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Thread: your truth about The Four Noble Truths

  1. #1

    your truth about The Four Noble Truths

    Following the recent thread, feel free to come and share about this first and foremost teaching of Shakyamuni Buddha.


    gassho


    Taigu

  2. #2

    Re: your truth about The Four Noble Truths

    Hello friends,

    Below are translations of both the Chinese and Pali versions of the Setting the Wheel of Dharma in Motion Sutra.

    Dharmacakra Pravartana S?tra

    Sa?yukta ?gama 379

    Translated from Taish? Tripi?aka volume 2, number 99

    Thus have I heard. At one time, the Buddha was dwelling in V?r??as?, at the Deer Park of ??ipatana. At that time, the Bhagav?n addressed a group of five bhik?us, saying:

    “Thus is the Noble Truth of Suffering, a teaching that has never been heard before, and which is to be contemplated. When doing so, it gives birth to vision, wisdom, understanding, and Bodhi. Thus is the noble truth of the accumulation of suffering, thus is the elimination of suffering, and thus is the path that leads away from suffering: teachings that have never been heard before, and which are to be contemplated. When doing so, they give birth to vision, wisdom, understanding, and Bodhi.

    “Moreover, you should be know the wisdom of the Noble Truth of Suffering, a teaching that has never been heard, and which is to be contemplated. When doing so, it gives birth to vision, wisdom, understanding, and Bodhi. Then knowledge of the Noble Truth of the Accumulation of Suffering will be severed. This is a teaching that has never been heard before, and which is to be contemplated. When doing so, it gives birth to vision, wisdom, understanding, and Bodhi. Moreover, from elimination of the accumulation of suffering, the Noble Truth of the Elimination of Suffering is thus known, and being known it is realized. This is a teaching that has not been heard before, and which is to be contemplated. When doing so, it gives birth to vision, wisdom, understanding, and Bodhi. Therefore, the Noble Truth of the Path that Leads Away from Suffering is known, and from this it is cultivated. This is a teaching that has never been heard before, and which is to be contemplated. When doing so, it gives birth to vision, wisdom, understanding, and Bodhi.

    “Moreover, bhik?us, with knowledge of the Noble Truth of Suffering, knowledge is then produced. This is a teaching that has not been heard before, and which is to be contemplated. When doing so, it gives birth to vision, wisdom, understanding, and Bodhi. Moreover, when the Noble Truth of the Accumulation of Suffering has been known, then its severence is produced. This is a teaching that has not been heard before, and which is to be contemplated. When doing so, it gives birth to vision, wisdom, understanding, and Bodhi. Moreover, from awareness of the Noble Truth of the Elimination of Suffering, its realization is produced. This is a teaching that has not been heard before, and which is to be contemplated. When doing so, it gives birth to vision, wisdom, understanding, and Bodhi. Moreover, from awareness of the Noble Truth of the Path that Leads Away from Suffering, its cultivation is produced. This is a teaching that has never been heard before, and which is to be contemplated. When doing so, it gives birth to vision, wisdom, understanding, and Bodhi.

    “Bhik?us, in regard to the three turnings and twelve practices of the Four Noble Truths, if they had not given birth to vision, wisdom, understanding, and Bodhi, then amongst all the devas, m?ras, brahm?s, ?rama?as, and br?hma?as who hear the Dharma, I could not have achieved liberation, gone beyond, and departed. I also would not have had the self-realization of the attainment of Anuttar? Samyaksa?bodhi. Yet I have, from the three turnings and twelve practices of the Four Noble Truths, given birth to vision, wisdom, understanding, and Bodhi. Amongst the devas, m?ras, brahm?s, ?rama?as, and br?hma?as who hear the Dharma, I have gone beyond and achieved liberation, and have had the self-realization of the attainment of Anuttar? Samyaksa?bodhi.”

    At that time, when the Bhagav?n had spoken this Dharma, Venerable Kau??inya, along with eight ko??s of devas, left the dust and dirt far behind and attained the pure Dharma Eye. At this time, the Bhagav?n addressed Venerable Kau??inya, “Has the Dharma been known?” Kau??inya addressed the Buddha, saying, “It has been known, Bhagav?n.” Again Venerable Kau??inya was addressed, “Has the Dharma been known?” Kau??inya addressed the Buddha, “It has been known, Sugata.” Because Venerable Kau??inya has known the Dharma, he is called ?jñ?takau??inya.

    After Venerable ?jñ?takau??inya had thus known the Dharma, the earth spirits took up the cry: “The Bhagav?n, in V?r??as? at the Deer Park of ??ipatana, has turned the Dharma Wheel three times with twelve practices, that all the ?rama?as and br?hma?as, and all the devas, m?ras, and brahm?s, have not truly turned before. This brings many true benefits, true peace and happiness, and compassion for the world; its meaning brings benefits, prosperity, and peace to devas and humans, increasing the devas and reducing the asuras.” After the earth spirits had taken up the call, then the devas of empty space, C?turmah?r?jika Heaven, Tr?yastri??a Heaven, Y?ma Heaven, Tu?ita Heaven, Nirm??arati Heaven, and Parinirmitava?avartin Heaven each instantly took up the call in succession, all the way up to the Brahm? Heavens. Then the brahm? retinue took up the cry: “The Bhagav?n, in V?r??as? at the Deer Park of ??ipatana, has turned the Dharma Wheel three times with twelve practices, that all the ?rama?as and br?hma?as, and all the devas, m?ras, and brahm?s, have not truly turned before. This brings many true benefits, and true peace and happiness; its meaning benefits all devas and humans, increasing the devas and reducing the asuras.”

    Because the Bhagav?n has turned the Dharma Wheel in V?r??as? at the Deer Park of ??ipatana, this s?tra is therefore called the Dharmacakra Pravartana S?tra. After the Buddha had spoken this s?tra, the bhik?us heard what the Buddha had truly said, and blissfully practiced in accordance.

    From http://www.lapislazulitexts.com/T02_0099_0379_dharmacakra_pravartana_sutra.html
    I have heard that on one occasion the Blessed One was staying at Varanasi in the Game Refuge at Isipatana. There he addressed the group of five monks:

    "There are these two extremes that are not to be indulged in by one who has gone forth. Which two? That which is devoted to sensual pleasure with reference to sensual objects: base, vulgar, common, ignoble, unprofitable; and that which is devoted to self-affliction: painful, ignoble, unprofitable. Avoiding both of these extremes, the middle way realized by the Tathagata — producing vision, producing knowledge — leads to calm, to direct knowledge, to self-awakening, to Unbinding.

