Buddha’s First Noble Truth.


Thus I have heard. That the first Noble Truth is “Life is Suffering” or Dukkha.

When I talk to people, non-buddhists, about this they seem to think that this is very pessimistic. I then attempt to further explain what I think the Buddha meant.

There are various ways to interpret the Pali word “Dukkha” and suffering is only one way. It can also be disappointment, unhappiness, sorrowful. And who can argue with that.

From the moment we enter this life we are looking for something. At first it is our parents touch, food or a change of diapers. We are happy, for a brief moment, we those needs are met. Then we are sad (suffering) when the bottle we were suckling on is empty.

I remember when my daughter was an infant. She would complain and cry to be fed. She would be content while drinking. But, afterwards she would fuss again because she needed something else. i.e. Sleep, burping, or changing perhaps still another bottle.

Her suffering came from the clinging to the moment of happiness from feeding or the recognition of another need to be filled.

No one expects an infant to realize they are happy and warm most of the time. As parents we do our best to keep them happy but no matter how hard we try their happiness is fleeting, (impermanent) and thus they suffer.

Now at 6 my daughter understands that her needs cannot always be fulfilled immediately and she does her best to savor the happy moments.

Truly, there are times when she reminds me to live in the “present moment.” But, boy if she gets overtired she loses her mindfulness and everyone suffers.

So when you think of the first “Noble Truth” – Life is Suffering- remember that your reaction is what matters most and that without disappointment you would not appreciate the good moments in life.

When you have a moment of suffering remember that it will pass and a moment of joy will pass as well. Greet each moment with equanimity feel the emotions that are there, let them flow through you like a breath and enjoy the moment for what it is.

From there we move to the Second Noble Truth.

About fiercebuddhist

Welcome. I am happy that our paths have crossed. Here you will find various poems, articles and photography. I hope that you enjoy them and visit often. I am currently working on writing “A Haiku A Day” so that I can, perhaps, have enough good ones for publication. If you are wondering what a “Fierce Buddhist” the following declaration should clarify. The “Fierce” in FierceBuddhist I define as “an obligation to do what I can to benefit all sentient beings, not just those close to me or those I agree with. If I see something or someone that is hurting others I must step forward and do what I can to assist them.” In the Army and in the dojo I learned how to defend myself, family and country but that does not mean I endorse the use of force. Two nonviolent examples of Fierce Buddhists that come to mind are Thich Nhat Hanh and the Dalai Lama. While I do not claim be even close to them I can strive and so can you. Furthermore, my Buddhist name, given to me by Sensei Kubose, is Seiyo. His interpretation of my communication and interaction with him led him to this name. He told me Seiyo means “Fierce Sun.” The sun shines on everyone without prejudices without giving preferential treatment to anyone. This is tough to live up to, as you can imagine, but it sure sets the tone for my life. In Buddhism this is called a Fierce Bodhisattva. I am only on the path to Enlightenment and can only say to be a Fierce Buddhist.

13 responses »

  1. Buddha found some noble truths, all right. But he had trouble explaining them to his followers. Yes, life brings suffering. Yes, there is a cause to the suffering, and yes, within that truth a way out can be found.

    But what is the cause? Buddha said it was “desire” and “attachment”. Except that those things can never be avoided. So he said walk the Eightfold Path and you’ll find a way. Uh, thanks Buddha.

    Look, there is a core truth here. You do not exist. If you look, you will find nothing that you can refer to as a self. Nothing that you would normally associate with “I”. And by seeing it in real life, that there is no you, liberation will be found. This is the gateless gate. This is just a truth that has been avoided. Stop avoiding it and look at the truth.

    There is no you. Look.

    • Dear Bodee D,

      Buddha did not say it was “desire” or “attachment” he said it was Dukkha which in the Pali is much more than just suffering. That is covered in the Triptaka and more than I want to address here.
      In Buddhism Dukkha comes from ignorance regarding the self, taking the self as real. This IS the fundamental cause of suffering. We take our ideas, feelings, or actions as a self. Once we have this idea of self we have the idea ofsomething that is apart or different. When this occurs we then frame it as either helpful, or hostile. From this idea of self is where we start to believe in the real existence of ourselves, that “we” exist in reality, independently from all physical objects that surround us. Thus, “we” crave, desire, and want those things which benefit us and we are averse towards things that are harmful or do not benefit us.

      The Buddha taught that to remove suffering we must face everything with “equanimity” and realize that “No-thing” truly exist that we are all “ONE’ in the same. This is the truth of the First Truth. Look further into the meaning of them. Bodee D you are correct in there is “no you” as you say and I congratulate you, my fellow path traveler, on your insight.


  2. Pingback: Buddha’s Second Noble Truth – Samudaya | fiercebuddhist

  3. Pingback: Buddha’s Third Noble Truth – Nirodha | fiercebuddhist

  4. Pingback: Sections of the Noble Eight Fold Path | fiercebuddhist

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