II. The Four Noble Truths


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    To achieve nirvana is to attain a supreme state of mind, from a mind of defilement to one of purity, from duality to the absolute, from conditioned to the unconditioned, from a mundane being to the Holy One, to be forever freed from all suffering and abide in bliss.

Fourth Noble Truth: The Path

    The last of the Four Noble Truths is the Path: the path to cessation of suffering, the way to nirvana. The Buddha Dharma is meant to be put into actual practice and not just be a theoretical study. So understanding how to traverse the Path is very important. The Noble Eightfold Path will take us from samsara to liberation, making nirvana a reality, not a speculation.

    The Noble Eightfold Path is not the only Path. There are also the Twelvefold Causal Chain and the Six Paramitas, all very important practices that lead to nirvana and Buddhahood. However, among these methods, the Eightfold Path is the most fundamental of all.

    The word "noble" can also be translated as "holy", "of the Sages", "righteous", etc. It is a Path by which we can purify ourselves of the Three Poisons and reach nirvana.

    The Noble Eightfold Path comprises of the following: Right Understanding, Right Thought, Right Speech, Right Action, Right Livelihood, Right Effort, Right Mindfulness, and Right Samadhi. Together they can be viewed as sequential steps in our practice, but each step also stands on its own as an important aspect of a well-rounded practice.

Summary

    We have briefly explained the Four Noble Truths. The Four Noble Truths also follow the Principle of Causality: the first Truth, Suffering, is the consequence of delusion. The second Truth, Causes of Suffering, explains the causes that lead to suffering. They are the cause and consequence of mundane existence. The third Truth, Nirvana, is the consequence of enlightenment. And the fourth Truth, the Path, is the cause leading to nirvana. They are the cause and consequence of noble, liberated existence. By following the Eightfold Path, everyone can achieve liberation.


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