Four Noble Truths

Last updated: December 21, 2023

What Does Four Noble Truths Mean?

The Four Noble Truths are the foundation of Buddhism and Buddha's first sermon. It is believed that Buddha understood them while meditating under the bodhi tree. They are duhkha, the truth of suffering; samudaya, the truth of the cause of suffering; nirodha, the truth of the ending of suffering; and magga, the truth of the path that liberates from suffering.

In Buddhism, Buddha is often presented as a physician and these four truths are compared to a healing process, in which the problem or sickness and its cause are diagnosed first, and then the cure and release are found in the end. They also symbolize the awakening of the Buddha himself, as well as the possibility of achieving enlightenment and freedom for all human beings.
four noble truths dukkha samudaya nirodha magga


Yogapedia Explains Four Noble Truths

It is believed that Buddha's principal teaching on the Four Noble Truths cover all other Buddhist teachings. In these four truths, Buddha simply states the reality: suffering exists, and there is a cause and a cure for it. He says that one's suffering is related to the negative feelings, cravings, and even satisfying these cravings, as it is always only temporary. The cravings are described as the cravings to be, not to be, or cravings for pleasure. The negative thoughts are also thought to be the root of the suffering. There are three root negative emotions described in Buddhist teachings: ignorance, attachment and aversion. One must develop a real understanding of these roots of one's suffering in order to eliminate them and become free.

The fourth noble truth, or the truth of the path to the cessation of suffering, describes the Buddhist Noble Eightfold Path, which is believed to be the path to liberation. It teaches that the correct behavior, positive, controlled mind, constant awareness and the practice of meditation are the path to the cessation of suffering.

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