    "And what is the middle way realized by the Tathagata that — producing vision, producing knowledge — leads to calm, to direct knowledge, to self-awakening, to Unbinding? Precisely this Noble Eightfold Path: right view, right resolve, right speech, right action, right livelihood, right effort, right mindfulness, right concentration. This is the middle way realized by the Tathagata that — producing vision, producing knowledge — leads to calm, to direct knowledge, to self-awakening, to Unbinding.

    "Now this, monks, is the noble truth of stress:[1] Birth is stressful, aging is stressful, death is stressful; sorrow, lamentation, pain, distress, & despair are stressful; association with the unbeloved is stressful, separation from the loved is stressful, not getting what is wanted is stressful. In short, the five clinging-aggregates are stressful.

    "And this, monks, is the noble truth of the origination of stress: the craving that makes for further becoming — accompanied by passion & delight, relishing now here & now there — i.e., craving for sensual pleasure, craving for becoming, craving for non-becoming.

    "And this, monks, is the noble truth of the cessation of stress: the remainderless fading & cessation, renunciation, relinquishment, release, & letting go of that very craving.

    "And this, monks, is the noble truth of the way of practice leading to the cessation of stress: precisely this Noble Eightfold Path — right view, right resolve, right speech, right action, right livelihood, right effort, right mindfulness, right concentration.

    "Vision arose, insight arose, discernment arose, knowledge arose, illumination arose within me with regard to things never heard before: 'This is the noble truth of stress.' Vision arose, insight arose, discernment arose, knowledge arose, illumination arose within me with regard to things never heard before: 'This noble truth of stress is to be comprehended.' Vision arose, insight arose, discernment arose, knowledge arose, illumination arose within me with regard to things never heard before:' This noble truth of stress has been comprehended.'

    "Vision arose, insight arose, discernment arose, knowledge arose, illumination arose within me with regard to things never heard before: 'This is the noble truth of the origination of stress'... 'This noble truth of the origination of stress is to be abandoned' [2] ... 'This noble truth of the origination of stress has been abandoned.'

    "Vision arose, insight arose, discernment arose, knowledge arose, illumination arose within me with regard to things never heard before: 'This is the noble truth of the cessation of stress'... 'This noble truth of the cessation of stress is to be directly experienced'... 'This noble truth of the cessation of stress has been directly experienced.'

    "Vision arose, insight arose, discernment arose, knowledge arose, illumination arose within me with regard to things never heard before: 'This is the noble truth of the way of practice leading to the cessation of stress'... 'This noble truth of the way of practice leading to the cessation of stress is to be developed'... 'This noble truth of the way of practice leading to the cessation of stress has been developed.' [3]

    "And, monks, as long as this — my three-round, twelve-permutation knowledge & vision concerning these four noble truths as they have come to be — was not pure, I did not claim to have directly awakened to the right self-awakening unexcelled in the cosmos with its deities, Maras, & Brahmas, with its contemplatives & priests, its royalty & commonfolk. But as soon as this — my three-round, twelve-permutation knowledge & vision concerning these four noble truths as they have come to be — was truly pure, then I did claim to have directly awakened to the right self-awakening unexcelled in the cosmos with its deities, Maras & Brahmas, with its contemplatives & priests, its royalty & commonfolk. Knowledge & vision arose in me: 'Unprovoked is my release. This is the last birth. There is now no further becoming.'"

    That is what the Blessed One said. Gratified, the group of five monks delighted at his words. And while this explanation was being given, there arose to Ven. Kondañña the dustless, stainless Dhamma eye: Whatever is subject to origination is all subject to cessation.

    And when the Blessed One had set the Wheel of Dhamma in motion, the earth devas cried out: "At Varanasi, in the Game Refuge at Isipatana, the Blessed One has set in motion the unexcelled Wheel of Dhamma that cannot be stopped by priest or contemplative, deva, Mara or God or anyone in the cosmos." On hearing the earth devas' cry, the devas of the Four Kings' Heaven took up the cry... the devas of the Thirty-three... the Yama devas... the Tusita devas... the Nimmanarati devas... the Paranimmita-vasavatti devas... the devas of Brahma's retinue took up the cry: "At Varanasi, in the Game Refuge at Isipatana, the Blessed One has set in motion the unexcelled Wheel of Dhamma that cannot be stopped by priest or contemplative, deva, Mara, or God or anyone at all in the cosmos."

    So in that moment, that instant, the cry shot right up to the Brahma worlds. And this ten-thousand fold cosmos shivered & quivered & quaked, while a great, measureless radiance appeared in the cosmos, surpassing the effulgence of the devas.

    Then the Blessed One exclaimed: "So you really know, Kondañña? So you really know?" And that is how Ven. Kondañña acquired the name Añña-Kondañña — Kondañña who knows.

    From http://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitaka/sn/sn56/sn56.011.than.html
    So (copied from the other post),

    Quote Originally Posted by Saijun
    Quote Originally Posted by ghop
    I like Thich Nhat Hanh's interpretation of the Four Noble Truths.

    Suffering is real and cannot be avoided.

    Suffering gives us a chance to look into the cause of suffering. Very important step!

    And the Third Noble Truth is my favorite. That although there is suffering, joy is possible.

    Like suffering, joy too has a cause.

    Too often we get stuck in our suffering without realizing what a tremendous opportunity it gives us to realize freedom and joy. Suffering is not the end-all-be-all of this path. Joy is. Freedom is. Thich actually thinks that we should reverse the order of the Four Noble Truths. This is an interesting idea. Any thoughts?

    gassho
    Greg
    Hello Greg,

    I've gradually learned to see them sort of differently:

    1.) There is stress (or dissatisfaction, if you prefer--they mean the same to me) inherent in life.
    2.) This stress comes from a deep craving for things to be as we want them to be, rather than as they are.
    3.) There is a Way to the let go of this craving, and end stress/dissatisfaction.
    4.) This Way is comprised of the Noble Eightfold Path.

