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Four Noble Truths as Buddhism Fundamentals Essay

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Updated: Sep 8th, 2020


The four noble truths may be defined as the fundamental teachings of the Buddhism religion. The Four Noble Truths are simultaneously given as the first lessons to everyone being introduced to Buddhism. They describe the way of life of the followers and the factors that can cause suffering. The truths are not just philosophical interpretations, but also give cognitive methodologies to promote psychological insight of the believer (Tay 104).

It can be viewed as a particular guideline that may be utilized to improve the understanding of their lives and everything that surrounds them (Fenner 7). They reassure that suffering can be eliminated in someone’s life as long as the person or the believer follows the teachings strictly and wisely. Notably, the teachings represent a permanent cure for misery. Followers of Buddhism believe that they have the power inside them to end the pain in their lives. It is necessary to analyze each step to improve an understanding of their purpose and unique aspects.

The Truth of Suffering

The first noble truth in Buddhism teachings is the truth of suffering that is frequently referred to as Dukkha. It is suggested that a person’s life is full of frustration, pain, and dissatisfaction. The teaching of this truth is expressed in three different ways. One of them is defined as “suffering of suffering” whereby the person is aware of the torment, such as physical discomfort, war, and diseases (Laumakis 97). The other dimension is pain and frustration brought by the impermanence of all possible things. The last interpretation of the Dukkha is the expression of suffering that is inevitable. Moreover, it focuses on such issues as agony that one must experience as a human being.

It is suggested that one may have to look at various aspects of suffering to be aware of possible implications. The issue is that many people reject them, and they believe that they are quite outdated (Sumedho 11). Some state that a particular inconsistency is present because several interpretations of the teachings are possible. One may think that it is suggested that an individual is capable of controlling his or her happiness if moral principles are respected (Gowans 124).

However, it is possible to argue with this objection, and it was most likely meant that relief is only temporary. The first noble truth is criticized because it encourages hopelessness. It is possible to argue that Buddhism, as a religion, is pessimistic since it majors in suffering. On the other hand, one of the core aspects that should be highlighted is that it helps to identify issues that are present in the life of an individual, and this position allows having a better understanding of what course of action is required to resolve them.

The Noble Truth of Source of Illness

The truth suggests that the lack of knowledge can be one of the primary causes of illness. Craving can be regarded as one of the sources according to the noble truths (Carus 102). Human beings often find themselves in trouble due to a desire to get access to things, which are not in their capacities, such as material wealth and mental satisfaction. Therefore, the truth holds that human beings are in constant motion to rearrange themselves in a pleasant manner (Netland 109).

Therefore, individuals are not satisfied with what they have as well as what they are. One of the aspects that are frequently misunderstood is that some are not aware of the fact that the core issue is not craving. The primary problem is spiritual ignorance, and it could lead to severe complications in some cases. Moreover, such individuals are not capable of developing a particular state of mind that is crucial to attaining wisdom (Velez par. 57).

It is also possible to argue that the situation is not the same for every person, and this approach cannot be applied in all cases. Some people are born with problems such as hereditary diseases that do not come from cravings. Critics argue that it is inevitable, and it can occur to any individual regardless of his or her religion. However, it should be regarded as a general guideline, and one may have to explore his or her thoughts to understand how to avoid craving and ignorance.

The Truth of Cessation of Suffering

The third noble truth makes Buddhism look optimistic. It sensitizes that suffering can be eradicated out of the lives of humans (Matthews, 145). Buddhism teaches that humans should take a ‘middle way’ approach to deal with suffering. However, the third noble truth is confusing since it needs spiritual development and maturity. It is stated that desire may be extinguished by deliberating oneself from the attachment.

Therefore, the possibility of liberation is present, and the concept of Nirvana is introduced. It can be described as a state of mind where a human can reach to be free from suffering. It is also a condition in which one is full of spiritual happiness without fears and emotions (Carus 110). The truth suggests that believers should major in freeing themselves from the chains of suffering (Trainor 76).

The Truth of Path to the Cessation of Suffering

This truth entails giving specific solutions to suffering, and it provides the noble eight-fold path. Individuals should be aware of the fact that they should have access to the necessary knowledge to ensure that their practice of Buddha’s teaching is appropriate. Moreover, it is suggested that one should focus on cultivating a relevant attitude and be peaceful. Meditation is also particularly interesting because it is believed that it may alter the mind of a person. It is possible to state that enormous attention is devoted to ethical aspects, just like in many other teachings.

The eight paths can be divided simultaneously into precepts, meditation, and wisdom. The first approach is utilized to help a person learns how to control the body and the mind (Carus 112). Mediation, on the other hand, assists a person to comprehend how to unify the mind. Finally, wisdom is crucial in the first two practices since it enables one to reach enlightenment. Buddha describes the Eightfold Path as a way to enlightenment (Carus 112). Once a person achieves a particular level, there is no need to use the Path again. It is imperative to understand that the primary goal of this approach is to ensure that all behaviors that are viewed as wrong are eliminated. Moreover, additional ones may be introduced if an individual is determined to achieve the highest possible level (Harvey 69).


In summary, it is evident that the Four Noble Truths can be viewed as fundamental principles of Buddhism, and their primary objective is to eliminate suffering from the life of an individual and achieve enlightenment. The teachings suggest that the quality of life may be improved if the source of pain is addressed and necessary measures are taken. However, the issue is that there is no definite cause in some cases, and the process will take a long time until one identifies the primary causes of his or her unhappiness. Overall, it is possible to state that any selfishness can be quite problematic, and one may consider these principles to enhance views on life and to become spiritual.

Works Cited

Carus, Paul. The Four Noble Truths and The Eightfold Path. Altenmünster, DE: Jazzybee Verlag, 2012. Print.

Fenner, Peter. The Self and Its Destiny in Buddhism. Victoria, AU: Deakin University, 1990. Print.

Gowans, Christopher W. Philosophy of the Buddha. London, UK: Routledge, 2003. Print.

Harvey, Peter. An Introduction to Buddhism: Teachings, History and Practices. Cambridge, UK: Cambridge University, 1990. Print.

Laumakis, Stephen. An introduction to Buddhist Philosophy. Cambridge, UK: Cambridge University, 2003. Print.

Matthews, Lewis. The Four Noble Truths of Wealth: A Buddhist View of Economic Life. London, UK: Enlightened Economy Books, 2014. Print.

Netland, Harold. Buddhism: A Christian Exploration and Appraisal. Downers Grove, IL:IVP Academic, 2009. Print.

Sumedho, Ajahn. The Four Noble Truths. Taipei City, TW: Buddha Education Foundation, n.d. Print.

Tay, Ching. From the Four Noble Truths to the Four Universal Vows: An integration of the Mahayana and Theravada Schools. Hacienda Heights, CA: Buddha’s Light Pub, 2002. Print.

Trainor, Kevin. Buddhism: The Illustrated Guide. New York, NY: Oxford Univ. Press, 2004. Print.

Velez, Abraham. “.” Internet Encyclopedia of Philosophy. Internet Encyclopedia of Philosophy, n.d. Web.

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IvyPanda. 2020. "Four Noble Truths as Buddhism Fundamentals." September 8, 2020. https://ivypanda.com/essays/four-noble-truths-as-buddhism-fundamentals/.


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