The Foundation of Buddhist Thought, Volume 1: The Four Noble Truths
Geshe Tashi Tsering
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The four noble truths are well known as the Buddha's first and most essential explanation of his enlightened realizations. The truths diagnose the human existential crisis--suffering and its origin--and prescribe a solution--cessation and the path. To understand the four noble truths is to understand Buddhism as a whole.
In The Four Noble Truths, Geshe Tashi draws on his decades of training in Tibetan Buddhism to illuminate these truths for a modern audience. His respectful engagement with Buddhists outside his own tradition and his insights into Western culture make this book refreshing. It will reward even those already acquainted with the fundamentals of Buddhism.
The Four Noble Truths is the first of six stand-alone volumes in the Foundation of Buddhist Thought series.
to do something more, rather than just making us feel depressed. And because the Buddha taught the second set of cause and effect, we need not feel hopeless, because a method to cure the problem exists. Clinging to a problem does not make it disappear, but rather just makes it worse, aggravating the problem and leading to frustration and anger in relation to the problem and even in relation to ourselves. Having a tooth pulled might be painful, but it is nothing compared to the agony of sitting
some kind of satisfaction will also eventually bring dissatisfaction. And the same object that binds us in samsara also has the power to liberate us. When we seek satisfaction, that very mind contains within it the seeds of future dissatisfaction, because a degree of ignorance there clings to an unrealistic and unrealizable expectation. When we are attracted to something or someone, our mind exaggerates the qualities of that object, and so sets the scenario for future frustration and aversion to
misunderstanding of karma. By labeling the difficulty itself as karma, we mistakenly equate karma with the result. One thing I want to make very clear is that karma, which is Sanskrit for action, is the cause and not the result. When we create an action of body, speech, or mind, the conscious or subconscious volition that causes that action also creates a potential that is deposited in the mental continuum, the stream of consciousness. When the appropriate conditions arise, this potential
do things without intention. However, this would be misunderstanding what is meant by intention in this context. Intention does not just mean the motivations we are fully aware of. Intention can also refer to more unconscious drives, where we don’t have to make any special effort to create them. Our motivations can arise spontaneously from unconscious concerns. For example, if something is falling from a roof, our spontaneous reaction is to put up our hand to protect ourselves. This is a very
suffering works to produce the truth of suffering through the teaching called the twelve links of dependent origination. This teaching explains the mechanism that produces the two sets of cause and effect (suffering and origin, cessation and path). The twelve links are links in a chain, a closed circle, which represents cyclic existence. This is symbolized in the traditional illustration of the wheel of life. Here you see the six realms of existence determined by the three poisons at the hub