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cranreuch
08 Mar 11, 20:33
I'm very new to Buddhism, so this may be a FAQ.

Can someone explain the significance of the first of the four noble truths -- i.e. that suffering exists? My confusion arises simply from the fact that, well, isn't that obvious? Maybe it was simply that -- stating the obvious -- but I'm wondering if there was perhaps some deeper thing going on.

For example, was it maybe the case that the forms of spirituality common around the time of the Buddha (some forms of Hinduism perhaps) held that suffering was simply an illusion? In which case, the first of the FNT's is really:

1. No, people, you're not imagining it. That suffering thing is real.

thanks for any advice
c

Aloka
08 Mar 11, 21:23
Hi Cranreuch and welcome.

Dukkha is probably better explained as being unsatisfactoriness or dissatisfaction. We can often get caught up in our own little emotional dramas of one kind or another and of 'me' and 'mine' in our lives and we are constantly reacting and acting in relation to others and to the world around us in general. This is because of our attachment, desires ,anger, delusion etc. So its mostly mental suffering and we don't know how to recognise and overcome it.

I'm afraid I don't know enough about the other spiritual beliefs in India at the time of the Buddha to be able to comment on their approach towards this issue.

Kind wishes,

A-D

Esho
08 Mar 11, 23:04
Why the first of the Four Noble Truths?

Maybe because it is the first outstanding awakening we can experience. We have a huge bunch of means so not to see the messy way we live our life.

Just as Dazz has wrote:


We can often get caught up in our own little emotional dramas of one kind or another and of 'me' and 'mine' in our lives and we are constantly reacting and acting in relation to others and to the world around us in general.

daverupa
08 Mar 11, 23:22
It may be obvious, but that's appropriate for the first step in a chain of logical analysis. Beginning with what is obvious, one proceeds to make ones point, often not-so-obvious, as is the case with the Dhamma.

Esho
08 Mar 11, 23:23
Oh Sorry Cranreuch... I, first, should have said Welcome to the Forum! :P

cranreuch
08 Mar 11, 23:40
Oh Sorry Cranreuch... I should have said Welcome to the Forum! :P

Thanks. And hi :-)

fojiao2
09 Mar 11, 01:34
I think that the meaning goes beyond merely the idea that suffering happens now and then. Suffering, of Dukkha is the essential condition of not experiencing or realizing mind's true nature, which is enlightenment. As a result, we try every means to make ourselves happy, but because they do not reveal mind's true nature, these means do not last, and they perpetuate more dissatisfaction, the cycle. The fact that people were unhappy was not some big news flash in Buddha's time. What he pointed out was the nature of suffering, and the next three truths.

nowheat
09 Mar 11, 02:56
Part of the oddness that comes from interpreting the first noble truth as being a statement that there is "dukkha" (suffering) is because it is not a statement intended to be taken on faith, not something to have an opinion about; instead, it is a call to understand dukkha, to look at it very very closely, to come to understand exactly the forms dukkha takes in our lives, just what this dukkha-thing is that the Buddha was talking about. Because it is not, for example, the experience of pain, but our reaction to pain and the way we attach to that reaction. So you could see the first truth as not so much "Dukkha exists" as the suggestion that we "Understand dukkha."

Cloud
09 Mar 11, 03:47
Well said nowheat.

frank
09 Mar 11, 11:43
Just a small side bar here,the 4NT are Noble because realisation of them leads to Enlightenment,(Nibbana)

Aloka
09 Mar 11, 16:15
Just a small side bar here,the 4NT are Noble because realisation of them leads to Enlightenment,(Nibbana)



We have an explanation of The Four Noble Truths by Tamara Engel in the Buddhism for Beginners forum here:

http://www.buddhismwithoutboundaries.com/showthread.php?215-On-the-Four-Noble-Truths-Tamara-Engle

frank
14 Mar 11, 11:26
I wasn't offering an explaination of the 4NT l was pointing out why they are considered Noble.

Aloka
14 Mar 11, 12:07
.


I wasn't offering an explaination of the 4NT l was pointing out why they are considered Noble.

Sure, I understood that, ....... following on from your post I was just pointing out a short explanation of them for the benefit of newcomers, Frank.

:flower:

clw_uk
15 Mar 11, 13:33
The First Noble Truth not only points out that there is Dukkha but also defines it


"Now this, monks, is the noble truth of stress:[1] Birth is stressful, aging is stressful, death is stressful; sorrow, lamentation, pain, distress, & despair are stressful; association with the unbeloved is stressful, separation from the loved is stressful, not getting what is wanted is stressful. In short, the five aggregates subject to clinging are stressful.


The important bit being


In short, the five aggregates subject to clinging are stressful.