    I think that the whole of the Dharma can sort of be boiled down into that old joke:

    "Doctor! Doctor! It hurts when I do this! [does it] Ow!"
    "Well, then, stop doing that."
    (See viewtopic.php?f=20&t=2926 for more detailed and entertaining exploration)

    And "this" refers to clinging, and the whole of the practice is learning how to "stop doing that." When I (we?) sit Shikantaza, it provides us a chance to let go of everything, good and bad and whatever is in between. Suffering and joy are concepts that define each other. When we sit, and let go of all of our definitions and concepts, what is left?

    For this reason, I'm not sure that I agree with Rev. TNH's view on this (though I'm sure that it is much more informed by experience than mine is). And as far as reversing the order, I don't necessarily think it's quite that simple; I, at least, came to the Dharma after having deeply, deeply experienced the first Noble Truth, and began working on the Noble Eightfold Path. I'm rather dubious of the notion that people come to work on suffering when everything is peachy (at least initially).

    As I work with the Eightfold Path, it consistently shows me the validity of the 3rd Truth, and allows me to experience the freedom of the 2nd.

    Just initial thoughts.

    Metta,

    Saijun

  3. #3

    Re: your truth about The Four Noble Truths

    In my reading I discovered that I made an error in TNH's interpretation of the 4NT's in my previous post.

    Here is the quote verbatim:

    Let us reframe the Four Noble Truths. "Cessation," the Third Noble Truth,
    means the absence of suffering, which is the presence of well-being. Instead
    of saying "cessation," we can simply say "well-being." If we do that, we can
    call the Fourth Noble Truth "the Noble Eightfold Path That Leads To Well-Being."
    Then, instead of just calling the Second Noble Truth "the origin of suffering," we
    can say that there is an ignoble eightfold path that leads to suffering, a "path of
    eight wrong practices"---wrong view, wrong thinking, wrong speech, wrong action,
    wrong livelihood, wrong diligence, wrong mindfulness, and wrong concentration.
    We might like to renumber the Four Noble Truths, as follows, for the benefit of the
    people of our time:

    (1) Well-Being (traditionally number three, "cessation of suffering");

    (2) Noble Eightfold Path That Leads To Well-Being (traditionally number four);

    (3) Suffering (traditionally number one) ; and

    (4) Ignoble Eightfold Path That Leads To Suffering (traditionally number two, "arising of suffering."


    This really strikes a chord with me. Profound insight. Any ideas?

    gassho
    Greg

  4. #4

    Re: your truth about The Four Noble Truths

    I have a few things to say...
    First, I like the original order, it eflects how one goes through the whole process.
    Second, this idea of well-being sounds a bit too simplistic/New-agy to my ears.
    Third, this ignoble path is a flagrant illustration of what you find everywhere: right versus wrong, good versus bad...
    Our path is not made of these pair of opposites. Don't get me wrong , it does not mean that it is Ok to break the precepts, drink the water of crazy wisdom and despise the eight noble path...The mapping of it does not match the territory, that's all. Walk the walk and you'll see. Uncle Jundo in his great knowledge and wisdom could certainly write extensively about this and that. I am sorry not to be so eloquent and knowledgeable.

    gassho


    Taigu

  5. #5

    Re: your truth about The Four Noble Truths

    Life.
    As it is.
    Take it or leave it.

    Flowers blossom.
    Rain falls.
    Love is a perception,
    And I don't see anything.

    "Wow." The buddhist monk said, when a flower was presented.

    Gassho

    W

  6. #6

    Re: your truth about The Four Noble Truths

    Now, in a more analytical sense (you could just read the sutras I guess). However,

    Want, greed, dislike, pain, Anger, frustration, are misunderstandings about "how" we are.

    "We" (using he term loosely), have a tendency to be convinced about everything. The largest convincing factor is "I". I is a collection of thoughts, and imbalance. Sitting in Shikantaza, one experiences the cessation of thoughts, and feeling, to open to a wider view. A view that has no bounds. A view that may go and come as it likes. A view, that has "no view".

    The Heart Sutra says it, so does the four noble truths. It's just a matter of placing your your cushion, and discoverying it for yourself. Returning to awareness.

    From there, I can't tell you anything else because I really don't know.

    Five Noble truths:

    Life is misunderstanding and imbalance, bieng convinced by our thoughts and emotions.
    It is possible to go passed that.
    Shikantaza blossoms
    Be as you are.
    Practice doesn't end.

    W

  7. #7

    Re: your truth about The Four Noble Truths

    Quote Originally Posted by Taigu
    First, I like the original order, it eflects how one goes through the whole process.
    Second, this idea of well-being sounds a bit too simplistic/New-agy to my ears.
    Third, this ignoble path is a flagrant illustration of what you find everywhere: right versus wrong, good versus bad...
    Our path is not made of these pair of opposites. Don't get me wrong , it does not mean that it is Ok to break the precepts, drink the water of crazy wisdom and despise the eight noble path...The mapping of it does not match the territory, that's all. Walk the walk and you'll see.
    Thank you Taigu. I am still young in the Way, lot's of traps along the path. "Walk the walk and you'll see." This might be the best advice I've got yet.

    Quote Originally Posted by will
    The Heart Sutra says it, so does the four noble truths. It's just a matter of placing your your cushion, and discoverying it for yourself. Returning to awareness.
    Will, I felt like a man at a well begging for water when I read this. Thanks for the thirst. Gassho.

    gassho,
    Greg

  8. #8

    Re: your truth about The Four Noble Truths

    Quote Originally Posted by will
    Five Noble truths:

    Life is misunderstanding and imbalance, bieng convinced by our thoughts and emotions.
    It is possible to go passed that.
    Shikantaza blossoms
    Be as you are.
    Practice doesn't end.
    Just thought this needed to be highlighted. Thanks for this.

    gassho
    Greg

  9. #9

    Re: your truth about The Four Noble Truths

    I spoke too soon. I still like it.

