Sources of Indian Civilization
Buddhism 2

The Teachings of the Buddha: The Way Out of Suffering


I. Get out of the Burning House

A. "I teaching only suffering and the way out of suffering." A negative view?
B. Caught in a house on fire, shot with a poisoned arrow: analogies to life.
C. Buddha's teaching as practical more than philosophical or metaphysical.
D. Come and See, ehi-passika. Don't "believe," but see for yourself.
E. The three marks of existence:
anitya/anicca (impermanence)
anatma/anatta (no-soul),
duhkha/dukkha (suffering).

II. Anitya, Impermanence

A. Samsara, course or flow, as word for "the world." Sense of its motion.
B. Impermanence in the light of vast cycles of time --yugas, kalpas.
C. Perpetual change as readily observable in the mind.

III. Anatma, No-soul

A. No substrate, no eternal entity corresponding to "I."
B. The analogy of the chariot: Which of its particular parts is "chariot?"
C. The five aggregates, skandas: form, feelings, perceptions, impulses and emotions, consciousness.
No separate "I" to be found.
D. Problem not so much ontological, i.e. whether there is an "I," but the vigor with which human beings tend to identify with "I."

IV. Duhkha, Suffering

A. Translated as sorrow, pain, unsatisfactoriness, out-of-joint.
B. The Four Noble Truths

The Noble Truth of suffering is this: Birth is suffering; aging is suffering; sickness is suffering; death is suffering; sorrow and lamentation, pain, grief, and despair are suffering; association with the unpleasant is suffering; dissociation from the pleasant is suffering; not to get what one wants is suffering --in brief, the five aggregates of attachment are suffering.

The Noble Truth of the origin of suffering is this: It is this thirst (craving) which produces re-existence and re-becoming, bound up with passionate greed. It finds fresh delight now here and now there, namely, thirst for sense-pleasures; thirst for existence and becoming; and thirst for non-existence (self-annihilation).

The Noble Truth of the Cessation of suffering is this: It is the complete cessation of that very thirst, giving it up, renouncing it, emancipating oneself from it, detaching oneself from it.

The Noble Truth of the Path leading to the Cessation of suffering is this: It is simply the Noble Eightfold Path, namely right view, right thought, right speech, right action, right livelihood, right effort, right mindfulness, right concentration.