The Four Noble Truths

Q: I was just wondering if you could explain a bit about the four noble truths. I am not sure how they work and also how are they relate to the eight fold path in regards to Zen?

A: The Four Noble Truths, Buddha called these, ARYA SATYA. The first is that unconscious life is sorrow. That living in the fantasies of the mind, of living in the dreams, of believing that these are real, this is the source of sorrow. Your life is full of fantasies of, what you want for tomorrow, how you want your life to be and many dreams. If you were going to die in two weeks, suddenly all your fantasies would change. But if you had only this day to live, again your fantasies would change. Your life has been dictated by a series of fantasies. This is the first Noble Truth, that unenlightened life is sorrow.

The Second Noble truth is that the cause of sorrow is desire. Those who have escaped from the wheel of desire do not live in sorrow, they live in deep contentment. Those who live in the wheel of desire are crushed by it.

The third Noble Truth is the Eightfold Way. This Buddha calls, SAMYAK living, for which there is no word for translation in the English language. It has been translated as ‘right'. But right implies that there is a wrong. Therefore this mistranslation leads to the misunderstanding that this is to do with morality. Morality is a behavior imposed from the outside. The eightfold way is nothing to do with morality. This is about the inside. SAMYAK means living in tune with the Whole. This can only happen from the inside. It cannot be an imposed, or resolute behavior to be ‘good'. It is nothing to do with being good. With meditation, awareness begins to happen. Being in the Buddhafield, with an Awaken One, in the vibration, in the tune of the Buddhafield, this brings you into tune with the Whole. This then changes your views, your intentions, your speech, your livelihood, your efforts and your mindfulness. And with these seven, there opens awareness. And then all activities begin to happen with awareness. Now there is walking with awareness. Now there is working with awareness. Now there is eating with awareness. And everything changes. It is impossible to eat meat with awareness. To eat meat you have to be unaware, lost in the dream. Awareness spreads through all your activities. And these seven of the Eightfold Way lead to the eighth, which is Samadhi, which is being totally in tune with the Whole. This is the Third Noble Truth.

And the Fourth Noble Truth is, the end of sorrow, the cessation of sorrow, nirvana. One who has followed the way of the Four Noble Truths, and reaches the Fourth, is free. ~Umi