    Quote Originally Posted by Taigu
    Second, this idea of well-being sounds a bit too simplistic/New-agy to my ears.
    May I ask why?

    gassho,
    Greg

  10. #10

    Re: your truth about The Four Noble Truths

    When I was looking at the heart sutra alongside the four noble truths,

    "No/ suf/fer/ing/"
    The first noble truth has just been knocked down
    "nor/ cause/ or/ end/ to/ suf/fer/ing/"
    The second and third noble truth has been knocked down.
    "No/ path/, no/ wis/dom/ and/ no/ gain/."
    No path-no fourth noble truth-no noble eightfold path, No wisdom-no realization of the true nature of the mind. No Gain-No enlightenment

    And because of this the Boddhisattvas live this Prajna Paramita~


    Gassho

    Seiryu

  11. #11

    Re: your truth about The Four Noble Truths

    Quote Originally Posted by Seiryu
    No path-no fourth noble truth-no noble eightfold path, No wisdom-no realization of the true nature of the mind. No Gain-No enlightenment

    And because of this the Boddhisattvas live this Prajna Paramita~
    Allow me to bow...

    gassho
    Greg

  12. #12
    Senior Member Amelia's Avatar
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    Re: your truth about The Four Noble Truths

    Quote Originally Posted by ghop
    Quote Originally Posted by Taigu
    Second, this idea of well-being sounds a bit too simplistic/New-agy to my ears.
    May I ask why?
    Yeah, I was wondering the same. Why is it unhelpful for the idea to be simple or kind of mystical? Is his interpretation simply wrong? Personally, I was able to relate to TNH's explanation. Is that a warning sign? ops:

  13. #13

    Re: your truth about The Four Noble Truths

    No warning sign!!!Just a question os sensitivity. To boil down the notion of Nirvana to well being is a bit far off for me. It is like the Dailai lama saying that the purpose of life is happiness. I don't quite agree. To tell you the truth, I don't know what is the purpose of life, it has a real vast quality that self centered notions like well-being and happiness don't seem to convey.

    gassho


    Taigu

  14. #14

    Re: your truth about The Four Noble Truths

    Hello Rev. Taigu,

    Could it be that the only purpose in life is the one that each of us assigns it?

    Metta,

    Saijun

  15. #15

    Re: your truth about The Four Noble Truths

    I live it up to you to decide and see for yourself.
    My purpose is now to live as much as possible in the "I don't know" and serve people.

    gassho

    Taigu

  16. #16

    Re: your truth about The Four Noble Truths

    I don't know if I would called happiness and well being self centered notions at all. Our well being is just as important as another's and happiness and well being is what all beings big or small seem to all be striving for. So what better way to help than to help someone else realize their own happiness.

    As for the meaning in life; I don't know is a good answer. Although I do feel that there is no meaning. Not in no point why bother type of way, but I do not think life is a means to anything. Life is life. Complete and perfect it is not lacking nor is it to be lived for any other reasons beside living life for life sake.

    Gassho

    Seiryu

  17. #17

    Re: your truth about The Four Noble Truths

    As for the meaning in life; I don't know is a good answer
    .

    Thank you teacher for marking my prep...

    gassho

    Taigu

  18. #18

    Re: your truth about The Four Noble Truths

    Life is misunderstanding and imbalance, bieng convinced by our thoughts and emotions.
    It is possible to go passed that.
    Shikantaza blossoms
    Be as you are.
    Practice doesn't end.
    Thank you for this, Will. A very accurate Zen translation.

    gassho

    Taigu

  19. #19

    Re: your truth about The Four Noble Truths

    First, the four noble truth were a start-point of my buddhist journey. First
    reading them I could quickly find them promising (and they not failed
    to deliver )

    - There is suffering, yep, easy to understand and I could say yes to that
    for both myself and the world around me. More even to the world
    of wars and hunger and abuse and so on. There is!

    - There is a cause of suffering, well, sure, we usually come from a
    rather "scientific view", so this was easy to say yes to

    - There is an end of suffering, well, sounded immediately logic to
    me, because when there is a reason, just work on that

    - The Noble Eightfold path leads to end of suffering. Well, this also
    sounded familiar (coming from a christian background), and when we
    keep in mind that the Four Noble Truth are a Basic teaching, it
    is to be kept simple, not ? And its easier for people to understand
    they have to follow 8 guidelines than pondering Dogen

    To me the Basic teaching of the Four Noble Truth means both its the
    fundament of Buddhist teaching as well as its a "introductory" teaching.
    So I see this as a perfect way to get people in Buddhism, and it never
    gets wrong, as long as you practice. Why that ?

    Lets assume the path (and I know the path is not attainable ;-) lets us
    walk through broad rivers and over steep mountains. This means we
    can be happy to have a boat on the river, but surely not helpful in the
    mountains. However, we should not say that there is no boat needed,
    just because we think of the mountain. At times the boat has its usage
    as the four noble truth have, even though at a different point we see
    that all this is illusionary. Not only to even later see that form is empty-
    ness and emptyness is form and form is form and emptyness is emptyness.

    But right now, int this thread I believe we are at the shelves of the
    river and discuss the boat. I think its a fine boat and it perfectly fits
    its purpose. Not to be mistaken with the analogy of reaching the other
    shore btw.
    _()_
    Peter

  20. #20
    Senior Member Amelia's Avatar
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    Re: your truth about The Four Noble Truths

    Quote Originally Posted by Taigu
    To boil down the notion of Nirvana to well being is a bit far off for me.
    Me too, I admit.

    Quote Originally Posted by Taigu
    To tell you the truth, I don't know what is the purpose of life, it has a real vast quality that self centered notions like well-being and happiness don't seem to convey.
    Beautifully put.

    This might be a weird, New Age-y question, Taigu, but do you, by any chance, have a raspy voice at the moment? Perhaps due to illness or something? It's very silly, but for some reason, as I was reading your post, I imagined your voice, but with a touch of laryngitis! I guess I'm testing out my ESP skills, here! :mrgreen:

    In any case, I hope you are well.

    / Amelia

  21. #21

    Re: your truth about The Four Noble Truths

    You all teach me so much.. really.

    The Four Noble Truths are so practical, yet they are very deep. I guess it's like zazen itself.

    There is dukkha. If we don't have what we want, dissatisfaction; if we have what we want, dissatisfaction of what will happen when we don't have what we have.

    But it doesn't have to be that way. Easier said than done. But as Will articulated, that's why we practice

    Gassho,

    Risho

  22. #22

    Re: your truth about The Four Noble Truths

    Quote Originally Posted by Risho
    You all teach me so much.. really.

    The Four Noble Truths are so practical, yet they are very deep. I guess it's like zazen itself.

    There is dukkha. If we don't have what we want, dissatisfaction; if we have what we want, dissatisfaction of what will happen when we don't have what we have.

    But it doesn't have to be that way. Easier said than done. But as Will articulated, that's why we practice

    Gassho,

    Risho
    Hello Risho,

    There was a distinct moment some time ago when I realized that, rather than strictly moderation, the Middle Way was simply the not-picking-up-nor-pushing-away of anything, and it was a very important moment.

