At the time when the Buddha taught the Four Noble Truths, life for most people was much harder and more of a struggle than it is today. Thus suffering was a greater part of humanity's daily experience than it is for most of us in the modern world.
1) Life is full of suffering.
2) The underlying cause of most of our suffering is selfish desires and attachments.
3) In order to remove our suffering, we need to let go of our selfish desires and attachments.
4) The way to do this it to understand and follow the Noble Eightfold Path.
But, for most of us in the modern world, life tends to be a bit more comfortable and pleasant than it was 2,500 years ago. So in order to bring the Buddha's teachings on the Four Noble Truths more up to date and relevant to us in the modern world it may help to rephrase some things. Instead of emphasizing suffering or it's absence, let's talk about happiness and finding a higher, deeper, sweeter, more satisfying, longer lasting form of happiness than most people experience today.
1) Even though most people are moderately happy, there's still a certain "emptiness" within their hearts and a lack of the deeper more satisfying forms of inner peace, happiness and contentment.
2) This lesser form of happiness (which tends to alternate with periods of loneliness, sadness or some other form of suffering), and has an accompanying feeling of emptiness, lack of contentment and missing inner peace, is caused by focusing on selfish desires and attachments.
3) But we can gradually find this higher, deeper, sweeter, more satisfying, long lasting kind of inner peace, contentment and happiness by letting go of selfish desires and attachments and replacing them with a new approach to life.
4) And that new approach to life is described in the Noble Eightfold Path.
It includes being an outpouring of loving kindness, compassion and helpfulness to our fellow creatures, as well as nurturing our own inner Buddha Light as we become more mindful of the Infinite Buddha Nature within and pouring loving devotion to it in meditation. As we practice this new approach more and more successfully, then we will be able to reincarnate in the higher, more blissful realms of the Buddha Fields, and eventually become a Celestial Bodhisattva and eventually a Celestial Buddha. To find out more about this new approach to life - study and practice the Noble Eightfold Path.
Chin Swee Caves Chinese Buddhist-Taoist Temple, Malaysia.
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