20110326 four noble truths

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Buddhism, Blue Cliff Record, Meditation, Koan

Buddhism, Blue Cliff Record, Meditation, Koan

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  • Buddha’s approach to the problem of life is in the Four Noble Truths was essentially that of a physician. He began by examining carefully the symptoms that provoke concern.
  • This formula makes it plain enough that the Four Noble Truths all revolve around a common subject, namely, the problem of suffering. They view this subject from four different angles: the problem itself, its cause, its resolution and the means of resolution.
  • The first noble truth is that life is dukkha, usually translated ‘suffering’. Dukkha, names the pain that to some degree colors all finite existence. Having an analytical mind, Buddha was not content to leave this First Truth in this generalized form. He begins with four moments when life’s dislocation becomes glaringly apparent. Rich, poor, average or gifted, this is the human condition.All humans experience:The trauma of birthOld AgeSicknessThe phobia of deathThere is no doubt that the last three are suffering, for when we are all fond of youth, health and life and feel miserable when these change into old age, sickness and imminent death. Birth is suffering simply because it is the passageway to all other types of suffering.
  • For life’s suffering to be healed, we need to know the cause, and the Second Noble Truth identifies it. The second noble truth is the truth of the origin or cause of suffering. The cause of life’s dislocation is tanha. To say as close to the original Pali word, Tanha is usually translated as ‘desire or craving’ Tanha is a specific kind of desire, the desire for private fulfillment. This craving can be understood as the cause of suffering at two different levels, one psychological, the other’ existential’.First, at the psychological level, we clearly see that craving lies at the bottom of all our sorrow, fear, worry, grief and the persons and things we love, when our hopes are disappointed, when our desires are not fulfilled. And as long as the flame of desire still burns, the stream of consciousness, the current of experience, does not come to an utter end at death. Rather, what happens is that craving drives the stream of consciousness forward towards a new body, a new psychophysical organism, one which accords with karma accumulated by the deceased person during his or her lifetime. In this way craving generates rebirth, and once rebirth takes place the whole process begins afresh: more growth, more agan, more sickness, another death; in short, a new cycle of suffering. (Bhikku Bodhi writes this eloquently in his book ‘The Buddha and His Dhamma)
  • The Third Noble Truth, the cessation of suffering, follows quite logically from the second truth. For if craving is the cause of suffering, then its cure lies in the overcoming of such craving. The cessation of suffering is Nibbana, the highest happiness and peace. This attainment can be understood at two levels, corresponding to the two levels at which craving is the cause of suffering.First the Psychological level: When craving is eliminated, all the mental unhappiness cause by craving is also removed. The mind is released from the fever of the passions and attains dispassion. Freed from all sorrow, it becomes sorrowless, freed from all bonds, it enjoys supreme peace and security. This is the inward state a person who has attained Nibbana in this very life. Freed from ignorance and craving, a person can never again be touched by fear, anxiety , disappointment and worry.Second, the existential or biological level: With the breakup of body at death, the life process of person at last comes to end. After flowing on through an endless cycle, the round of rebirths is broken. There remains only a deathless element, which the Buddha calls the Unborn, Unmade, Unbecome, Unconditioned.
  • The Fourth Noble truth teaches how to reach Nirvana, how to attain the end of suffering, how to realize the Deathless. This is the Buddha’s course of treatment for the disease of suffering.The way is the Noble Eightfold Path made up of eight factors: Right view, Right Intention, Right speech, right action, right livelihood, right effort, right mindfulness and rignt concentration.A discussion of the Noble Eightfold Path brings us to the second major aspect of the Buddha’s teaching, the Path of Practice.