    I'm no closer to realizing that goal than I was, but at least there is a little more clarity. Practice practice practice.

    Metta,

    Saijun

  23. #23

    Re: your truth about The Four Noble Truths

    Hi Saijun,


    There was a distinct moment some time ago when I realized that, rather than strictly moderation, the Middle Way was simply the not-picking-up-nor-pushing-away of anything, and it was a very important moment.
    A profound insight, indeed. It is important not to be even attached to this view. Relinquishing all views is The Middle way itself.

    gassho


    Taigu

  24. #24

    Re: your truth about The Four Noble Truths

    My four noble truths this morning:

    Wake up. Take a shower. Sit Zazen. Have breakfast. Look at Treeleaf. So far so good.


    Gassho

    W

  25. #25

    Re: your truth about The Four Noble Truths

    Quote Originally Posted by Taigu
    A profound insight, indeed. It is important not to be even attached to this view. Relinquishing all views is The Middle way itself.

    If I may:
    "Relinquishing all views" is still, in its self, a view. To relinquish all views, we must even relinquish the view about relinquishing all views. Drop the middle way, drop the path, drop everything, and from there continue to move forward.

    This path does not bring you anywhere; it only points the way. At some point we must drop the path as well in order to go beyond it.


    But then again...

    Gassho

    Seiryu

  26. #26

    Re: your truth about The Four Noble Truths

    Indeed, Seiryu. I was just kind of quoting Nagarjuna.

    Gassho


    T.

  27. #27

    Re: your truth about The Four Noble Truths

    Duhkha is translated as suffering. There is an aspect of delusion that it is meant to capture, a self created form that connotes clinging, craving a desire that is unsatisfied. Coming to terms with this, one recognizes that much of our suffering is of our making.

    (But I like will's take...)

  28. #28

    Re: your truth about The Four Noble Truths

    Quote Originally Posted by will
    My four noble truths this morning:

    Wake up. Take a shower. Sit Zazen. Have breakfast. Look at Treeleaf. So far so good.
    :lol:

    I've heard it said that the path of Zen is the removal of all ideas, concepts, etc. This is an undending practice because we are picking up new ideas, concepts, perceptions, continually. Even our views regarding the Dharma are just "our views." Hence the saying, "Regard all Dharmas as dreams." Ten people can look at the same cloud and see ten different clouds, based upon their perception in that moment. Zen is so refreshingly simple, because when we sit we don't necessarily attain the goal as transcend it. In sitting we go beyond all numbers and concepts and teachings and become Reality itself (which of course we always are). In sitting we go beyond the beyond.

    gassho
    Greg

  29. #29

    Re: your truth about The Four Noble Truths

    Looking at these truths again there are some questions I want to throw out there.

    These were the first teachings the Buddha did. Why?

    The Buddha became fully enlightened. He got insight in the nature of mind, rebirths, karma, what enlightened is all that great and interesting subjects, yet he choose this to expand upon his old spiritual friends.

    of all the things the Buddha could have taught first, why do you think he started here?

    Gassho

    Seiryu

  30. #30

    Re: your truth about The Four Noble Truths

    Quote Originally Posted by Seiryu
    Looking at these truths again there are some questions I want to throw out there.

    These were the first teachings the Buddha did. Why?

    The Buddha became fully enlightened. He got insight in the nature of mind, rebirths, karma, what enlightened is all that great and interesting subjects, yet he choose this to expand upon his old spiritual friends.

    of all the things the Buddha could have taught first, why do you think he started here?

    Gassho

    Seiryu
    Hello Seiryu,

    Perhaps because he was still partially convinced that people had too much "dust in their eyes" to get what he was saying, and as such started with something very simple, easy to digest, to get through to his five companions?

    Or, maybe he knew that this was exactly what Kudanna needed to hear to wake up?

    Or maybe it was the only part that he could figure out how to put into words.

    There can be lots of speculation, but I have a feeling that with practice, the answer will become clear.

    Metta,

    Saijun

  31. #31

    Re: your truth about The Four Noble Truths

    Quote Originally Posted by Seiryu
    of all the things the Buddha could have taught first, why do you think he started here?
    I think maybe because the culture to which he was speaking was extremely idealistic (much like our own today). Consider how sheltered he was as a youth. Totally unrealistic. Then he goes out into the "spiritual world" seeking answers and all the practices he underwent were fruitless and again totally idealistic. His was a type of New Age universe much like our own today. Just walk through the spiritual section of a bookstore. So much waste of paper. Until we see how our own unrealistic and idealistic views distort our perception of reality there can be no peace. We remain a hinderance to others.

    gassho
    Greg

    p.s. or maybe he flipped a coin and the Four Noble Truths won :shock:

  32. #32

    Re: your truth about The Four Noble Truths

    Quote Originally Posted by ghop
    Quote Originally Posted by Seiryu
    of all the things the Buddha could have taught first, why do you think he started here?
    I think maybe because the culture to which he was speaking was extremely idealistic (much like our own today). Consider how sheltered he was as a youth. Totally unrealistic. Then he goes out into the "spiritual world" seeking answers and all the practices he underwent were fruitless and again totally idealistic. His was a type of New Age universe much like our own today. Just walk through the spiritual section of a bookstore. So much waste of paper. Until we see how our own unrealistic and idealistic views distort our perception of reality there can be no peace. We remain a hinderance to others.

    gassho
    Greg

    p.s. or maybe he flipped a coin and the Four Noble Truths won :shock:
    Words are so interesting because they don't fully convey what we're saying. We sort of have to fill in the blanks. I know what you are saying with the ideals, or at least I think I do... but I guess I still add to it because of my own ideas. Getting to that point of reality, of not adding on is the trick I don't know where this came from, it's just sort of an observation after reading this. I know what you are saying but, then again, it always leads to more questions, more clarification. Of course, I have to do the practice for myself. Good thing we have a sangha to help support us and to whom we can support.

