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Four Noble Truths (Reviewed). Dukkha (lack of satisfaction) is a fundamenal and pervasive pattern in human experience. 2. Tanha (craving) for identity and permanence is the cause of dukkha . 3. Cessation of craving for identity and permanence dissolves dukkha .

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Four noble truths reviewed
Four Noble Truths (Reviewed)

  • Dukkha (lack of satisfaction) is a fundamenal and pervasive pattern in human experience.

    2. Tanha (craving) for identity and permanence is the cause of dukkha.

    3. Cessation of craving for identity and permanence dissolves dukkha.

    4. There is a path to cessation in eight coordinated practices.

Exploring the eightfold path the path to cessation of dukkha

Exploring the Eightfold Path:The Path to Cessation of Dukkha

Clear Seeing and Intentional Living

Four noble truths reviewed

The Eightfold Path: Preliminaries

Right Association

Not one of the eight practices, but the context in which the Buddha believed they could best be cultivated. Just as anxieties are absorbed by the company we keep, so also is freedom from anxiety. We absorb psychological toxicity and health equally from our immediate environment.

1. The Right View: Know the four noble truths. Not mere “beliefs” but an experiential knowing of dukkha, the conditions of its arising, and the conditions of its cessation.

2. The Right Intention: “Intention of renunciation, intention of non-ill will, intention of harmlessness.”

Four noble truths reviewed

The Eightfold Path: Sila (Morality)

3. The Right Speech: “Abstinence from false speech, abstinence from malicious speech, abstinence from harsh speech, abstinence from idle chatter.”

4. The Right Action/Conduct: “Abstinence from the destruction of life, abstinence from taking what is not given, abstinence from sexual misconduct.”

Buddhist Five Precepts

Do not kill.

Do not steal.

Do not lie.

Do not be unchaste.

Do not take intoxicants.

Four noble truths reviewed

The Eightfold Path: Sila (Morality)

5. The Right Livelihood: Avoid occupations that harm other living beings.

The import of 3, 4, and 5 is to examine:

the effects of one’s activity on oneself

the motivation behind the activity

Each person must determine this for herself, as only the individual can ultimately verify or confirm the truth about the rising and cessation of dukkha associated with one’s own personal sphere activity.

What activity is right/useful for cessation?

Four noble truths reviewed

6.The Right Effort: Mentally striving for mastery over evil unwholesome thoughts.

Intentions, actions, and living are born from thought.

Striving is necessary, for it is difficult to uproot tendencies.

Four noble truths reviewed

The Eightfold Path:

Bhavana (“Mental Cultivation”)

7.The Right Mindfulness: Lending attention to every state of body and mind (e.g., perceptions, thoughts, and feelings).

The Result

Seeing impermanence (anicca) of the bodily and mental

Seeing that tanha is the cause of dukkha

Seeing that there is no individual, separate self behind the body and mind

In this way, mindfulness facilitates non-attachment.

Four noble truths reviewed

8.The Right Concentration: Penetrate deeper levels of consciousness through inward examination, passing from inner security and happiness to complete equanimity beyond all dualities.

The Buddha recommended a single object as the focus for developing right concentration, often one’s own breath or pattern of breathing (following the “in-breath” and “out-breath.”)

One might move from mindfulness to concentration or from concentration to mindfulness, but each aspect of bhavana (that is, 7 and 8) is mutually reinforce.

The Buddha’s more detailed teaching concerning meditation practice will be explored in the Satipatthana Sutta – “the Discourse on the Four Arousings of Mindfulness.”

Four noble truths reviewed

The Eightfold path leads to the cultivation of six perfections:







Mastering the mind
Mastering the Mind perfections:

  • The Buddha’s teachings on the development and mastery of the mind assume that the mind is a great obstacle to cessation.

  • Five Hindrances to Mental Development

    • Sensual Lust

    • Ill Will

    • Dullness and Drowsiness

    • Restlessness and Remorse

    • Doubt

Two foundational aspects of mental training
Two Foundational Aspects of Mental Training perfections:

  • Serenity (Samatha) = mental calmness through concentration.

  • Insight (Vipassana) = experiential and penetrative seeing.

Samatha and vipassana
Samatha and Vipassana perfections:

  • Serenity (samatha) is usually cultivated first and then insight (vipassana).

  • However, aptitudes of meditators vary, and therefore alternative approaches are accepted.

    • A monk may develop or cultivate “serenity preceded by insight.”

    • A monk may develop or cultivate “serenity and insight joined together.”

Four establishments of mindfulness
Four Establishments of Mindfulness perfections:

  • Concentrate, observe, or focus attention on one or more of four fields:

    (1) The body, including breathing.

    (2) Feelings or bodily sensations

    (3) States of the mind (e.g., calm, turbulent, confused, clear).

    (4) Mind objects or thoughts.

Contemplating the body
Contemplating the Body perfections:

  • The Buddha directs concentration to the body

    Focus on breathing, body parts, composition of body, and notice impermanence in them all.

  • The Buddha also directs concentration to feelings or bodily sensations (vedana).

    Focus on feelings or sensations that arise from different parts of the body, and notice whether they are pleasant, unpleasant, or neutral.

  • Internally = one’s own body, externally = the body of others.

Contemplating the mind
Contemplating the Mind perfections:

  • The Buddha directs concentration to states of mind.

    Focus on what arises and passes away in general states of mind or moods, whether the mind is clear, confused, turbulent, calm, worried, confident, etc.

  • The Buddha directs concentration to mind objects or thoughts, or what he calls phenomena in phenomena.

    Focus on five hindrances, five aggregates (body-mind) as subject to clinging and impermanence, and four noble truths.

Four noble truths reviewed

What is seen? perfections:

Anicca (impermanence)

Anatta (no self or lack of self-existence)

Dukkha (lack of satisfaction)

How are these seen?

With equanimity – choicelessly and non-reactively

What is the result?

Nibanna: the cessation of craving and lack of satisfaction.

The experiential nature of vipassana
The Experiential Nature of Vipassana perfections:

“Those truths of which before I had only heard, now I dwell having experienced them directly within the body, and I observe them with penetrative insight.”

– Sariputta (Buddha’s disciple)