The Four Noble Truths in a Nutshell

“Very good, Anuradha. Very good. Both formerly and now, it is only stress that I describe, and the cessation of stress.”
- Anuradha Sutta: To Anuradha

The Buddha only teaches us suffering and the cessation of suffering. This is why Buddhism, for me, is a simple religion and I like it. It doesn’t need any complicated philosophy.

This is my simple religion. There is no need for temples; no need for complicated philosophy. Our own brain, our own heart is our temple; the philosophy is kindness.
- The Dalai Lama

When someone asked you what is the essence of Buddha’s teaching, the answer is Four Noble Truths. It covers all what are stated in the Sutta.

It is all about suffering. You might think that Buddhism is kind of pessimism. You might think that the Buddha was pessimist about life.

However, this is the reality of life. Life is full of suffering and of course people don’t like and always want to be far away from it.

The Existence of Suffering

Born, getting sick, getting old, and die are suffering. Those are the unavoided reality of life. In this life, all beings will get sick, old, and finally will die.

What else? Break up with your girlfriend, being scolded by your teacher, lost your expensive smartphone, getting robbed are suffering. Even the disturbance when firstly sitting down with your back straighten and pay attention to your breath is also suffering.

So, no matter how much your money, your wealth, cars, expensive clothes, laptops, smartphones, suffering is always there in front of all beings.

The Origin of Suffering

How was the moment when you asked your father to buy you a Xbox One X and after 10 days your father said that he couldn’t afford that thing because it is too expensive?

Fire were burning inside your body. You might claw your bed’s sheet until torned. You probably couldn’t sleep or you would not have a good night. This is called suffering.

What makes you suffer is from inside of yourself. That thing is called desire. Yes, the more desire you have, the more suffering you will get. If you don’t believe, you can try it.

Okay, just said that you have got the Xbox One X you asked for. It is one of many expensive things in your bedroom. You really love it but your little brother break it down a day. How do you feel? You will suffer if you attach to that thing.

So, it can be said that attachment is also the cause of suffering, both attachment to things and attachment to desire. However, the root of suffering is desire.

There are 3 types of desire in Buddhism. They are desire of sensual pleasures, desire of becoming, and desire of disbecoming.

If you want to decrease any probable coming suffering, decrease your desire. Just be grateful of what you have and only afford the really-need things for your daily life.

The Cessation of Suffering

In this life, in this physical world, we can’t liberate from suffering but we can decrease it.

The only way to decrease suffering is to face it, understand it, find the cause of it, and finally eliminate the cause of it. This is what we can done in this life, here and now.

However, The Buddha said that we could liberate from suffering as well as eliminate the cause of suffering completely.

The Path to the Cessation of Suffering

You might be searching for the way to liberate from suffering. The Buddha gave us the path. It is called The Noble Eightfold Path. Those are:

Right View, Right Thought, Right Action, Right Speech, Right Livelihood, Right Effort, Right Mindfulness, and Right Concentration

By practicing those paths, one will attain nirvana. Nirvana is a condition which greed, hatred, and ignorance are extinguished from one’s life and there is no rebirth again in any planes of existence.

The path must be practiced if in order to prove the third noble truth as Buddha said that the liberation of suffering is achievable.


The Four Noble Truths can be compared to an illness and the medicine to remove it.

A doctor diagnosed the illness that cause someone sick. He searched for the cause of the illness. After he knew the cause and it could be cured, he would give medicine (“the path”) to the patient to cure the illness.

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