The Four Noble Truths

The practice of Buddhism is based on the teachings of a man named Sidartha Guatama, later known as Buddha. After spending many years following different spiritual practices with the goal of finding out why people suffer and if something could be done about it, he started teaching. The core of his insights are called the four noble truths. Here is my translation of what these are:

1. There is an inherently unsatisfying quality to being alive.

2. The cause of the unsatisfying quality is a built-in insatiability of the bodymind.

3. The insatiability cannot be removed, but it can be transcended, and deep happiness and contentment can attained if it is transcended.

4. The method of achieving this transcendence is the eightfold path: The cultivation of eight factors.

The eight factors are:

1. Wise understanding
2. Wise thinking
3. Wise speech
4. Wise action
5. Wise livelihood
6. Wise effort
7. Wise mindfulness
8. Wise meditation

And Buddha laid out clear explanations of what he meant by each of these eight factors and how they could be cultivated.

Buddha's teachings weren't originally a "religion" in the sense we normally use that word. His work was more like a program for self-improvement. Buddhism is learning and practicing some principles that make you happier and help you transcend the unsatisfying quality that is an unavoidable part of being alive.

Adam Khan is the author of Principles For Personal Growth, Slotralogy, Antivirus For Your Mind, and co-author with Klassy Evans of How to Change the Way You Look at Things (in Plain English). Follow his podcast, The Adam Bomb.

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