Buddhist Theory And Practice Of The Buddha

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Buddhist theory and practice is based around purification of the mind, which can lead to liberation and enlightenment. One of the foundations of the Buddha’s teachings is the idea of liberation through the Four Noble Truths (also known as the Four Holy Truths). These truths are as follows: the truth of suffering, in which everything involves suffering; the truth of the cause of suffering, suffering has a cause and origin; the truth of the end of suffering, suffering can be overcome or cured; and the truth of the path that leads to the end of suffering, there is a path to refocus your life (Gowans, 2003). It is said that the Buddha only appreciated these four truths once he had completely achieved enlightenment (Mūller, 1890).

The First
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In order to let go of suffering, one first needs to be able to recognize the presence of suffering. However, one of the major concerns that contradicts the ideology that there is suffering in all aspects of life, is the problem of happiness. How can one accomplish the feeling or emotion of joy, if it is, in fact, a form of suffering? Buddhism, as a religion, doesn’t reject happiness in the world. Rather, it focuses on the impermanence of the happiness, and this impermanence can be a cause of suffering, dukkha (Sumedho, 1992). Whilst the First Noble Truth is concerned with the way things are in our “selves” and the world and how they ought to be seen, the second Noble Truth focuses on the cause of this First Truth.

The Second Noble Truth is the Noble Truth of the Origin of Suffering. Buddha identifies the ‘origin’ or cause of dukkha as craving (tanha). Tanha translates as “thirst”, referring to desires, drives and cravings for satisfaction. According to Buddhism, there are three kinds of desire: desire for sense pleasure (kama tanha), desire for existence (bhava tanha) and desire for non-existence (vibhava tanha) (Mahathera, 1998). It should be noted that these are not considered separate types of desire, rather different aspects of the desire. It is this desire, tanha, which is recognized as the cause of suffering; a suffering from
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