Monday, May 03, 2010

Buddhism: the eight-spoked wheel is a symbol of the eight paths to enlightenment

Originally uploaded by Hyderabadiz
Buddhism is based on The Four Noble Truths, says

1. Life means suffering.
- To live means to suffer, because the human nature is not perfect and neither is the world we live in. During our lifetime, we inevitably have to endure physical suffering such as pain, sickness, injury, tiredness, old age, and eventually death; and we have to endure psychological suffering like sadness, fear, frustration, disappointment, and depression.

2. The origin of suffering is attachment (or craving).
- The reasons for suffering are desire, passion, ardour, pursuit of wealth and prestige, striving for fame and popularity, or in short: craving and clinging. Because the objects of our attachment are transient, their loss is inevitable, thus suffering will necessarily follow. Objects of attachment also include the idea of a "self" which is a delusion, because there is no abiding self. What we call "self" is just an imagined entity, and we are merely a part of the ceaseless becoming of the universe.

3. The cessation (stopping) of suffering is attainable.
- The cessation of suffering can be attained through nirodha. Nirodha means the unmaking of sensual craving and conceptual attachment. The third noble truth expresses the idea that suffering can be ended by attaining dispassion. Nirodha extinguishes all forms of clinging and attachment.

4. The path to nirvana and the cessation of suffering is through 8 ways of correct living.
- The path to the end of suffering is a gradual path of self-improvement. It is the middle way between the two extremes of excessive self-indulgence (hedonism) and excessive self-mortification (asceticism); and it leads to the end of the cycle of rebirth.