    Gassho,

    Risho

    Edit: I don't know if "to whom" was used properly, but you know sometimes you just have to drop a "whom" in a sentence. lol

  33. #33

    Re: your truth about The Four Noble Truths

    Quote Originally Posted by ghop
    or maybe he flipped a coin and the Four Noble Truths won :shock:
    lol

    _/_

  34. #34
    disastermouse
    Guest

    Re: your truth about The Four Noble Truths

    Quote Originally Posted by Taigu
    No warning sign!!!Just a question os sensitivity. To boil down the notion of Nirvana to well being is a bit far off for me. It is like the Dailai lama saying that the purpose of life is happiness. I don't quite agree. To tell you the truth, I don't know what is the purpose of life, it has a real vast quality that self centered notions like well-being and happiness don't seem to convey.

    gassho


    Taigu
    I think I sympathize with what you say here. Trying to find 'happiness' in a conditioned world prone to age, sickness, and death is a bit like trying to sleep in a burning house. 'Nirvana' is more than mere 'happiness', IMHO.

    It seems that some people think you can conquer the world by becoming powerful enough to manipulate the conditions in a way that brings pleasure - however this makes enemies of whomever has purposes opposed to yours and even if you achieve the perfect manipulation of conditions, it won't - can't - last long.

    Others seeing this seem to think that the best response is to retreat from the world altogether, but this just isn't possible, and even if it was - it would result in a world drained of color.

    You can act in the world without turning preferences into 'needs'. I think this sounds wishy-washy, but the people I've seen who realize this path are anything but.

    If only it could easily be put down in black and white - the 'solution' printed up on a postcard and pinned to our computer...but I don't really think that would work even if it was possible. You don't 'gain' enlightenment, you 'act' enlightenment. Once again, IMHO.

    Chet

  35. #35
    disastermouse
    Guest

    Re: your truth about The Four Noble Truths

    Quote Originally Posted by ghop
    Quote Originally Posted by Seiryu
    of all the things the Buddha could have taught first, why do you think he started here?
    I think maybe because the culture to which he was speaking was extremely idealistic (much like our own today). Consider how sheltered he was as a youth. Totally unrealistic. Then he goes out into the "spiritual world" seeking answers and all the practices he underwent were fruitless and again totally idealistic. His was a type of New Age universe much like our own today. Just walk through the spiritual section of a bookstore. So much waste of paper. Until we see how our own unrealistic and idealistic views distort our perception of reality there can be no peace. We remain a hinderance to others.

    gassho
    Greg

    p.s. or maybe he flipped a coin and the Four Noble Truths won :shock:
    He started with the 4NT because if you can't face the fact of the first truth, you aren't ready for the Dharma.

    Accepting the first truth, if you can't accept the second as the cause of suffering, you aren't ready for the Dharma.

    Accepting the first and second truths, if you do not have faith that there is indeed a path out of suffering, you are a nihilist and not ready for the Dharma.

    Accepting the first three truths, if you are not ready to act on them by way of the Eightfold Path, then you are not ready for the Dharma.

    As a Zen teacher once said (or maybe it was the Tao Te Ching), the wise man is the man that is sick of sickness.

    Following the Dharma, I think, means truly being 'human'. In Buddhist Psychology there are the six states that describe the Samsaric cycle. Hell, Preta, Animal, Human, Jealous Gods, and Gods. In the first two, you are hopelessly chained to delusion - be it hatred, anger, fear, desperation, neediness, or craving. In the third, your chain is mere stupidity. As a Jealous God, you are too successful at manipulating conditions to ever be expected to give up that game - you are chained by ambition, greed, craving, heedlessness, and a lack of compassion for those weaker than you. You are like a gambler who rarely loses - could you imagine convincing someone like this to give up the game? As a 'God', all IS you - the clinging is so great as to be indistinguishable from self.

    It's the human realm (psychologically speaking) to which the 4NTs have a chance to take root - as you are not so successful at manipulating your conditions that you can fool yourself into thinking that the perfect manipulation of conditions is possible. Human life does not allow the conditioned world to be manipulated into a stable happiness for long enough that one can fool oneself into thinking this is an answer to suffering. At the same time, one is not so consumed with anger, fear, hatred, or sheer abject want, that a way out does not seem possible.

    Chet

  36. #36

    Re: your truth about The Four Noble Truths

    These are just my simple thoughts on the Four Noble truths and our practice... maybe too mindy or too much concepts in it... nothing new really, only old stuff “re-chewed”

    Universality!
    All sentient beings have the same experiences of "suffering", unceasing change and unsatisfaction.
    But the causes (ignorance, hatred and avidity) are also universal... their are well known but still cultivated by everyone.
    Sometimes "with good reasons", sometimes because we think it is better to go that way... but finally we just create more suffering and ignorance.

    But there is a universal path leading to the end of suffering... A vast and beautiful path valid for all sentient beings who cares enough to practice it wholeheartedly (with no mind or idea of gaining an end to suffering ).

    This path of the patriarchs from Gautama to Bodhidharma, Huineng and Dogen, ... is simple and clear from the very beginning. Huineng's platform sutra (Duanhang version), like Dogen in other words, says:" When a phenomenon arises in the "field of the senses/mind",...just see it with the light of Prajna (conscious attention) and do not try to follow or get/grasp it. That way you will see your "True Nature", the Essence of your Mind/Heart who is Buddha."

    Thus one moment of Zazen is, as Dogen emphasized so much, a moment of enlightenment. One moment seeing our Mind/Heart (or Body/Mind) without developing attachments that leads to more suffering (or in other words, attachments are the roots of suffering) is One moment of perfect and unspeakable enlightenment.

    As I see it this pathless path, spread and explained by numberless Buddhas are all contained in the 4th Noble truths... the 8fold path. That we can resume in our tradition (correct me if I'm wrong) as Zazen, Kesa, Precepts... Each one is unique, yet not different from the other.

    The precepts are the very beginning and also “a result of Zazen”. Zazen itself includes stopping creating or following attachment. But on the other hand, we need to practice this “not following the seeds of suffering” with the perfect sense that Zazen doesn't serve for anything by itself... it won't pay your bills or make you an immortal.
    Same thing for the precepts, same thing when studying the Kesa, doing Kinhin, eating soup or reading these silly lines…we just do the thing.
    Abandoning slowly ideas of an Ego or a non-Ego, even a Dharma or a non-Dharma (not just the word but the wide reality beyond it). Just seeing what is without ideas of good, bad, square or round, born or unborn, space and time, sacred and profane and finally even abandoning the idea of something to be abandon ... of a Buddha or a non-Buddha.... And staying in the simple truth of being, of just sitting…Noble or not…

    Anyway, I hope I'm not too much out of the subject!
    Have a nice day everyone!
    Gassho,
    Jinyu

  37. #37

    Re: your truth about The Four Noble Truths

    Quote Originally Posted by Jinyu
    This path of the patriarchs from Gautama to Bodhidharma, Huineng and Dogen, ... is simple and clear from the very beginning. Huineng's platform sutra (Duanhang version), like Dogen in other words, says:" When a phenomenon arises in the "field of the senses/mind",...just see it with the light of Prajna (conscious attention) and do not try to follow or get/grasp it. That way you will see your "True Nature", the Essence of your Mind/Heart who is Buddha."

