There is an inescapable sense of precariousness.
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This suffering is the presenting problem. The illness that the Buddha seeks to cure is the propensity for suffering. The Second Noble Truth is that there is a way of life that perpetuates suffering. There are certain habits of the mind and heart that prolong the very suffering from which we seek to be freed.
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This way of life has its basis in wanting life to be other than the way it is. This is the diagnosis. The Third Noble Truth is that it is possible to be healed from these symptoms by learning to live as one with the way life is. So, this is the hope for the cure: that it is possible to rest in abiding inner peace and fulfillment. The Fourth Noble Truth is the Noble Eightfold Path which is the way of life in which one is liberated from the tyranny of suffering so that one might come to this nirvanic inner peace, the peace that passes understanding in the midst of life as it is.
What good would it do if the Buddha just pointed out the problem and did not give us a way to be delivered from the problem? That way is the Noble Eightfold Path. It is a way out of suffering, a way of healing. As I often say, if we do not transform our pain we will most certainly transmit it.
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The Four Noble Truths
This means that dukkha also signifies impermanent, without substance, conditioned, therefore limited, dukkha means all of that. It also means impermanent, unsatisfying, and understanding this means realizing the Buddha mind, the Awakened mind. For example, at the beginning of the Gakudo-yo-jinshu , Dogen says : " the Buddha mind, the awakened mind, appears in the contemplation of impermanence. The origin of dukkha resides, as it is stated in the Benares sutra, in greed, in the desire for sensory objects, and also in the desire for existence, and the desire of inexistence.
This last idea can be considered as a desire for annihilation, not living any more, like someone who thinks that by committing suicide, he will no longer suffer. In the desire for inexistence, there is the desire for unbearable circumstances to no longer exist or to live where these unbearable circumstances no longer exist.
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It is a self sustaining phenomena, since dukkha exists within itself. One enters there, if one wants to try to see the origin of suffering in the description that Buddha gave of the Twelve linked chain of causation through which one can see that the origin is ungraspable.
Nevertheless, Buddha announces possible cessation. As for this cessation, Buddha proclaimed that he had experienced and realized it. He described it as ceasing of thirst, meaning abandoning it, renouncing to it, becoming liberated from it. This liberation is called nirvana, extinction. Could we have this experience?
Four Noble Truths
I think so. In the Zen practice, this is the experience of the hishiryo state of consciousness, the hishiryo consciousness in zazen which Master Sosan described as : neither craving nor hating, neither choosing nor rejecting. It is what Buddha called cessation, nirvana. But nirvana is not only a peaceful psychological state. It also means realization of ultimate truth which cannot be grasped through concepts, and therefore cannot be described. This is where the great theme is in the teachings of Zen, the only important thing is awakening.
But awakening cannot be described; that to which one awakens cannot be explained. This serene mind of nirvana is the intimate experience which we can have when we truly practice hishiryo conscience in zazen. It is the essence and cannot be explained. Because although there is a practice which leads us to it, the realization is not caused, or conditioned by it. The practice does not become the cause for realization. This is a very delicate point. It is difficult to explain. All words, notions and concepts function in duality. Wanting to explain something which is not something, an experience which cannot be boxed into concepts by using words, is impossible.
Because we believe that what cannot be grasped, can be.
It must be realized. As for the Eightfold Path, it is insufficient just to explain it or to understand it; it has to be practiced. Calendar Dojos and links Contacts.