An Experiment in Turning A Simple Thing Into Many Difficult Things
(photo "The Four Noble Truths" from: The Friends of the Western Buddhist Order )
The Four Noble Truths. It's a shame there is not, and has not been, a universal human language, for even in the translation of these four simple sentences there are vast chasms of murkiness about which words to use. But then, the situation of not having a universal language highlights just how pervasive a truth the first Noble Truth is.
I am not going to use this translation from 4Truths.com:
1) THE EXISTENCE OF IMPERMANENCE "Dukkha"
2) THE ARISING OF SUFFERING BECAUSE OF CRAVING "Samudaya"
3) THE CESSATION OF SUFFERING "Nirodha"
4) THE MIDDLE WAY, or THE NOBLE EIGHTFOLD PATH "Magga"
I am going to use this translation from BuddhaWeb:
Four Noble Truths
1. Suffering exists
2. Suffering arises from attachment to desires
3. Suffering ceases when attachment to desire ceases
4. Freedom from suffering is possible by practicing the Eightfold Path
Simple and to the point. It correctly highlights the one part of life every living thing would like to do without: suffering. The first truth is noble because it is honest. The second truth is noble because it is insightful. The third truth is noble because it is a promise. The fourth truth is noble because it is the answer.
What is the Eightfold Path? According to BuddhaWeb, which is basically the same translation I am familiar with, the path to freedom from suffering is: right view, right thought, right speech, right action, right livelihood, right effort, right mindfulness, right contemplation.
Ah, but what is right? This second part, though simple, is not easy. Not easy at all. Not even easy to define. What is right? Well, things get murky at this point:
Three Characteristics of Existence
1. Transiency (anicca)
2. Sorrow (dukkha)
3. Selflessness (anatta)
1. Sensuous lust
2. Aversion and ill will
3. Sloth and torpor
4. Restlessness and worry
5. Skeptical doubt
Seven Factors of Enlightenment
. . . and then there's the Four Reliances . . . and it keeps on going like the energizer bunny to the Four Immeasurable Prayers, the Six Perfections, the Eight Auspicious Symbols, . . . and more. Hmm . . . talk about your ten thousand things . . .