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Born in the fifth century BCE, Siddhartha Gautama is the core founder of the Buddhist ideology. He came from a privileged family that offered him a providential upbringing.
The world’s view of Buddhists attaches some paramount importance to his birth, as he is viewed as the figure that brought the truth that the religion upholds. Siddhartha Gautama was a Hindu who led a faction that did not conform to the Hindu’s teachings.
Therefore, it is apparent that Hinduism originated from the Hindu’s religion though it began as a reform movement from within Hinduism. Based on the words of Kinnard (2011), it is apparent, “Buddhism did not emerge from a religious vacuum” (p. 1).
Vedas, which were oral texts that began in 1500 BC, are attributed to the early Buddhism. Gautama was a king who lived an exemplary life. However, when he was walking, he encountered people suffering from illness, old age, death issues, and hermits.
This experience triggered his instincts. He decided to relinquish his pleasurable life to find the truth about the agony that people went through.
The knowledge is summarized in the four noble truths, which include life means suffering, the cessation of suffering is attainable, the origin of suffering is attachment, and the path to the cessation of suffering.
Noble truths of Buddha
The first noble truth presents life as a form of enduring pain. According to Buddha, the life led by people is full of suffering and problems (Herbrechtsmeier, 1993, p. 16) because the world that they inhabit and human nature are not perfect enough to provide comfort to human beings.
During their existence, people go through a lot of agony. They endure a physical suffering that is subjected to their bodies (Kinnard, 2011, p. 4). Some of the sufferings that people encounter include injuries, sickness, pain, tiredness, and old age.
People also encounter and endure emotional/psychological pains such as frustrations, sadness, disappointment, depression, and loneliness among many others (Kinnard, 2011, p. 1). These sufferings are experienced in different measures or degrees among different people.
However, despite the sufferings, they also experience some occasions of happiness, easiness, and comfort. Nonetheless, in its totality, life remains imperfect because the world is subjected to more frustrations.
The experiences made Buddha find out the truth about life. This therefore marked the journey of his quest to find the truth, hence “…the beginning of a six-year quest for awakening (Herbrechtsmeier, 1993, p. 15).
As long as one can wish to try to keep his/her life happy and comfortable, he/she cannot maintain the status for the entire period of his/her lifetime. Therefore, the world is characterized by endless sufferings that individuals have to encounter.
During his venture, he found a solution to these sufferings. He managed to identify the causes of why people suffer. His title changed to Buddha after he managed to succeed in finding the causes and solutions to the sufferings.
In India, the religion was a door to prosperity in life especially when an individual performed his/her actions well. In fact, in the Vedas, “emphasis is on sacrificial action, work, and the correct performance of that action” (Kinnard, 2011, p. 4).
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The encounters and experiences that Buddha went through changed his life entirely. His father, Shuddhodhana, managed to keep him off from such scenes- scenes of people dying, old ages, and in sickness until his old age.
The second noble of truth is ‘the origin of suffering is attachment’. Suffering originates from people’s ignorance and their dear attachment or desire on the transient things that are amidst their lives (Kinnard, 2011, p. 56).
These things are not only physical or materials things that people perceive and admire to have but also ideas that they have about acquiring any general things about life. People’s ignorance is manifested by their lack of understanding that their mind is attached to these transient /impermanent materials.
The reasons why people suffer is due to their clinging and craving. The suffering is brought by their passion, desire, pursuit for wealth, prestige, ardor, and the quest to become rich and be famous and popular. Kinnard (2011, p.9) refers all these as the “hustle and bustle of the world.”
Therefore, people will do everything to ensure that they achieve the things that they desire. They fail to understand that their attachment to these things is transient. Therefore, it is inevitable that they must lose them in a bid to usher in suffering.
Individuals will acquire these materials. However, they will again “fail to manage them properly” (Kinnard, 2011, p. 68). Losing them incepts or is the beginning of more problems, as people will begin to develop complications such as high blood pressures due to stress that occurs after the loss of what they desire.
The notion of ‘self’ is also “one of the objects of attachment that is a delusion because an individual cannot abide by him/herself” (Herbrechtsmeier, 1993, p. 15). Self is only an imagined entity. In the nature of human beings, the universe will ever consume them.
The third noble truth is that cessation of suffering is attainable. This implies that, as human beings, people have the capacity to avoid suffering in their life through causing nirodha.
