Four Noble Truths

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The Four Noble Truths are taught in Buddhism as the fundamental insight or Enlightenment of Sakyamuni Buddha (the historical Buddha), which led to the formulation of the Buddhist religion.

1. All of life involves dukkha or suffering.
2. This suffering is caused by attachment (tanha).
3. There is a way out of suffering.
4. The way out of suffering is to follow the Noble Eightfold Path.

This outline form is exactly that used by doctors of the Buddha's culture when diagnosing and prescribing for a disease: Identify the disease, its cause, whether it is curable, and the prescribed cure. Thus the Buddha treats suffering as a "disease" we can confidently expect to cure.

Becuase of its focus on suffering Buddhism is often called pessimistic, but in reality it is no more pessimistic than is a doctor who says, "Oh yes, you do in fact have a disease" - especially in light of the fact that it claims this "disease" is curable.


  • At "Access to Insight"
"The Four Noble Truths : A Study Guide" Prepared by Thanissaro Bhikkhu.
Section 3.H.i "The Four Noble Truths" of ""Wings to Awakening"
Translated and Explained by Thanissaro Bhikkhu (Geoffrey DeGraff)