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Notes on The Four Noble Truths

This is a study aid on the Four Noble Truths. It does not serve as the essence of the Truths; rather, it amplifies the Truths and the Eightfold Path. More information is found in the Reference section.
From Sylvia Boorstein's book Pay Attention, For Goodness' Sake (and other sources on the Internet) comes a refreshing new perspective of the Four Noble Truths:

• 1) Life is challenging. For everyone. Our physical bodies, our relationships-all of our life circumstances-are fragile and subject to change. We are always accommodating.
• 2) The cause of suffering is the mind’s struggle in response to challenge.
• 3) The end of suffering - a non-struggling, peaceful mind - is a possibility.
• 4) The program for ending suffering is the Eightfold Path. It is:
∘ 1. Wise Understanding: realizing the cause of suffering;
∘ 2. Wise Intention: motivation to end suffering;
∘ 3. Wise Speech: speaking in a way that cultivates clarity;
∘ 4. Wise Action: behaving in ways that maintain clarity;
∘ 5. Wise Livelihood: supporting oneself in a wholesome way;
∘ 6. Wise Effort: cultivating skillful (peaceful) mind habits;
∘ 7. Wise Concentration: cultivating a steady, focused, ease-filled mind;
∘ 8. Wise Mindfulness: cultivating alert, balanced attention.

Regarding the First Noble Truth, the original word in Pāli, "dukkha", means "unsteady, disquieted". In this sense of the word, mental unrest is the closest description of suffering.

At the root of suffering is craving that leads to existence, seeking delight i.e. craving for existence. With respect to mental unrest, anxiety and depression are due to this craving.

Originally, the Pāli word for "craving", "Taṇhā", literally means "thirst" yet is idealized as unwholesome "desire". Traditionally it is the opposite of "peace of mind".

"Craving" is the eighth link in the twelve parts of dependent arising.

However, Taṇhā (craving, unwholesome desire, wish, and thirst) includes the desire for material objects or sense pleasures, and especially the desire for life and death, the desire for fame and infamy, the desire for sleep, the desire for mental or emotional states (e.g. happiness, joy, love) when they are absent.

If we experience sadness, we can desire happiness, even joy.

So as to quiet mental unrest, one is inspired by anxiety and depression to transform fear and sadness into respect and reflection.

Thus, one is motivated to apply the Noble Eightfold Path.

One first calms the mind using breath meditation. Then one develops peace of mind to carefully help transform fear into respect and depression into happiness.

With respect to happiness, it is result of the calmness, serenity, and peace of mind arising from meditation. Indeed, peace of mind is the opposite of mental unrest.

While happiness is a desired state of mind, it too does not last.

With regular mindful practice, calm insight into one's life will help to return to peace of mind.
The Buddha's Four Noble Truths:

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