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Buddhism -- The Four Noble Truths

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Member Ascendant
since 08-20-99
Posts 5896
Jejudo, South Korea

0 posted 05-18-2000 10:54 PM       View Profile for Brad   Email Brad   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for Brad

1.  Life is suffering.

2.  Suffering is caused by desire.

3.  To stop suffering, one must stop desiring.

4.  To stop desiring, one can take the middle path (eight fold path).

All this talk of God just made me want to add a different perspective.

doreen peri
Member Rara Avis
since 05-25-99
Posts 8028

1 posted 05-19-2000 12:14 PM       View Profile for doreen peri   Email doreen peri   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for doreen peri

My sister is Buddhist. Much truth here... we often have spiritual discussions (i'm Christian) and we both seem to get a lot out of what the other is saying. Too bad a lot  of the rest of the world can't listen to other people's truth and learn from each other like we do.

i don't undertstand the burning insence on an alter and giving Buddha a sandwich he won't eat, tho...  

{footnote- sent you an email brad.. please check. thanks}
since 04-26-2000
Posts 118
Amherst, MA, USA

2 posted 05-20-2000 02:01 PM       View Profile for 7   Email 7   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for 7

I hope I am not offending anyone when I say I completely disagree with these truths. I'm not trying to start an arguement but to give another perspective.

Basically where it loses me is "suffering is caused by desire." Maybe some suffering is caused by desire, but suffering can be caused by other things, and desire can also cause many wonderful things other than suffering. Certainly, if you always want something more you can never be completely satisfied, but is complete satisfaction the goal of life?

Maybe these truths weren't meant to sound so, what's the word, absolute? inclusive? ... but they strike me as closed-minded. This is not to say that Buddhism is closed minded, but that is how these words effect me.

But looking at it as someone's perspective on life, it makes sense... that some people just want to reach complete satisfaction and lack of desire. I have thought this before. Desire is often uncomfortable, but I would not call it suffering. I would actually say suffering causes desire. There is a lot more to life than suffering though. Maybe "life" is meant differently here, like lack of suffering is something greater than life... I don't know too much about Buddhism, but I think I plan to learn more now.  

Angel Rand
since 09-04-99
Posts 140
London UK, and Zurich Switzerl

3 posted 05-21-2000 01:39 PM       View Profile for Angel Rand   Email Angel Rand   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for Angel Rand

Ahh desire...

Well as I have stated somewhere before I once gave my promise to not enter into discussions about God or religion anymore. Buddhism of course is more a philosophy than a religion but I don't want to split hairs over a promise. So I will only express my views on the 4 points here given by Brad.

1.  Life is suffering.
That implies that death is the only real end of suffering. But with death also comes the end of happiness. Life isn't only suffering, life is everything: Joy, bliss, love, compassion, laughter, experience, and beauty. Also in contrast it is hate, desperation, envy, tears and ugliness. But how can you define beauty in anything if you do not know what ugliness is?

2.  Suffering is caused by desire.
Suffering isn't caused by desire as such but rather by unfulfilled desire. I desire the man I love and I desire chocolate (in large quantities btw LOL) and that desire makes me happy when it is fulfilled. On the other hand I am not a nympho and not a total chocoholic, so I wouldn't say that I suffer strongly when my two loves are far away from my reach either LOL.

3.  To stop suffering, one must stop desiring.
To no longer desire to love and live is to want to be dead or vegetate rather than live.

4.  To stop desiring, one can take the middle path (eight fold path).
Sorry I do not know what the middle path is you are talking about. But should it be to strive for a sort of contentment rather than the ups and downs of sometimes being ecstatically happy and at other times deeply depressed, I would suggest the following. Remember the moment in your life you were the very happiest. That could be maybe when your child was born or when you fell in love for the first time or whatever. Try to re-feel that moment in all its glory and then imagine the time you were at your very lowest and most depressed. Not a nice memory? Would rather not experience something like it again? Now try imagining that you would never have to. You would never be sad or hurt or scared again. But the price for this would be that wonderful moment of total happiness. You would never have that again and furthermore you would not even be able to keep the memory of that since remembering it is a lot like being still able to feel such emotions. And if you are on the middle ground and gave up the highs and lows you wouldn't be able to or even desire to.
I would not give up my ability to feel bliss for never having to feel pain again. In fact I believe only because I felt such deep pain in my life am I able to feel happiness and bliss so very strongly.
That's all from me for now.

 "I swear -- by my life and by my love of it -- that I will never live for the sake of another man, nor ask another man to live for mine." Ayn Rand, Atlas Shrugged
"Any alleged "right" of one man, which necessitates the violation of the rights of another, is not and cannot be a right." Ayn Rand

Member Elite
since 09-18-99
Posts 2641
Whole Sort Of Genl Mish Mash

4 posted 05-21-2000 08:17 PM       View Profile for jbouder   Email jbouder   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for jbouder


For the benefit of those who do not know what "The Eight Fold Path" is:  (1) right understanding, (2) right purpose, (3) right speech, (4) right acts, (5) right way of earning a livelihood, (6) right efforts, (7) right thoughts, and (8) right concentration or the right state of a peaceful mind.

The only problem I have with any of the "Four Noble Truths" or "The Eight Fold Path" is that both are overly general and subject to any number of interpretations (as 7 pointed out above).  As they are stated I must say that I agree with most of them but I am curious about how often the "Eight Fold Path" leads to self-induced disallusionment rather than an apprehension of truth.  

The attitude toward suffering expressed in the "Four Noble Truths" isn't much different from that in the Judeo-Christian traditions.  Suffering is seen as an obsticle that can be overcome by the realization that "the truth can deliver you from evil ... that there is no savior in the world except the truth [taken from a Buddhist sermon]".  If only we could all agree on the details of what "the truth" actually is ... actually that would make for a very boring Philosophy Forum.    

Good thread, Brad.  Angel, shame on you for posting in a religious thread.  

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