Buddhism is built upon four noble truths. Simplified, these are as follows: suffering, the cause of suffering, the cessation of suffering, and the path that leads to the cessation of suffering.
Suffering, or duhkha in the Sanskrit, is a “sense of dissatisfaction about things not being the way you want them to be.” The truth of suffering’s cause, or trishnai in Sanskrit, is that all suffering, “without exception, comes from desirous attachment or craving.” Desirous attachment exaggerates everything. Suffering’s cessation, or avidya in Sanskrit, is eliminating craving leads to an end of all suffering. The final truth is more involved being that it involves the ‘right path to walk.’
The truth of the path is eightfold and symbolized by the wheel of Dharma, which has eight spokes. Simplified, here are those eight spokes:
- right view – understand the four noble truths
- right intention – or right thought – give up selfish attitudes
- right speech – speak truth and avoid hurtful words as well as idle chatter (I especially like the idle chatter part. It makes me think of gossiping.)
- right action – don’t hurt others with your actions (no murder, etc.)
- right livelihood – be honest and kind with others, avoid deception (don’t be a con artist or drug dealer)
- right effort – don’t let a negative mindset overcome you
- right mindfulness – has to do with your spirituality – pay close attention to what is happening now
- right concentration – keep your mind sharp and free of distraction and dullness
This is from Chapter 3 of Buddhism for Dummies.
My only point of comparison is the Christian ten commandments and the Wiccan Rede. I still think the Wiccan Rede makes more sense than the ten commandments but I think I like this list of eight things better because it also focuses on taking care of yourself. You cannot take care of others if you are not taking care of yourself.
Little more, this time directly quoted from Chapter 6 of Buddhism for Dummies.
The message of Buddhism is clear:
- Proceed at your own pace.
- Take what works for you and leave the rest.
- Most important, question what you hear, experience it’s truth for yourself, and make it your own.
Or, to put it into a picture….