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The Eightfold Path & Four Noble Truths

Much of the Buddhist way can be summarized in the Eight fold path and the Four noble truths. These are the teachings passed down from the first Buddha. The simple fact that the Buddha was simply a man – an extraordinary man yes – but still simply a man. He found the way to escape suffering and to become enlightened. He decided to share and teach this methodology to any who would try to understand it.

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The Four Noble Truths

These are the basis of the Buddhist path of escaping duhkha. The basic translation of duhkha is “suffering” but it has a much wider connentation. It refers almost to any negative feeling you may have – encompassing all forms of pain, despair, aches, malaise, etc.

  • Duhkha exists
  • Duhkha has identifiable causes
  • The causes may be terminated
  • The means by which that cause may be terminated

The opposite of duhkha is sukha is not described as much since it represents the happier sides of life that are not really a problem. Although even the happiest moments entail a bit of duhkha, as you know they cannot last forever.

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The Eight Fold Path

The Eightfold path seems simple enough, but each element contains much more than it appears. But for example, right speech not only includes lying and swearing, but also frivolous chatter and not using speech in harmful or unproductive ways. It also includes being truthful, not distorting facts or misrepresentation.

Another example, is right action, which is probably best explained in the five precepts:

  • Refrain from taking life
  • Refrain from taking what is not giving
  • Refrain from misuse of the senses
  • Refrain from telling lies
  • Refrain from self-intoxication with drink, drugs or other means.
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