by Ajahn Sumedho | 2004 | 22,385 words
A collection of talks dealing with understanding and practicing the Four Noble Truths. The Four Noble Truths refer to a basic concept within Buddhism. In short, they refer to: dukkha (“suffering”); samudaya (“arising”); nirodha (“cessation”); marga (“the path”)....
Suffering is something we usually do not want to know — we just want to get rid of it. As soon as there is any inconvenience or annoyance, the tendency of an unawakened human being is to get rid of it or suppress it. One can see why modern society is so caught up in seeking pleasures and delights in what is new, exciting or romantic. We tend to emphasise the beauties and pleasures of youth whilst the ugly side of life — old age, sickness, death, boredom, despair and depression, are pushed aside. When we find ourselves with something we do not like, we try to get away from it to something we do like. If we feel boredom, we go to something interesting. If we feel frightened, we try to find safety. This is a perfectly natural thing to do. We are associated with that pleasure/pain principle of being attracted and repelled. So if the mind is not full and receptive, then it is selective — it selects what it likes and tries to suppress what it does not like. Much of our experience has to be suppressed because a lot of what we are inevitably involved with is unpleasant in some way.
If anything unpleasant arises we say, Run away! If anyone gets in our way we say, Kill him! This tendency is often apparent in what our governments do ... Frightening, isnt it, when you think of the kind of people who run our countries — because they are still very ignorant and unenlightened. But that is the way it is. The ignorant mind thinks of extermination: Heres a mosquito; kill it!, These ants are taking over the room; spray them with ant killer! There is a company in London called Rent o-Kil. I dont know if it is a kind of British mafia or what, but it specialises in killing pests - however you want to interpret the word pests.