    Thus one moment of Zazen is, as Dogen emphasized so much, a moment of enlightenment. One moment seeing our Mind/Heart (or Body/Mind) without developing attachments that leads to more suffering (or in other words, attachments are the roots of suffering) is One moment of perfect and unspeakable enlightenment.

    As I see it this pathless path, spread and explained by numberless Buddhas are all contained in the 4th Noble truths... the 8fold path. That we can resume in our tradition (correct me if I'm wrong) as Zazen, Kesa, Precepts... Each one is unique, yet not different from the other.

    The precepts are the very beginning and also “a result of Zazen”. Zazen itself includes stopping creating or following attachment. But on the other hand, we need to practice this “not following the seeds of suffering” with the perfect sense that Zazen doesn't serve for anything by itself... it won't pay your bills or make you an immortal.
    Same thing for the precepts, same thing when studying the Kesa, doing Kinhin, eating soup or reading these silly lines…we just do the thing.
    Abandoning slowly ideas of an Ego or a non-Ego, even a Dharma or a non-Dharma (not just the word but the wide reality beyond it). Just seeing what is without ideas of good, bad, square or round, born or unborn, space and time, sacred and profane and finally even abandoning the idea of something to be abandon ... of a Buddha or a non-Buddha.... And staying in the simple truth of being, of just sitting…Noble or not…
    deep, deep bows my friend and buddha to be

    gassho
    Greg

  38. #38

    Re: your truth about The Four Noble Truths

    Many great comments!

    The translation of the word "dukkha" bothered me when I first began practicing, and I had a hard time explaining to others without them thinking that Buddhism is nihilistic or focused on negativity.

    Now, I tend to take the visual translation of the word "dukka," which has its origins in the notion of a wheel off kilter. When I think of "dukkha," an image of a wheel spinning crookedly pops up in my mind. So, it could be

    1. Wheels spin off kilter
    2. There is a reason for that
    3. There is a way to get it to spin evenly again
    4. Here's how!

    Silly maybe, but sometimes visual analogies work well.

    Gassho,
    Matt

  39. #39

    Re: your truth about The Four Noble Truths

    I love your version Matt, very clean.

    gassho


    Taigu

  40. #40

    Re: your truth about The Four Noble Truths

    Quote Originally Posted by chugai
    I'm looking for the LIKE button
    Same here!
    Very visual... and to the point! probably the best image I'll keep in mind!
    thank you Matt! :wink:

    gassho,
    Jinyu

  41. #41
    Treeleaf Unsui Shokai's Avatar
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    Re: your truth about The Four Noble Truths

    Matt;

    thank you for turning the wheel one more time

    Mo ichido kudasai

  42. #42
    Senior Member Ekai's Avatar
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    Re: your truth about The Four Noble Truths

    I see in this thread many different variations of what others describe as the 4 Noble Truths. I think, not one variation is better than the other as long we understand ourselves what the 4 Noble Truths are. If one has their own way of describing the Truths but essentially means the same thing as the original teaching in order to help them better understand the Truths and to live in the Dharma, I think that is great. However, living in the Dharma and walking the path is where the real understanding of the teachings come in.

    I prefer to keep these teachings as simple as I can, like Matt. Maybe this is too simple but I try not over complicate things as a busy working mom.

    The reality is that there is suffering. Clinging leads to suffering. Letting of clinging leads to the release of suffering. There is a path to be free from suffering. Clinging is like a domino effect that leads to aversion, greed, ignorance, selfishness and anger. But letting go of clinging leads to mindfulness, clarity, peace, compassion, lovingkindess and wisdom. I heard a Thervada teacher once say "Nothing is worth is clinging to". Sometimes I will say this to myself when I feel an attachment and it helps to let it go.

    But this is so much easier said than done. :roll:

    Jodi

  43. #43

    Re: your truth about The Four Noble Truths

    Hi,

    I like to say that this practice returns us to a certain encompassing Peace & Joy even about a life/world/self that may be sometimes felt as joyous and peaceful, but sometimes not ... a 'Joy' even at not always feeling joyous! :shock: It is somehow being At One Piece & One Peace with the whole wild "roller coaster" ride that can be life ... up down up down up ... sunny day, rainy day, sunny day, rainy day ... Let It Ride! We Are The Ride! Just the Ride!

    It is not necessarily about our attaining some ability to feel "la la la happy happy happy" each and every moment of life. Rather, it is a foundational Happiness that sweeps in sometimes being happy, sometimes sad ... and ITS ALL OKAY! It is a "Contentment" free of the need even to be "content" with every problem in life. It is a Peace of One Piece in a world that is sometimes felt to be peaceful, sometimes not at all, sometime broken all to pieces!

    There is a difference between a human being who is sometimes sad but wants to be always always happy ... and a human being who is sometimes sad but is very much at peace and wholly whole with being sometimes happy, sometimes sad, always human! (Same with sometimes feeling naturally afraid, tired, confused, a touch angry ... all normal human emotions, each no problem so long as we are not their prisoner).

    After nearly 30 years of Zen Practice ... tonight I am feeling a little blue and afraid! :cry: Health discomforts and a basic fear of doctors and knives, economic worries due to the earthquake, lack of sleep, five melting nuclear reactors a hundred miles from here, radioactive vegetables growing in my garden, my kids school being swept with Geiger Counters, three months of each of the foregoing, a car with a dead battery, growing cracks in our house walls and a still fallen roof, a close relative slowly dying before her time ... and our cat got bit by a snake (though the cat seems largely okay). YUCK!

    And after 30 years of Zen Practice ... Zen Practice will "FIX" little if any of it. It will not repair either the nuke reactors or my gall stones, bring business in the door, mend the house walls, my loved ones, the cat. Thus, I feel a bit tired, sad and afraid today.

