Simple Beginners’ Buddhism.
Part One: The first Noble Truth – recognising Suffering
I shall keep this very simple. Actually, the simpler it gets, the more profound it gets. Quite often (most of the time) people want more secret and profound complex teachings – the ones that no one else can get – a silly misunderstanding! Buddhism starts with the four noble truths, and until enlightenment, the four noble truths are still what it is all about. There are just refinements on the word ‘suffering’.
Buddhism starts with the four noble truths:
2.The causes of that suffering.
3.Finding a method that leads away from that suffering.
4.Practising that method that leads away from the causes of suffering.
Of course if we do not feel dissatisfied, then there is no reason to change!
Every single sentient being wants to be happy. No one wants to be unhappy, and we want that happiness to last forever. But, as you can see, sometimes we feel fed up, irritable, or dissatisfied, with a feeling that there has got to be more to life than this. In Buddhism, these feelings come under the heading of suffering.
From an ordinary perspective, suffering is maybe too heavy a word. We may think, “It’s not bad enough to say that I’m suffering!” Well, take it that you are a sentient being having consciousness, but not recognising that consciousness, and so you are suffering. You don’t notice this purely because you have grown so used to it: your mind has convinced itself that the way things are is the only way things are…which is not true.
There is something innate within you that knows, but it cannot recognise itself at the moment, and so we suffer. This ‘something’ is pure awareness, Buddha nature. The problem comes when all those around you are having a great time…so they think! They are still living the dream, whereas this is about you, and how you feel.
This innate feeling is your inner teacher that knows you are already happy, have always been happy, and can never not be happy. You just do not notice it, as your attention gets distracted.
Perhaps the suffering you experience is simply because you want to know more. That’s in part two: the cause of suffering.