The ultimate is explained in a portion of the Buddha's Teachings known as the Abhidharma, the Dharma spoken of in ultimate terms, the "Higher Doctrine" as distinguished from the sutras, the discourses taught in conventional terms.
- PROBLEM: all things disappoint (are unsatisfactory),
- CAUSE: the origin of disappointment,
- CESSATION: the extinction of disappointment,
- CURE: the Noble (ennobling) Eightfold Path leads to the extinction of disappointment.
The first truth, stated briefly, teaches that all states of existence are unsatisfactory and constantly subject to disappointment (dukkha).
The second truth teaches that all disappointment and all rebirth is produced by
craving [and clinging rooted in ignorance].
The third truth teaches that the removal of craving necessarily results in
the extinction (nirodha) of all further rebirth and suffering; that is to say, it results in
The fourth truth of the Noble Eightfold Path points out the means by
which this extinction is attained.
|What is the Noble Eightfold Path?|
"What, O meditators, is the [first] noble truth of suffering [disappointment]? Birth is suffering,
decay is suffering, death is suffering, sorrow, lamentation, pain, grief and
despair are suffering; in short, the Five Aggregates Clung to as Self are suffering.
''What, O meditators, is the noble truth of the origin of suffering? It is
craving that gives rise to fresh rebirth and, bound up with lust and
greed, now here, now there, seeks ever fresh delight. This craving is threefold: sensual-craving
(kāma-tanhā), the craving for eternal-existence (bhava-tanhā),
the craving for self-annihilation (vibhava-tanhā).
"What, O meditators, is the noble truth of the extinction of suffering? It is
the complete fading away and extinction of this [threefold] craving, its abandoning and
giving up, liberation and letting go of it.
- "What, O meditators, is the noble truth of the PATH leading to the extinction of all suffering? It is this Noble Eightfold Path that leads to the extinction of all suffering, namely:
|1. Right view
2. Right thought
|III. Wisdom (paññā)|
|3. Right speech
4. Right action
5. Right livelihood
I. Virtue (sīla)
|6. Right effort
7. Right mindfulness
8. Right concentration
II. Concentration (samādhi)
8. "What now, O meditators, is right concentration? If a disciple lets go of sensual objects, lets go of unwholesome things, and enters into the first absorption... the second absorption... the third absorption... the fourth absorption." (Absorption = jhāna).
the first truth (suffering) is to be fully understood;
the second truth (craving) is to be abandoned;
the third truth (nirvana) is to be realized;
the fourth truth (the path) is to be cultivated.
"The first and second truths are empty"Mere suffering exists; no sufferer is found.
The deed is, but no doer of the deed is there.Nirvana is but not the person who enters it.The Path is, but no traveler on it is seen.
Devoid of permanence, joy, self, and beauty;
The Deathless [nirvana] is free of ego.
The Path is free of permanence and self."
(Path of Purification, Vis.M. XVI)
- Dhammacakkappavattana Sutra (Wheel 17 and Bodhi Leaves)
- MN 141; Sacca Samyutta
- (S. LVI); Sacca Vibhanga
- The Word of the Buddha by Ven. Nyanatiloka (BPS.lk); Vis.M. XVI:
- The Four Noble Truths by Francis Story (Wheel #34/35)
- The Significance of the Four Noble Truths by V. F. Gunaratna (Wheel 123)