Sunday, May 25, 2014

Dr. Buddha, Master Physician (Prescription)

Amber Larson, Crystal Quintero (eds.), Wisdom Quarterly;; Molly Hahn
Cats are good friends when they sleep in under the Sun (Molly Hahn/
The Buddha and my cat (Dee McIntosh/flickr)
The Buddha sets out the Four Truths as a formula a doctor would use to deal with a patient, a suffering person.
1. The Buddha first establishes the basic affliction, which is determined to be the problem of liability to disappointment and unsatisfactoriness; living beings are in pain.

2. Thereafter, he makes a diagnosis. That is, he explains the cause for this disease. This is the second truth, namely, that craving is part of the problem [explained in full in the 12 causal links of Dependent Origination], and craving is the link we can do something about right here and right now.

Accept what is. Let go of judgment. Remain aware of it. And you will know and see (BD).
3. As a third step a good doctor gives a prognosis, the possibility of the cessation of the problem. That is to say, a doctor determines whether a cure is possible. Is there some means of bringing about the end of our affliction, our problem, the pain we are sore from, complaining about, and seeking a cure for? Fortunately for living beings, the Buddha says YES: Suffering can be ended in this very life! We can stop all our suffering.

4. Finally, in the fourth step, perhaps the most important from the standpoint of the ailing patient, the doctor prescribes the course of treatment. The Buddha prescribes a fourth truth: the Noble Eightfold Path, the way to the end of all suffering, the treatment, the actions to take for enlightenment that leads to the goal of nirvana, which the Buddha very specifically defined as the final solution, the antidote, the cure, "the end of all suffering."

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