Nirodha is a terminology that means the process of unmasking conceptual attachments and sensual cravings (Kinnard, 2011, p. 65). Therefore, if human beings attain dispassion, they can eliminate the sufferings they go through.
This noble truth provides a solution to the problems and sufferings that people encounter when living on earth. It is therefore possible to remove or eradicate suffering. The only way through is human activity, which entails the removal all causes of sufferings (Kinnard, 2011, p. 79).
State of nivora i.e. freedom for troubles, worries, complexes, fabrications, and ideas needs to be managed by or attained by human beings’ own initiative of perfecting their dispassion.
Therefore, people’s sufferings are something that they can avoid and or manage if they have the power and will not to do that. It remains a decision made by an individual.
For instance, many people crave to lead certain kinds of life. Such imaginations increase suffering and agony to their life (Kinnard, 2011, p. 70).
The secret however of overcoming such sufferings and agony in life is to avoid behaviors such as the desire to lead a comfortable life without hustles and earthly desires.
The fourth noble of truth is the path to the cessation of suffering. It is the journey leading to the end of suffering. It stands out as a method or a way that helps an individual to seek improvement (Kinnard, 2011, p. 83).
This fourth noble truth is at the middle of hedoism and asceticism, which lead to the end of the rebirth cycle. The truth manifests itself in many cases.
As an individual makes progress gradually over time, the individual’s habits of delusions, craving, and ignorance begin to vanish until the person is able to lead a more comfortable life. In fact, in the six years of awakening, Buddha exercised speculation and used time with leaders of the abstainers.
During his stay, he was able to understand and master their systems, but was not convinced that he had found the answers that he was seeking on the source of human suffering. The experiences brought suffering to Buddha who became emaciated because of the puzzles of life (Herbrechtsmeier, 1993, p. 2).
As he reveals, once they come to the world, people have no otherwise but to go through the sufferings until they die and depart from this world. The religion comprised of many gods that were believed to be divine. People offered sacrifices to these personified forces of nature with the hope of shunning the many calamities they were encountering.
They therefore did praise worshiping besides offering sacrifices to the forces. In return, they got booms from these gods in terms of increased production, protection, healthy sons, and a long life.
This is evidenced in the quotation “in return, humans received booms from the gods-abundant crops, healthy sons, protection, and long lives” (Kinnard, 2011, p. 3).
How the Four Noble Truths Apply in my Life
Based on the expositions made in the paper about the four noble truths, it is apparent that they mean a lot, not only to me but also to any other person. Initially, I got worried whenever I faced any form of suffering.
However, the four noble truths make it clear to me that, since the sufferings are inevitable and temporary, I should try to live as happily as possible without worrying about the future. I need not to worry because I am not rich. All I need is just enough to take me through today.
The future will take care of itself. Suffering is a way of hardening one off in preparation for great things to come. Secondly, they have helped me to know the true nature of reality that life and sufferings go hand in hand.
As such, I have developed the sense of appreciating life as it is without questioning. I have been able to appreciate that sufferings connect all of us.
Thus, instead of conflicting with others, I now have the best of reasons to wish them well in their lives. Therefore, the four noble truths are a way of nurturing one’s peace of mind. Every one needs to emulate the teachings.
In conclusion, Buddhism is a religious doctrine that can be attributed to Buddha. Like any other religion, Buddhism has its doctrines upon which its followers base their ideologies. These are otherwise referred to as ‘truths’ that form the basis of any religion.
The ancient belief and understanding of the Buddha religion amongst people in the ancient time was not based on truth. Buddha is viewed as an individual who brought enlightenment in the Buddhism doctrine. He found out the truth about life and human sufferings.
The four noble of truths are enlightenment to the people and believers of the Buddhism faith. For instance, as revealed in the paper, human beings live and encounter sufferings. These sufferings are mandatory and cannot be avoided. However, human beings cause some of the sufferings due to their cravings and desires.
The paper has gone further to confirm that, despite the suffering that people cause to themselves, they too stand a decent chance of eliminating them.
Herbrechtsmeier, W. (1993). Buddhism and the Definition of Religion: one More Time. Journal for the Scientific Study of Religion, 32(2), 1-20.
Kinnard, J. (2011). The Emergence of Buddhism: Classical Traditions in Contemporary Perspective. Minneapolis: Fortress Press.