Lion's Roar

THE FOUR NOBLE TRUTHS

In these uncharted days of Covid-19, it seems appropriate to consider the metaphor of the Buddha as physician.

As a physician of the human condition, the Buddha provided us with a diagnosis of our suffering (the first noble truth) and an etiology, or cause, of our suffering (the second noble truth). Then he gave us a prognosis for our disease (nirvana, the third noble truth) and finally a prescription for the necessary treatment (the fourth noble truth, the path).

The four noble truths are a plan of action, not simply a collection of ideas to be pondered. In the Buddha’s “First Discourse,” there is a specific action enjoined upon us to go with each of the truths.

Regarding the first noble truth of suffering,: “This suffering, as a noble truth, should be fully understood,” said the Buddha. And, likewise, with the other three:

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