Live every act fully as if it were your last.
- If you find no one to support you on the spiritual path, walk alone.
- When you realize how perfect everything is you will tilt your head back and laugh at the sky.
- You only lose what you cling to
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Four Noble Truths – dukkha and its ending
The Buddha teaching the Four Noble Truths. A Sanskrit manuscript. Nalanda, Bihar, India.
The Four Truths express the basic orientation of Buddhism: we crave and cling to impermanent states and things, which is dukkha ,incapable of satisfying and painful. This keeps us caught in saṃsāra, the endless cycle of repeated rebirth, dukkha and dying again. But there is a way to liberation from this endless cycle to the state of nirvana, namely following the Noble Eightfold Path.
We expect happiness from states and things which are impermanent
The truth of dukkha is the basic insight that life in this mundane world, with its clinging and craving to impermanent states and things dukkha, and unsatisfactory. Dukkha can be translated as “incapable of satisfying,” “the unsatisfactory nature and the general insecurity of all conditioned phenomena” ; or “painful.” Dukkha is most commonly translated as “suffering,” but this is inaccurate, since it refers not to episodic suffering, but to the intrinsically unsatisfactory nature of temporary states and things, including pleasant but temporary experiences. We expect happiness from states and things which are impermanent, and therefore cannot attain real happiness.
In Buddhism, dukkha is one of the three marks of existence, along with impermanence and anattā (non-self). Buddhism, like other major Indian religions, asserts that everything is impermanent (anicca), but, unlike them, also asserts that there is no permanent self or soul in living beings (anattā). The ignorance or misperception (avijjā) that anything is permanent or that there is self in any being is considered a wrong understanding, and the primary source of clinging and dukkha.
Clinging and craving produces karma
Dukkha arises when we crave (Pali: tanha) and cling to these changing phenomena. The clinging and craving produces karma, which ties us to samsara, the round of death and rebirth. Craving includes kama-tanha, craving for sense-pleasures; bhava-tanha, craving to continue the cycle of life and death, including rebirth; and vibhava-tanha, craving to not experience the world and painful feelings.
Dukkha ceases, or can be confined, when craving and clinging cease or are confined. This also means that no more karma is being produced, and rebirth ends. Cessation is nirvana, “blowing out,” and peace of mind.
By following the Buddhist path to moksha, liberation, one starts to disengage from craving and clinging to impermanent states and things. The term “path” is usually taken to mean the Noble Eightfold Path, but other versions of “the path” can also be found in the Nikayas. The Theravada tradition regards insight into the four truths as liberating in itself.