your truth about The Four Noble Truths

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  • Taigu
    Blue Mountain White Clouds Hermitage Priest
    • Aug 2008
    • 2710

    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
  • Saijun
    Member
    • Jul 2010
    • 667

    #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),

    Originally posted by Saijun
    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
    To give up yourself without regret is the greatest charity. --RBB

    Comment

    • ghop
      Member
      • Jan 2010
      • 438

      #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

      Comment

      • Taigu
        Blue Mountain White Clouds Hermitage Priest
        • Aug 2008
        • 2710

        #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

        Comment

        • will
          Member
          • Jun 2007
          • 2331

          #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
          [size=85:z6oilzbt]
          To save all sentient beings, though beings are numberless.
          To penetrate reality, though reality is boundless.
          To transform all delusion, though delusions are immeasurable.
          To attain the enlightened way, a way non-attainable.
          [/size:z6oilzbt]

          Comment

          • will
            Member
            • Jun 2007
            • 2331

            #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
            [size=85:z6oilzbt]
            To save all sentient beings, though beings are numberless.
            To penetrate reality, though reality is boundless.
            To transform all delusion, though delusions are immeasurable.
            To attain the enlightened way, a way non-attainable.
            [/size:z6oilzbt]

            Comment

            • ghop
              Member
              • Jan 2010
              • 438

              #7
              Re: your truth about The Four Noble Truths

              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.

              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

              Comment

              • ghop
                Member
                • Jan 2010
                • 438

                #8
                Re: your truth about The Four Noble Truths

                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

                Comment

                • ghop
                  Member
                  • Jan 2010
                  • 438

                  #9
                  Re: your truth about The Four Noble Truths

                  I spoke too soon. I still like it.

                  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

                  Comment

                  • Seiryu
                    Member
                    • Sep 2010
                    • 620

                    #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
                    Humbly,
                    清竜 Seiryu

                    Comment

                    • ghop
                      Member
                      • Jan 2010
                      • 438

                      #11
                      Re: your truth about The Four Noble Truths

                      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

                      Comment

                      • Geika
                        Treeleaf Unsui
                        • Jan 2010
                        • 4980

                        #12
                        Re: your truth about The Four Noble Truths

                        Originally posted by ghop
                        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:
                        求道芸化 Kyūdō Geika
                        I am just a priest-in-training, please do not take anything I say as a teaching.

                        Comment

                        • Taigu
                          Blue Mountain White Clouds Hermitage Priest
                          • Aug 2008
                          • 2710

                          #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

                          Comment

                          • Saijun
                            Member
                            • Jul 2010
                            • 667

                            #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
                            To give up yourself without regret is the greatest charity. --RBB

                            Comment

                            • Taigu
                              Blue Mountain White Clouds Hermitage Priest
                              • Aug 2008
                              • 2710

                              #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

                              Comment

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