I came across these teachings a long time ago, but have recently gone back to them to use as a guide. The deeper one goes, the more these truths become self evident. These represent a foundation of the Buddhist religion, of which I am not a member, but I can’t deny the bold truth contained within the four simple sentences.
1. Suffering exists
2. Attachment causes suffering
3. Through ceasing attachments, you can end suffering
4. If you follow and practice the Eightfold Path, you will end suffering
We don’t have to go deep into meditation to figure this one out. We all suffer to a greater or lesser degree. Most of this suffering begins in our minds, with thought. There is, of course, physical suffering which is brought about by environmental forces beyond our control, but let’s just talk about the mental and emotional suffering.
Let’s say that you have a nice car that you are proud of. It doesn’t have to be a luxury car or anything, but something that you hold in high esteem. You could even go so far as to say you love the car, like in Ferris Bueller’s Day Off.
You might wash it, wax it, clean the inside, and park it in a secure place, etc… Then one day you need to take it to a less than savory area.
Attachment Causes Suffering
All of a sudden you become flush with anxiety. You begin to worry about the trip. Then, when you take the trip, you are constantly thinking about the car and whether or not it’s ok where it is.
This causes suffering. Your attachment to the car is causing your mind to go into fight or flight and create worry, which manifests in your body in various ways. In extreme cases, you could have an anxiety attack, all because you are so attached to your car. You fear losing it, or something happening to it which will cause you financial hardship, inconvenience, or some other discomfort.
Through Ceasing Attachments, You Can End Suffering
This is just a car. It will get old, rust, and go back to the Earth from which it came. There is nothing you can do to stop that. It is impermanent, like our bodies. If you don’t accept that and get used to that idea, you will suffer for it. Take that idea and escalate it to nations, then ask yourself why we have wars. The idea is not to ignore it, but understand that it is there, accept it, and don’t let the car own you. You enjoy the car while it is there, fully knowing that “having” it is simply temporary.
The Noble Eightfold Path – Learn to End Suffering
more to come…