    Yet, after 30 years of Zen Practice ... it is all ... somehow ... OKAY BEYOND OKAY too! (I always speak on how we come to experience life in several seemingly contradictory levels ... At Once, As One). Thus, a lot of stuff that is "not so okay" is also All A-OKAY! :shock: There may be a feeling of some things being 'Yuck' ... but there is not 'Dukkha'

    There is simultaneously (1) some natural friction and discontent between how my little 'self' demands/wishes this life-world would better be ... and (2) all friction and discontent fully dropped away, AT ONCE, cast off into Emptiness! Thus, self is dropped away, the barriers and separation of this self/life/world dropped away (even as that small self bumps heads with the world of its discontents a bit)! One so permeates and perfumes the other that, well, Yuck is no longer just Yuck! It is even somehow beautiful! :wink:

    My view of Dukkha and the Four Noble Truths is here (written, by coincidence, during a previous hospital stay):

    So, what are the 'Four Noble Truths' (the Buddha's earliest teaching)?
    .
    Life is Dukkha; there is a cause for Dukkha; there is a way to the cessation of Dukkha; that way is the Noble Eightfold Path.

    So, what’s “Dukkha”? …and what does Dukkha do?

    No one English word captures the full depth and range of the Pali term, Dukkha. It is sometimes rendered as “suffering,” as in “life is suffering.” But perhaps it’s better expressed as “dissatisfaction,” “anxiety,” “disappointment,” “unease at perfection,” or “frustration” — terms that wonderfully convey a subtlety of meaning.

    In a nutshell, your “self” wishes this world to be X, yet this world is not X. The mental state that may result to the “self” from this disparity is Dukkha.
    .
    Shakyamuni Buddha gave many examples: sickness (when we do not wish to be sick), old age (when we long for youth), death (if we cling to life), loss of a loved one (as we cannot let go), violated expectations, the failure of happy moments to last (though we wish them to last). Even joyous moments — such as happiness and good news, treasure or pleasant times — can be a source of suffering if we cling to them, if we are attached to those things.

    In ancient stories, Dukkha is often compared to a chariot’s or potter’s wheel that will not turn smoothly as it revolves. The opposite, Sukkha, is a wheel that spins smoothly and noiselessly, without resistance as it goes.

    Fortunately, Shakyamuni Buddha also provided the Dukkha cure.

    ...

    These Basic Buddhist Teachings are for right in the heart of life, today in a hospital room with my wife, the night before surgery. Times like these are the true proving ground.

    This Practice has no purpose or value… and it is at moments like this one that its value and purpose are crystal clear.

    In life, there’s sickness, old age, death and loss… other very hard times… But that’s not why ‘Life is Suffering‘. Not at all, said the Buddha.
    .
    Instead …

    ... it’s sickness, but only when we refuse the condition
    …old age, if we long for youth
    … death, because we cling to life
    … loss, when we cannot let go
    ... violated expectations, because we wished otherwise
    Our “dissatisfaction,” “disappointment,”‘ “unease” and “frustration” — Dukkha — arises as a state of mind, as our demands and wishes for how things “should be” or “if only would be for life to be content” differ from”the way things are.” Your “self” wishes this world to be X, yet this world is not X. That wide gap of “self” and “not self” is the source of Dukkha.
    .
    Our Practice closes the gap; not the least separation.

    What’s more, even happiness can be a source of Dukkha if we cling to the happy state, demand that it stay, are attached to good news, material successes, pleasures and the like.. refusing the way life may otherwise go. That is also the “self” placing judgments and demands on life.

    Fortunately, the Buddha provided the medicine for this disease of dis-ease: The Eightfold Path (which we will talk about in our next ‘Buddha-Basics’).

    Oh, no amount of Practice can make times like these — sitting in a hospital room, in pain and awaiting the surgeon’s knife — fun. It is natural to worry too. Yet all is revealed as somehow okay: okay beyond okay, allowing all, yielding, flowing with the flowing, beyond worry (even in the heart of worry), resistance gone… letting it be.

    The gap is closed. There is peace.


    viewtopic.php?f=21&t=2942

    and

    viewtopic.php?f=21&t=2941
    Gassho, J

    PS -

    As for the meaning in life; I don't know is a good answer. Although I do feel that there is no meaning. Not in no point why bother type of way, but I do not think life is a means to anything. Life is life. Complete and perfect it is not lacking nor is it to be lived for any other reasons beside living life for life sake.
    Even though we learn to taste life with no need to attain or obtain, no goals ... do not think we need be without goals, purposes. We can live life for life's sake ... plus accomplish so much, building buildings, raising children, writing songs ... goals and no goals, At Once As One.

  44. #44

    Re: your truth about The Four Noble Truths

    Gassho, Jundo. And much metta to you and your family during this rough time.

  45. #45

    Re: your truth about The Four Noble Truths

    Jundo,

    I can't thank you enough for this post. I'm gonna print it out and keep it with me for deep study. You embody the balance between extremes that I hope someday to inherit. My mom was hospitalized last night (we think it's her liver, she has lupus and her organs seem to be in the process of shutting down) and this post really speaks to me right now, helping my suffering seem a little less like suffering, though worrying about her and doing all I can to comfort her. I'm sorry about your misfortunes. Much metta for you and your family. Peace.

    gassho
    Greg

  46. #46
    Senior Member Ekai's Avatar
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    Re: your truth about The Four Noble Truths

    Jundo,

    Yes, thank you for this post too and I hope you feel better soon.

    Greg,

    I hope your mom feels better too.


    Thanks,
    Jodi

  47. #47

    Re: your truth about The Four Noble Truths

    Thank you Jundo.

    Greg, I hope your mom gets better as well!

    Gassho,

    Risho

  48. #48
    Senior Member Heisoku's Avatar
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    Re: your truth about The Four Noble Truths

    Here I am thinking about a situation and after reading and re-reading these posts I am really grateful for 'just being' in this situation. Learning to be in suffering....

    Much metta to you Jundo, and to you Greg and your mum.
    Many thanks to all posters.

  49. #49
    disastermouse
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    Re: your truth about The Four Noble Truths

    I just think this is an awesome thread all around...very cool to get so much discussion about the 4NT and individuals' personal stories relating to them.

    *gassho*

  50. #50
    Treeleaf Unsui Shokai's Avatar
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    Re: your truth about The Four Noble Truths

    Metta for Jundo and family

    _/_ _/_ _/_ _/_ _/_ _/_ _/_ _/_ _/_

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