Four Noble Truths
After his awakening and the decision to pass his insights on to his fellow men for the benefit of the world, the Buddha held his first sermon at the Deer Park in Isipatana. It is referred to as the beginning of “Turning the Wheel of Truth”.
The core of the Teachings of the Buddha, upon which all Buddhist traditions are based, is “The Four Noble Truths” (ariya-sacca).
The First Noble Truth says
all existence is imperfect, unsatisfactory and subject to suffering. This is to be realised.
The Second Noble Truth says
the causes are ignorance, craving, and aversion which exist in one’s own mind. These are to be overcome.
The Third Noble Truth says
through the cessation of the causes, suffering also ceases. This is to be achieved.
The Fourth Noble Truth says
the Noble Eightfold Path as shown by the Buddha leads to the cessation of the causes of suffering. This is to be practiced.
The First Noble Truth says that all worldly forms of existence are unsatisfactory and can never make one completely happy. This first truth is also known as the “Buddha’s Diagnosis”.
The second truth contains the deeper diagnosis and comes to the conclusion that the roots of suffering are ultimately found in one’s own mind. This concludes the Buddha’s diagnosis.
The third truth expresses the realisation that the roots of our suffering can be destroyed. Through the elimination of these roots we can bring our suffering to an end.
And in the fourth truth, the Buddha gives us the therapy for our healing with his Noble Eightfold Path.
The Buddha shows us the way out of a cycle, a way we must travel ourselves.
This way is the “Noble Eightfold Path”, which can be divided into three main groups:
Knowledge and Wisdom (panna)
Ethical Action (sila)
Composure and Meditation (samadhi)
The many teachings of the Buddha are to be understood in the broadest sense as explanations of the Four Noble Truths. The practice and implementation of the Noble Eightfold Path is not to be understood as a hierarchical form, rather as a concurrent practice of all its elements.