Strong-Noble Truths - 1.6 REALIZING THE FOUR NOBLE...

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1.6 REALIZING THE FOUR NOBLE TRUTHS 34 "Monks," he said, "for one who has wandered forth, there are two ex- 33 In the third watch of the night of his enlightenment, the Buddha is said to have realized, among other things, the Four Noble Truths. If the experience of the first watch of the night can be termed "karmalogical" (having to do with the karmic deeds of the Buddha in his past life) and the second watch experi- ence is thought of as "cosmological" (having to do with the various realms of rebirh in the cosmos), this third watch can be labeled "dharmalogical" (hav- ing to do with the realization of the Buddha's Dharma, or "Doctrine"). In any case, the Four Noble Truths, which do form a sort of doctrinal core of Buddhism, are said to have been the subject of the Buddha's first sermon, at the Deer Park in Sarnath near Benares, an event known as the Setting in Motion of the Wheel of the Dharma. This sermon was delivered to the five men, Ajnata KauDQinya and his companions, who were to become the Buddha's first monastic disciples. The sermon, therefore, marks not only the first preaching of the Dharma but also the establishment of the monastic community. The Four Noble Truths can be stated as follows: 1. that life in all the realms of rebirh is, by definition, ultimately unsatis- factor, suffering (du¼kha) 2. that there is a reason for this suffering, an origination (samudaya) of it, which is connected to our ongoing desire, a thirst that we cannot as- suage, a clinging to possessions, to persons, to life itself 3. that there is, however, such a thing as freedom from or the cessation (nirodha) of this unsatisfactor state, this suffering, which will come with the rooting out (rather than the mere assuagement) of that on- going thirst 4. that the way to do this is to practice the so-called Noble Eightfold Path This Path (marga) is the same as the realization of the Middle Way, between the extremes of indulgence and asceticism, and it is for this reason that the Buddha (as in the selection below) often preached the Middle Way along with the Four Noble Truths.
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