Discussion of the Four Noble Truths of Buddhism

2489 WordsApr 15, 200210 Pages
Q2. Outline and discuss the four noble truths: is the Buddhist view of existence optimistic or pessimistic? The question of the Buddhist view of existence being optimistic or pessimistic is one which is many have an opinion on. It could be said that the four noble truths provide the views of the Buddha in the way that life is led and more importantly, should be led. Certainly, the end goal is clearly optimistic, the attainment of spiritual enlightenment, or nirvana. However, the Buddhist view of life as we lead it is often deemed pessimistic as it is so concerned with suffering. As there is more than one school of thought to, "is the Buddhist view of existence of optimistic or pessimistic?" our understanding of these truths is crucial…show more content…
Pleasure, prosperity, success and fame are short-term gains. This is what the Buddha taught as the Second Noble Truth of the Cause of Suffering - Desire (Tanha). Again these could be considered a very pessimistic view of the human condition. Nothing has any permanent meaning, life's hard and then we die. Ignorance of the Buddha's teachings, might attribute all happiness and suffering to some external cause, believing that happiness and suffering come from the environment, or from the gods, and that everything that happens originates in some source outside of one's control. If one believes this, then it is extremely hard, if not impossible, to envisage eliminating suffering and its causes which is in itself an extremely pessimistic point of view. On the other hand, when a person accepts responsibility that experience of suffering is a product of what the self has done, that is, a result of personal karma, eliminating suffering becomes a real possibility. Buddhism believes that once awareness of suffering takes place, one can begin to remove the causes of suffering. This is the understanding of karma. Accepting responsibility for our own behaviour is an essential part of being able to change it, and a real source of optimism. The third noble truth is the cessation of suffering. Our cessation of suffering is something that we cannot depend on anyone else to help us with, because it is such a personal thing. The truth of "universal origination means that if our

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