  • 1. Buddhist Association of Canada
    Cham Shan Temple
    加拿大佛教會 湛山精舍 禪修學佛入門
    Introduction to
    Buddhism and Meditation
  • 2. Buddhist Association of Canada
    Cham Shan Temple
    ná mó fó tuó
    南 無 佛 陀
    Namo Buddha
    ná mó dá mó
    南 無 達 摩
    Namo Dharma
    ná mó sēng qié
    南 無 僧 伽
    Namo Sangha
  • 3. Meditation禪修
    Towards a
    Liberated and
    Enlightened Life
  • 4. Buddhist Practice and Cultivation in Four Lines
    1 Take refuge in the Three Treasures of the Buddha, Dharma, and Sangha.
    2 Earnestly cultivate the Three Perfections of Morality, Calmness, and Wisdom.
    3 Shed the Three Poisons of Greed, Anger and Delusion.
    4 Purify the Three Karmas of Action, Speech and Thought.
  • 5. Basic Terms
    5 aggregates (skandhas)
    4 elements
    6 sense organs, 6 sense objects, 6 sense consciousness
    12 links of causation (nidāna)
    4 noble truths and 8 fold path
    6 paramitas
    4 persuasions
    3 / 5 vehicles
    10 realms
  • 6. Walking Meditation
    Being mindful on Steps, Breathing, Counting or Smiling.
    Choosing an object of attention
    Using a phrase or mantra as an object of attantion e.g. “NamoAmituofo ”
    Walking to feel appreciation
    Walking to find peace
    Walking to experience miracle
    Walking to see Four Noble Truths
    Walking to understand suffering
    Walking to cultivate compassion
    Walking to exercise compassion like an enlightened one
  • 7. Sitting Meditation
    Regulating Body, Breathing and Mind
    Counting breaths
    Following breaths
    Focusing on one point
    Sustained attention on the present moment – Don’t let your mind fall into the future (expectations) or the past (experiences).
    Silent awareness of the present moment – Stop inner commentaries, judgements.
    Letting go of diversity, desires, experiences, commentaries by focusing on breathing.
    Count your breaths from 1-10, 10 times.
  • 8. The Four Noble Truths
  • 9. The Noble Truth of Suffering
    The Noble Truth of the Origin of Suffering
    The Noble Truth of the Cessation of Suffering
    The Noble Truth of the Way to the Cessation of Suffering
  • 10. I. The Noble Truth of Suffering (Dukkha)
    All humans experience:
  • II. The Noble Truth of the Origin of Suffering
    The second noble truth is the truth of the origin or cause of suffering, and here the Buddha states that craving is the origin of suffering.
    This craving can be understood as the cause of suffering at two different levels, one psychological, the other ‘existential’.
  • 14. III. The Noble Truth of the Cessation of Suffering
    If craving is the cause of suffering, then the way to eliminate suffering is to eliminate craving.
    The cessation of suffering is ‘Nirvana’
    Two levels: Psychological & Existential
  • 15. IV. The Noble Truth of the Way to the Cessation of Suffering
    Prescribes how the cure can be accomplished.
    The overcoming of tanha (craving & attachment) ,
    the way out of our captivity is
    through the Noble Eightfold Path.
    The Noble Eightfold Path:
    Right view, Right Intention, Right Speech, Right Action, Right Livelihood,
    Right Effort, Right Mindfulness and Right Concentration
  • 16. The Noble Eightfold Path
    Wisdom: Right View and Right Intention are the wisdom path. Right View is not about believing in doctrine, but in perceiving the true nature of ourselves and the world around us. Right Intention refers to the energy and commitment one needs to be fully engaged in Buddhist practice.
    Ethical Conduct: Right Speech, Right Action and Right Livelihood are the ethical conduct path. This calls us to take care in our speech, our actions, and our daily lives to do no harm to others and to cultivate wholesomeness in ourselves. This part of the path ties into the Precepts.
    Mental Discipline: Through Right Effort, Right Mindfulness, and Right Concentration we develop the mental discipline to cut through delusion. Many schools of Buddhism encourage seekers to meditate to achieve clarity and focus of mind.
  • 17. Chapters Nine and TenFour Great Mountains in China
    Match the followings in pairs:
    Wu Tai ShanKshitagarbha
    JiuHua Shan Avalokitesvara
    PuTuo ShanSamantabhadra
    Emei Shan Manjusri
    What are these Bodhisattvas representing in Buddhism?
    Which mountain is the most popular wayplace for Chinese and Tebetan Buddhists practicing together?
    Where is Buddha’s Sarira kept in Wu Tai Shan?
    Which mountain is famous in having corporeal bodies of monks and nuns?
    Why did a Japanese monk build a temple at Putuo Shan?
    What are the key senic sites at Emei Shan?
  • 18. Chan Master Wu Xia 無暇禪師
    The Corporeal Body Hall houses the skeleton of Monk Wu Xia has been well preserved for more than 350 years. Wu Xia once wrote sutras with a mixture of gold powder and his own blood in a cave of Mt. Jiuhua during Ming Dynasty. After hard practice of sutras for a hundred year in Mt. Jiuhua, Wu Xia passed away at the age of 126. His body was found in the cave three years after his death. Monks on the mountain believed Wu Xia was the reincarnation of Bodhisattva. From then on, Buddhist believers have been keen to visit the mountain to pay homage to the monk.
  • 19. Chan Master Wu Xia 無暇禪師
    无暇禅师又名海玉和尚,顺天苑平人(今北京卢沟桥),此僧历游五台峨眉等山,于万历年间来九华山东崖峰结茅,名摘星亭,用功苦修,隔绝尘世,饥食野果,渴饮山泉,耗用28年时间,以指血调研银珠濡笔恭书《大方广佛华严经》一部,共八十一卷,天启三年(16 23)寿124岁,临终口占一偈:“老叟形骸百有余,幻身枯瘦法身肥。岸头迹失魔边事,洞口言来格外机。天上星辰高可摘,世间人境运相远。客来问我向何处,腊去春回又见春。”话音刚落,随即往生,众徒将其形骸置于缸中,天启四年(1624)钦差王大人来九 华山摘星亭敬香,夜见置缸处屡放光霞,异香不散,视为神奇,三年启缸,颜面如生,装金龛供奉并奏闻朝庭,天启六年(1626)明思宗朱由俭尊无暇禅师为“应身菩萨”,现供奉于九华山百岁宫. 
  • 20. Questions and Comments 討論
    Shengguang Shi 釋聖光
    Tom Cheung 張相棠
    Kam Cheung 張仁勤
    Dennis Yap 葉普智