A fundamental doctrine of Buddhism which clarifies the cause of suffering and the way to emancipation. Sakyamuni Buddha is said to have expounded the Four No-ble Truths in the Deer Park in Sarnath during his first sermon after attaining Bud-dhahood. The Buddha organized these ideas into the Fourfold Truth as follows: “Life consists entirely of suffering; suffering has causes; the causes of suffering can be extinguished; and there exists a way to extinguish the cause.” Four Noble Truths are four of the most fundamental Buddhist theories. According to Most Venerable Piyadassi in “The Buddha’s Ancient Path,” in Buddhism, awakening from ignorance to full knowledge always implies the comprehension of the Four Noble Truths. The Enlightened One is called the Buddha simply because he un-derstood the Truths in their fullness. The whole of his first sermon is devoted to the formulation of these Truths; for they are the essence of the Buddha’s teach-ing. “As the footprint of eve-ry creature that walks the earth can be contained in an elephant ‘s footprint, which is pre-eminent for size, so does the doctrine of the Four Noble Truths embrace all skilful Dhamma, or the entire teaching of the Bud-dha. In the original Pali texts, specifically in the discourses, these Four Noble Truths are made clear in detail and in diverse ways. Without a clear idea of the Truths, one can not know what the Buddha taught for forty-five years. To the Buddha the entire teaching is just the understanding of Dukkha, the unsatisfactory nature of all phenomenal existence, and the understanding of the way out of this unsatisfactoriness. The entire teach-ing of the Buddha is nothing other than the application of this one principle. Thus, we clearly see that the Buddha discovered the Four Noble Truths, and the rest are logical developments and more detailed explanations of the Four Noble Truths. This is the typical teaching of the Buddhas of all ages. The supremacy of the Four Noble Truths in the teaching of the Buddha is extremely clear from the message of the Simsapa Grove as from the message of the Deer Park. At the time of the Bud-dha, He always stressed that failing to comprehend and practice the Four Noble Truths have caused us to run on so long in the cycle of birth and death. Zen practi-tioners should always remember that the Four Noble Truths are seen at any time when mindfulness and wisdom are pre-sent.
The Truth of Suffering: There is no equivalent translation in English for the word “Dukkha” in both Pali and Sanskrit. So the word “Dukkha” is often translated as “Suffering”. However, this English word is sometimes misleading because it con-notes extreme pain. When the Buddha described our lives as “Dukkha”, he was re-ferring to any and all unsatisfactory conditions. These range from minor disap-pointments, problems and difficulties to intense pain and misery. Therefore, Duk-kha should be used to describe the fact that things are not completely right in our lives and could be better. In one word, all existence entails suffering. All existence is characterized by suffering and does not bring satisfaction.Through meditation, Zen practitioners may see directly that all physical and mental phenomena share the characteristic of suffering. Truth of the causes of suffering: According to Bud-dhist tenets, craving or desire is the cause of suffering. It creates dissension in the family and society that degenerates into war between races, nations, and groups of nations in the world. The truth of the origin of suffering or causes of suffering, or its location. All sufferings are caused by ignorance, which gives rise to craving and illusions (craving or grasping the wrong things), i.e. craving for life, for pleas-ure, for power, for wealth; the more he earns, the more he wants. The Truth of an End to Suffering: There is an end to suffering, and this state of no suffering is called Nirvana. Through meditation, mindfulness and wisdom are present, Zen practi-tioners see clearly suffering will be ceased when ignorance and other afflic-tions fall away and cease. The Truth of the Path Leading to the End of Suffering: Regarding the practicing of the Eight-fold Noble Truths, the Buddha taught: “Who-ever ac-cepts the four dogmas, and practises the Eighfold Noble Path will put an end to births and deaths.