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Four Noble Truths, aka: Noble Truths; 8 Definition(s)


Four Noble Truths means something in Buddhism, Pali, Hinduism, Sanskrit. Check out some of the following descriptions and leave a comment if you want to add your own contribution to this article.

In Hinduism

Āstika (orthodox philosophy)

taught the gospel of the four Aryan truths :

  1. Life is full of suffering. Every event is in life painful (birth, age, disease, desire and so on).
  2. It is desire that is the origin of suffering. It is the craving or thirst (Trishna) that binds us to the unending cycle of birth and death.
  3. It is possible to achieve the suppression of suffering. He said by wisdom and understanding and through full awareness of the self, man can attain the state of bliss. For this he must awaken himself from the Anjana to Jnana.
  4. The way to end suffering is to follow the noble eightfold path. In this all extremes are to be avoided and middle path has to be followed.

He also said that by torture of the body "Nirvana" or salvation cannot be achieved. He taught non-attachment. He said a wise man, who is a 'Sama Darshi', who looks upon everything in an objective unattached manner, is a real "Bodhi" or truly enlightened person. He said only a pure in heart shall attain Nirvana or liberation. The Buddha does not mention either God or the soul in his teachings. Instead he refers constantly to 'Manas' or mind, which prompts all actions and words.

Source: Wisdom Library: Indian Philosophy

about this context:

The term āstika refers to six mainstream schools of Hindu philosophy, accepting the Vedas as authorative. They are: Nyāyá (logic), Vaiśeṣika (atomism), Sāṃkhya (enumeration), Yoga (Patañjali’s school), Mimāṃsā (Vedic exegesis) and Vedanta (Upaniṣadic tradition). Together they also go by the name ṣaḍdarśana (‘six systems’).

In Buddhism

General definition (in Buddhism)

the 4 Noble: sacca. - 2-fold knowledge of the t.; s. saccañāna.

Source: Pali Kanon: Manual of Buddhist Terms and Doctrines

Four noble truths (Skt., ārya-satya; Pali, ariya-satta); these are the basis of the Buddhist teaching. The four noble truths are

  1. the truth of suffering (duhkha);
  2. the truth of the ori­gin (samudāya) of suffering;
  3. the truth of the cessation (nirodha) of suffering;
  4. the truth of the path that leads to the cessation of suf­fering.

1) The first truth says that all existence is charac­terized by suffering and does not bring satisfac­tion. Everything is suffering: birth, sickness, death; coming together with what one does not like; separating from what one does like; not ob­taining what one desires; and the five aggregates (skandha) of attachment that constitute the personality.

1) The second truth gives as the cause of suffer­ing craving or desire, the thirst (trishnā) for sensual pleasure, for becoming and passing away. This craving binds beings to the cycle of existence (samsāra).

3) The third truth says that through remainderless elimination of craving, suffering can be brought to an end.

4) The fourth truth gives the eightfold path as the means for the ending of suffering.

Nonrecognition of the four noble truths is ig­norance (avidyā).

The discovery of the four noble truths by the Buddha constituted, according to the various traditions, his actual enlightenment (bodhi). Buddha expounded these truths in the Benares discourse as his first teaching immediately after his enlightenment.

Source: Shambala Publications: General

the 4: ariya-sacca; s. sacca. - The 2-fold knowledge of the n.t.; s. sacca-ñāna.

Source: Pali Kanon: Manual of Buddhist Terms and Doctrines

The root of Dependent Origination is ingnorance. That is defined as ignorance of the Four Noble Truths.

The Four Noble Truths state that:

  1. Life is unsatisfactory or suffering (dukkha).
  2. Suffering arises because of desire.
  3. There is a path leading to the cessation of suffering.
  4. The path leading to the end of suffering is the Eightfold Path.

When one does not understand these truths directly one is subject to continual rebirth in the wheel of existence.

Source: Dhamma Study: Introduction to the Dhamma

The Four Noble Truths are one of the most fundamental Buddhist teachings. In broad terms, these truths relate to suffering (or dukkha), its nature, its origin, its cessation and the path leading to its cessation. They are among the truths Gautama Buddha is said to have realized during his experience of enlightenment.

  1. The Nature of Suffering (Dukkha):
    "This is the noble truth of suffering: birth is suffering, aging is suffering, illness is suffering, death is suffering; sorrow, lamentation, pain, grief and despair are suffering; union with what is displeasing is suffering; separation from what is pleasing is suffering; not to get what one wants is suffering; in brief, the five aggregates subject to clinging are suffering."
  2. Sufferings Origin (Samudaya):
    "This is the noble truth of the origin of suffering: it is this craving which leads to renewed existence, accompanied by delight and lust, seeking delight here and there, that is, craving for sensual pleasures, craving for existence, craving for extermination."
  3. Sufferings Cessation (Nirodha):
    "This is the noble truth of the cessation of suffering: it is the remainderless fading away and cessation of that same craving, the giving up and relinquishing of it, freedom from it, nonreliance on it."
  4. The Way (Marga) Leading to the Cessation of Suffering:
    "This is the noble truth of the way leading to the cessation of suffering: it is the Noble Eightfold Path; that is, right view, right intention, right speech, right action, right livelihood, right effort, right mindfulness, right concentration."

Certain major Mahayana sutras, including the Mahaparinirvana Sutra and the Angulimaliya Sutra, present variant versions of the Four Noble Truths.

Source: WikiPedia: Buddhism
  1. The Noble Truth of Suffering.
  2. The Noble Truth of the Origin of Suffering.
  3. The Noble Truth of the Cessation of Suffering.
  4. The Noble Truth of The Way Leading to Cessation of Sufferring.
Source: Amaravati: Glossary

It is the primary and fundamental doctrines of Shakyamuni

  1. Doctrine of Suffering - suffering is a necessary attribute of sentient existence (Effect of Suffering)
  2. Doctrine of Accumulation - accumulation of suffering is caused by passions (Cause of Suffering)
  3. Doctrine of Extinction - extinction of passion (Effect of Happiness)
  4. Doctrine of Path - Path leading to the extinction of passion (Cause of Happiness); i.e. Eightfold Path.

The first two are considered to be related to this life, and the last two to the life outside and beyond this world. The Four Noble Truths were first preached to Shakyamunis five former ascetic companions.

Source: Buddhist Door: Glossary

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