Possibility of Cure/Prognosis: Suffering's Cessation
Suffering can be overcome
Prescription: The Way Leading to the Cessation of Suffering
The Noble Eightfold Path is the solution to suffering
First Noble Truth: Dukkha (most information from The World’s Religions , by Huston Smith p99-103)
It is SUFFERING that colors all finite existence.
Dukkha: in Pali (language of Buddha) it refers to wheels whose axles are off center, or bones that have slipped out of socket.
“ Life is dislocated. Something has gone wrong. It is out of joint. As its pivot is not true, friction (interpersonal conflict) is excessive, movement (creativity) is blocked, and it hurts” (Smith,101)
Life is pain.
Is Buddhism pessimistic?
“ The Buddha does not say that the world is inherently evil. Rather he says that life is suffering because we try to get something out of world that it does not have the capacity to grant. We expect the world to provide us with lasting happiness and satisfaction. It can’t provide these because of its evanescent (ever-changing) nature…” (Heine, 64)
Life is dukkha: six moments of pain
Birth – (emotional/psychological pain): one of the most traumatic moments in a human’s life
Freud – trauma of birth is the prototype of anxiety
Painful first sensations of discharge, excitation, severance, division
Pathology of sickness – (physical pain): enduring the pain of disease, feeling our own finitude as we live
Six moments of pain
The bitterness of our ruin - (physical and psych pain):
“ In the early years sheer physical vitality joins with life’s novelty to render life almost automatically good. In later years fears arrive [when we experience body aging and slowing down]”. (Smith, 102)
Things are taken from us.
Phobia of death: (psych pain)
To be tied to what one dislikes.
- both physical and emotional/psych pain)
- An incurable disease, stubborn character defect (addiction).
To be separated from something or from someone you love. (emotional/psych pain)
Second Noble Truth: tanha
Desire – selfish craving for private fulfillment causes our suffering
“ all forms of selfishness are at the expense of all other forms of life”
We seek to fulfill our EGOS – the devouring cancer that causes sorrow, our secret sore that oozes needily.
READ p 103, Huston Smith
3 rd & 4 th Noble Truths
THIRD – The cure to our suffering lies in the over coming of our selfish desires.
The Noble Eightfold Path
The Eightfold Path
Purgative: ethical conduct
Right speech : no lying, criticism, condemning, gossip, harsh language.
Become aware of your speech and what it reveals of your character and of the motives that prompt your unkindness. The need to change will become evident as one moves towards veracity and charity.
2) Right action by following the Five Precepts
1. To refrain from destroying living beings.
2. To refrain from stealing.
3. To refrain from sexual misconduct (adultery, rape, etc.).
4. To refrain from false speech (lying).
5. To refrain from intoxicants, which lead to heedlessness.
3) Right livelihood : support yourself without harming others
- ENGAGE in occupations that promote life instead of destroy it (no butcher, brewer, arms dealer, etc)
The Eightfold Path
Contemplative: Mental discipline through meditation
4) Right Effort : promote good thoughts; conquer evil thoughts
Buddha laid a tremendous amount of stress on the will.
A steady pull is better than a quick start; slow and steady wins the race.
5) Right Mindfulness : Become aware of your body, mind and feelings
When we maintain a steady attention to our thoughts and feelings we perceive that they swim in and out of our awareness and are in no way permanent parts of us.
The belief in a ‘separate self-existent self’ (atman, soul) dissolves
Contemplative – cont’d
6) Right Concentration : Meditate to achieve a higher state of consciousness
Our need to cling to ideologies, worldviews or political perspectives vanish and are replaced by direct perceptions; the mind rests in its true condition
7) Right Views: Understanding of the Four Noble Truths
Life’s basic problem is suffering; there is no separate self
8) Right thinking : following the right path in life
EVERYTHING IS INTERRELATED, when we ignore this we suffer.
From the Pali Canon
“ And what, monks, is right mindfulness ?
There is the case where a monk remains focused on (his/her) body in and of itself ... ardent, aware, and mindful ... having already put aside worldly desire and aversion.
Monk remains focused on feelings in and of themselves ... ardent, aware, and mindful ... having already put aside worldly desire and aversion.
Monk remains focused on the mind in and of itself ... ardent, aware, and mindful ... having already put aside worldly desire and aversion.
Monk remains focused on mental qualities in and of themselves ... ardent, aware, and mindful ... having already put aside worldly desire and aversion.
This, monks, is called right mindfulness.”
( Magga-vibhanga Sutta: An Analysis of the Path (SN 45.8), 1996. Retrieved 25 November 2007 from "Access to Insight" at http://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitaka/sn/sn45/sn45.008.than.htm