Saturday, July 27, 2019

The Four Noble Truths and the Life of Siddhartha Gautama Essay

The Four Noble Truths and the Life of Siddhartha Gautama - Essay Example To live means to suffer. Throughout our lives, we experience suffering irrespective of we want it or not. Everything in life leads to suffering of one form or another, sometime physical and sometimes psychological. Both physical and psychological sufferings such as tiredness, sickness, pain, old age, injury, depression, frustration, disappointment, fear, sadness and finally death are inevitable. Life is not all about suffering as we do experience positive feelings such as happiness and comfort. But to believe that life is all about such positive experiences and emotions is to live in a delusion. Life is not perfect and definitely not complete. The world we live is subject to impermanence. Everything changes, and positive emotions and feelings also do change. It is not always possible to get what one wants. Therefore, suffering is an integral part of life and everybody experiences it in one form or another and to variable degrees. Life is a suffering is the first of the four noble tru ths1. This is illustrated in Buddha’s life when he goes on ride through the countryside. During his journey he saw an old man, a sick man and a corpse. This signifies the hard realities and suffering of life which no one can escape: old age, sickness and death2. Noble Truth of Origin of Suffering Being attached to things that are transient and the ignorance that they are transient is the cause of all origin. It is in this attachment and ignorance that lays the origin of suffering. Transient things are not just limited to physical objects but include everything from our ideas to concepts. Nothing is permanent and constantly changes. Attachment to these transient things and ignoring the fact that they will not remain forever is the root cause of suffering. That is, craving and clinging on transient things is what causes suffering. Desire, popularity, fame, passion, wealth, prestige, ardour, self image, etc are the various transient things that lead to suffering3. This is illust rated in Buddha’s life when he leaves the palace and goes in search of enlightenment. But his father, the king, had always believed that the palaces he had created were enough to keep his son happy and in turn keep him happy. All that he had created for his son were transient and as a result had created him a transient environment. But it all fell apart when Buddha decided to give up everything and this caused a lot of pain and suffering to the king. He was attached to his son and the things that he had created for his son4. Noble Truth of Cessation of Suffering The suffering can be stopped and the way to do it is to eliminate the cause of the suffering. That is, the suffering can stopped by eliminating the conceptual attachment and sensual craving. Therefore, the suffering can be overcome by detaching from the transient things which are the cause of suffering. It is by attaining and perfecting complete dispassion that the suffering can be completely removed from one’s life5. Buddha gave up all transient things in search of enlightenment. He left all the pleasures and attachments of the palace and decided to live as a ascetic. He also detached himself from human bonds of family (father, wife and son). He eliminated all causes of suffering from his life6. Noble Truth of the Way to the Cessation of Suffering The path to cessation of suffering is one of self-improvement. The path to self improvement is neither of the

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