Four Noble Truths of Buddhism Meaning

Encyclopedia of Buddhism by Subodh Gupta

The Four Noble Truths are fundamental teachings of Bhagwan Buddha that outline the path to the end of suffering. Below is the explanation in theory but one must have direct experience of all the four noble truths within one’s own body.

(1) The truth of suffering (dukkha): This truth acknowledges that suffering is a fundamental aspect of the human experience. Suffering can take many forms, including physical pain such as injury while playing or accidents or any other incident, emotional distress for example when relationships break up or during divorce or when someone close to heart passes away, and a general sense of dissatisfaction with life.

It is not limited to negative experiences, but can also include the fleeting nature of pleasure and the impermanence of all things. The truth of suffering is meant to be a realistic assessment of the human condition, rather than a pessimistic view of life.

(2) The truth of the cause of suffering (samudaya): This truth identifies the root cause of suffering as craving, aversion, and ignorance. Craving is the desire for pleasurable experiences and aversion is the avoidance of unpleasant ones. Ignorance is the lack of understanding of the true nature of reality, including the impermanence of all things and the lack of a permanent self.

These three factors lead to suffering because they create a cycle of desire and attachment that can never be fully satisfied.

(3) The truth of the end of suffering (nirodha): This truth states that it is possible to end suffering through the attainment of enlightenment, which is characterized by the complete cessation of suffering and the end of the cycle of rebirth.

Enlightenment is achieved by gaining insight into the true nature of one’s own reality and subsequently, craving and aversion diminish and ignorance is gone by sattipatthana.

Encyclopedia of Buddhism or Buddha teachings

(4) The truth of the path to the end of suffering (magga): This truth outlines the path to enlightenment, which is known as the Eightfold Path. The Eightfold Path consists of the right understanding, right intention, right speech, right action, right livelihood, right effort, right mindfulness, and right concentration. By following this path, an individual can cultivate the qualities and practices that lead to the end of suffering and the attainment of enlightenment.

Together, the Four Noble Truths provide a comprehensive overview of the Buddhist teachings on suffering and the path to its end. They are meant to be a practical guide for how to live a fulfilling and meaningful life, free from suffering.