Adultery, fornication, uncleanness, lasciviousness,5:20 Idolatry, witchcraft, hatred, variance, emulations, wrath, strife, seditions, heresies,5:21 Envyings, murders, drunkenness, revellings, and such like: of the which I tell you before, as I have also told you in time past, that they which do such things shall not inherit the kingdom of God.5:22 But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith,5:24 And they that are Christ's have crucified the flesh with the affections and lusts.5:23 Meekness, temperance: against such there is no law.5:25 If we live in the Spirit, let us also walk in the Spirit.

  • Thank u for the enlightenment. Now I understand something that alluded me for a long time. ..why the constant craving inside me

  • The Four Noble Truths:
    1. Buddha is fat
    2. The sky is blue
    3. Chinese are good at math
    4. And know Kung Fu

  • Buddhism is not a religion, but the truth. It's not spelled out for you. The answers aren't given to you on the pages of a blessed book. They are within. Only revealed through deep & honest reflection. When you realize truth on your own, it just makes perfect sense. Om Mane Padme Hum.

  • Thank you so much for this video. I have an AS level exam tomorrow and this is very helpful 🙂

  • Can you look at craving as an expectation that is never met which creates an imbalance in us as a result of impermanence?

  • I sought enlightenment/nirvana for many years but I never came to a state of equanimity. I still experience suffering and I am defeated. Now I just accept that life has suffering. I accept my times of suffering, of frustration, of happiness, of joy, of sorrow, and my times of pain. From my experience this is just how life is so I just accept it and no matter what I am experiencing I remind myself that this too shall pass. I try to take the middle path in every area of my life. I have given up the pursuit of enlightenment. I decided that this I idea I had of enlightenment, a state of continual bliss, was just another concept, I was chasing so I gave it up. Now all I am left with is the same old person that started seeking to begin with.

  • I have a question about the second noble truth? What kind of craving leads to suffering? Is it any kind of craving?

  • Thank you Mindah-Lee Kumar. That was a superb presentation. I learnt the methodology of Theravada Buddhist Meditation in 1980. And I still use it to this day. But I still go to Church at Christmas and have a Christmas Tree, and keep a Buddha-Statue-Image in my front room. Christianity and Buddhism both teach of a God of Loving Kindness and Compassion so I have no problem with this amalgamation.

  • Please, one thing I don't understand is that the Buddha said he reached enlightenment! Who told him this ? or did he just come to this conclusion. I am in no way putting down this philosophy. I just don't understand. Thankyou.

  • I really appreciate you sharing these videos! I have been on my spiritual path for a couple yrs now and it seems to be leading me to some form of Buddhism. Watching this video and 'The Noble Eightfold Path' video you made helped me understand more of what Buddhism is about and where I am going spiritually as this peaceful path is what I am seeking for my life! Thank you soo much!

  • Another fact of death that she does not mention is that one is not free to chose where one will be reborn. You are simple blown away by strong karmic forces from mainly this and infinite past lives. As long as one has not reached nirvana one has to go through death again and again.

  • I think that "Minimalism" is a good philosophy to develop when you are trying to diminish your cravings….Cheers.

  • All very good thank you. Only one objection that is " Craving to do good". As I understand any cravings or desires in any shape or form is not good. One can have the "will and effort" to do good for reasons explained on the video but I would not conform it as a Craving. As Cravings , attachment and desires will only lead to suffering no matter what it is.

  • I LOVE YOU!!! These bastc fundamental teachings will give one 80-90% reality. I'll add no high highs or low lows ethical career ethical treatment of others including animals avoid Matrix mind control open chakras. Suffering is part of this dense existence and coming to terms with it frees you up.

  • I found it beautiful, the way of speech in which you conveyed things. It was pleasant and fluent and a very good introduction to some of the things composing Buddhism. Thank you.

  • I've found the Buddhist beleifs, practices & honesty to be a refreshing guide to the human condition. On a personal note I kicked heroin through practicing the Buddhist guide. It's been my conviction since finding these truths to try & plant the seed when the opportunity presents itself. Cheers from Orlando

  • it is not a beliefs.
    if one needs to beliefs, it is still not proven or mystical.
    it is practically true.
    the four noble truths. when practice teaches us the basic cause & effect of all sentient being.
    acceptance of the truth and understanding the truth is very important in life.

  • Hey guys forget Buddhism. Here is the REAL reality:

    Jesus Christ died on a cross to save people from their sin, according to the bible. You and I broke God's law but Jesus paid our fine. Then Jesus rose from the dead, 3 days later, thus defeating death(Romans 5:8).

  • If you want to know a very beneficial reason why suffering can never be entirely eliminated go to https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EtvIOLeXJZ8

  • I highly recommend that shurangama sutra is most important sutra.

  • Ur explaination spoil the beauty of the lines . I thought u will only say what Budha said. U have added many 'masala' Sorry i feel noisy. Anyway i appreciate your work you have the right to say whatever u like.

  • There is a story about Buddha's life in less than 5 hours. It is called "This Have I Heard [English]. The origin came from Thai and translated to English.

  • I just gave a Christian response [short talk] to Buddhism you might find interesting. Thanks

  • Great video! I love the fact that when i come to watch buddhist videos, there are such positive comments and people making videos. Same with Alan Watts videos. 👍👍👍👍 Must be why ive been buddhist for the last 20 years….

  • I have a craving for your inner and outer beauty. I must control this craving and focus on your life lessons. You are gorgeous.

  • Thank you. Am just starting to live in Thailand, and hearing a simple (and really practical) summary of the 4 noble truths was very helpful — for a lesson in the basics of Buddhism, which seem to be the values that permeate the culture where I now am.

  • I love Buddha, but he could use some more dancing and singing and joy ! 🙂 https://youtu.be/nLgM1QJ3S_I
    Buddha's mistake, letting go of all desire, all cravings, all drives – and you turn into a sponge.
    It's good to Be Able to let go of drives, cravings, sufferings, desires – so you are in control of your mind.
    But, AFTER you learn how to let go of everything, don't. Decide what is beneficial to you, decide for yourself, and use those desires and motivations to improve your life. Help your family, grow your love, increase your bonds with your spouse, raise your children.
    Sure you can abandon the Universe and escape The Circle of Life – if that is what you Desire. (!)
    But WHY ? We LIVE. We LOVE. We WILL. This is our Nature, this is our Being.
    Meditate, Understand, and select the desires you find most beneficial – and use them accordingly. https://youtu.be/KSfA0i6Typw
    You can always return to nature and re-center your being to maintain harmony. https://youtu.be/1HQZKjlxcts?t=393

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