Tuesday, November 17, 2009

The Four Noble Truths (The Buddha’s first teaching).

'The Wheel of Dharma', or the wheel of Buddhist teachings; a symbol of what the Buddha initiated by teaching the Four Noble Truths.

Tonight we talked about the Four Noble Truths. This is said to be the first teaching the Buddha gave after he became awakened or realised under the bodhi tree.

The Four Noble Truths may seem a bit formulaic or abstract; and they have often been adopted in a sort of abstract philosophical or intellectual way. But maybe the original intention of the teaching was to point out something which is real and true about our lives. We can apply these truths to our own real lives and experiences and see if they hold up, if they are realistic and helpful.

These Truths are not discussed much in Japanese Zen Buddhism and are generally more associated with Theravada Buddhism. But they are a nice way to get a feeling for the original teachings of Buddhism and to relate to the Buddha's own life story. Also, we can consider how our own conduct/practice might relate to these four revelations.

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