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May 30th
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Home Teachings The Four Noble Truths The Four Noble Truths - The Second Noble Truth

The Four Noble Truths - The Second Noble Truth

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The Four Noble Truths
The First Noble Truth
The Second Noble Truth
The Third Noble Truth
The Fourth Noble Truth
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Having realized that the existence of mind-body aggregate is merely the embodiment of untold miseries whirling in the process of Samsara, the Lord Buddha probed into and discovered its root cause,

Samudaya , The present life what we experience here is due to the cause we did in previous lives. Buddhism therefore takes for granted a system of moral law which indicates a continuation of the life-process. It is a continuation by way of cause and effect, the cause being ( Kamma) or volitional actions, and the effect (vipaka) or the pleasant, unpleasant and neutral experiences that follow from them.

The succession of lives which the term "rebirth" signifies, is not the reincarnation of a soul-entity. It is an individual current of relation ship in a cause-effect continuum, expressed as "that having been, this comes to be." Obviously we know that we are in existence today as we have been existed yesterday and also that we will be in existence tomorrow. Death is not the total end of life-energy which changes into another psycho-physical form owing to one's craving or clinging. The Kammic force or energy for what we did wholesome or unwholesome in past births has evolved as we are here in the present life. The phenomenal personality in which no single element of the five Aggregates survive, but all is incessantly renewed according to the universal rule that where a cause he existed a result must follow from it. Samudaya literally means that "Samma undeti phalam etenati samudayo" it consequently causes the result of suffering.

Therefore Samudaya is meant in four categories (1) in the sense of causing suffering (Nidanattho); (3) conjoining with the process of Samsara (Samyogattho); and (4) Impediment of the Path and Fruition (Palibodhattho).

The Buddha through His Supreme Enlightenment, discovered the origin of suffering not only in the current life but also in former states of being. It is nothing but the craving or attachment or thirst (Tanha) for sentient existence, which is the Second Noble Truth.

"What now is the Noble Truth of the Cause of Suffering? Truly, it is that Craving which gives rise to fresh rebirth, and conjoined with pleasure and lust, finds gratification now here, now there, it is of three kinds: Sensual Craving (Kamatanha); Craving for Existence ( Bhavatanha ) and Craving for Self-annihilation (Vibhavatanha,)."

Craving is threefold, namely, craving for sensual pleasures (Kamatanha); craving for sensual pleasure associated with the view of eternalism (Bhavatanha), i.e. enjoying pleasures viewing that they are imperishable, and craving for sensual pleasures viewing that everything perishes after death. The last is the materialistic standpoint. In other words, craving for existence in the Sensual Spheres (Kamaloka), in Fine- material Spheres (rulpaloka) and in the Formless Spheres (arupaloka) or mental plane. Usually the two terms, (bhavatanha and (vibhavatanha) are rendered by craving for existence and nonexistence

There are six kinds of craving corresponding to the six sense organs such as, eyes, nose, tongue, body and mind, and six sense objects such as, form, smell, sound, taste, touch, and mental objects They become twelve when they are treated as internal and external. They are reckoned as 36 when viewed as past, present and future. When multiplied by the foregoing three kinds of craving, they amount to 108 altogether.

It is natural for a worldling to develop a craving for the pleasures of senses. To overcome sense-desires is extremely difficult. This craving is a powerful mental force latent in all, and is the chief cause of most of the ills of life. It is this craving, gross or subtle, that leads to repeated births in Samsara and makes one cling to all forms of life altogether.

The Buddha said in the Dhammapada

"From craving springs grief, from craving springs fear,

For him who is wholly free from craving, there is no grief, much less fear "(V216)

The Buddha also said in the Anguttara and Digha Nikaya that the worldlings who are conjoined with attachment of craving have to go through the following process of dependent origination

"Dependent on craving, there arises search for what is wanted;

Dependent on search, there arises gain;

Dependent on gain, there arises decision;

Dependent on decision, there arises desirous passion;

Dependent on desirous passion, there arises grasping or firm hold as one's property;

Dependent on grasping, there arises keeping it up in safety;

Dependent on keeping it up in safety, there arises miserliness;

Dependent on miserliness, there arises watch and ward (over one's own);

Dependent on watch and ward, there arises many wicked and evil consequences, such as carrying sticks, weapons, quarreling, contradiction, resort, abuse, contradiction, resort, abuse, slandering, lies, etc.," (A-3, 201)(Di-2,50)

According to the sequence of the above process, one has invariably to encounter manifold sorrows and suffering as long as one is unable to dispel this very craving.

Ordinarily the enjoyment of sensual pleasures is the highest or even the only happiness to an average person. There is no doubt a momentary happiness in the anticipation, gratification, and recollection of such fleeting material pleasures, but they are illusory and temporary. According to the Buddha, non-attachment or non-passion (virage) or transcending material pleasure is a greater bliss of happiness

Here the Buddha, the Enlightened One said: "not getting what one desires is indeed suffering "( Dhammacakka sutta). Yet man does not understand what his suffering really is and from where it emerges. He is all the time craving for something more and more, never stopping his discontentment in enjoying sensual pleasures. Man's mind is thus never contented, at ease, and in peace, but flitting and fleeing from one object to another with more expectations for better ways of life. He always falls victim to the domain of sense desires. Thus his mind is most of the time full of attachments, clingings, anxieties, worries, sorrows, etc., since he is nearly always hankering after sensual pleasures.

The commentator of the Path of Purification (Visuddhimagga) mentioned in Pail.

"Ditthabandanabaddhante, tanhasotena vuyhare,

Tanhasotena vuyhanta, na te dukkha pamuccare. "

"The stream of craving bears them on,

Caught in the meshes of their views;

And as the stream thus bears them on,

They are not free from suffering.

The grossest forms of craving or sensuous desires are attenuated on attaining the first stage of the Stream-winner (Sotapanna) and more weakened at the second stage of Once-returner (Sakadagami and are completely eradicated on attaining the third stage of Non-returner (Anagami). All the latent craving is utterly eliminated on attaining the fourth and final stage of Arahathood. (Sam-3,3 55). This is the one who has been completely released from the endless cycle of birth and death ( Samsara ) and has reached the Lasting Blissful Happiness of Nibbana for ever.


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The Dhammapada

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