Buddhism Dukkha is the first of the four noble truths of Buddhism. The word means suffering, but just to state suffering as the entirety of the first noble truth, is not enough because the expression of dukkha is the first truth that is needed for salvation. Moreover, dukkha is the conclusion of a logical chain of ideas that explains the life and death cycle of mankind. Before a person recognizes the truth of dukkha, he lives in a space of ignorance and with ignorance he seeks the fulfillment of his desires, yet with every demand met, he soon finds dissatisfaction. The longer a person lives the more apparent the truth of demise. With birth comes pain; with living comes pain and suffering. In life there is despair, confusion and grief.
In just one day a man experiences hunger and failure and sickness and at every moment that man knows that no matter how successful, or rich, or famous, or healthy he is; he will die. There is nothing externally that is safe because everything is temporal; even we are temporal. The knowledge of this truth is the first part of the Buddhist salvation. Knowing that all is futile and there is nothing externally that can release us from the truth is the acceptance of dukkha. Hidden in the first noble truth is the idea of dependence.
The human is completely dependent on all that is around him and all that is not in his control. Even death brings a new cycle of rebirth, but it is not really new because the re-birth gathers all of the dependent conditioning activities of the last life cycle. The truth of dukkha has to be an absolute. It is foundational for salvation because it is release from ignorance. In addition, dukkha is unshakable and constant. Though it be the truth in the negative, it is the only safe harbor that one can cling.
The second noble truth is the answer to the first noble truth. That is, what is the root cause of dukkha? In fact, to leave man with dukkha alone there is no salvation. Gautama concluded that tanya is at the heart of dukkha. Tanya, translated-craving, or desire gives a logical explanation for suffering and another releasing truth. Man is born with thirst.
Thirst for physical and emotional satisfaction. Man loves friends and family that all perish with man. It is the love that is the problem, not the temporary nature of life. In addition, it is the desires of man that causes sufferings. The book of James stated the truth of tanya in James 1:14, “But every man is tempted, when he is drawn away of his own lust, and enticed.” Gautama’s discipline in the second noble truth is to extinguish the craving.
It is man’s lusts, desires and cravings that are the cause of dukkha, certainly not the dukkha itself. Tanya also contains the concept of ignorance. Ignorance is the inability to see the truth about things, to see things as they really are. It is true that ignorance is a component of dukkha, but Gautama states that ignorance sits in the root cause of dukkha. Therefore, ignorance begins with tanya.
Plainly stated, ignorance is not the casual western definition of the word, but it is a link in a chain. For example, man strives for permanence and fulfillment, but he is ignorant of the fact that existence will never bring true satisfaction. The practices of satisfaction often times carries an evil type of karma that just fuels the fire for more karma due to the unsatisfied nature of man. So, it is self defeating to attempt to satisfy the desire. Although knowledge is an important aspect for the Buddhist way to salvation; it is not parallel to the Hindu belief that through knowledge-jnana salvation can be achieved. In Buddhist theory, knowledge is a tool that is utilized to achieve the basics of the need for nirvana.
The third noble truth is the sensation of dukkha. Since the root cause of dukkha is explained and known as truth, then with every cause, logically, there must be a way to stop the cause. This is the truth of nirodha. Again, it is another stage of enlightenment, but not the path to enlightenment. It is a foundational truth and the first three truths are connected through the thought processes. The second noble truth tells man the cause.
The third noble truth tells man the solution. Simply stated, cease to have desires, expectations and cravings. In the West, the idea of nirodha is expressed in the book The Road Less Traveled when in the first chapter the author states, ” Life is difficult. Once we accept that life is difficult, it is no longer difficult.” At first glance the third noble truth may cause one to believe in asceticism, but Buddhism is “the middle way” and asceticism did not work as a means of salvation for Siddhartha. Nirodha is actualized with the realization that pleasure is good, but temporary.
Dukkha is present, but acceptance of the good and the evil, or suffering part of the realm of dukkha brings release. Cessation of the experiences of dissatisfaction can be achieved. First, by accepting pleasure and the enjoyment of pleasure. Second, by accepting that all is impermanent. There is no grief once one internalizes the truth. Buddhism denies dualism and denies the existence of the human soul.
An aspect of nirodha is to quench the desire and craving; the experience of dukkha. Once quenched, there is liberation in the all aspects of life. With the realization that dissatisfaction is created through the human psyche, It is in ourselves that we can undermine the process. The fourth noble truth, magga, is the path by which man comes to know nirvana. The way to release is expressed in an eight fold path. The path is not meant to be a set of ethics to adhere to in fear of an external source, but a way to salvation and liberation from the samsara cycle.
Buddhism utilizes meditational and yogic disciplines. Without yoga and concentration the truths of the liberation cannot be realized. Nirvana is the ultimate goal, but the enlightenment is also a progression that begins with insight that leads to knowledge. From knowledge to calmness, then to a higher knowledge, enlightenment and finally nirvana. Religion Essays.