Re: The Four Noble Truths


The first Noble Truth expresses Dukkha, the unfulfilling nature of existence. It is then postulated that Dukkha arises out of thirst: The desire for sensual pleasures, the desire for existence, and the desire for annihilation. The third postulate says that Dukkha can be avoided if one does not have these desires. The last Noble Truth is the way one may free himself of desire: The Eightfold Path.


The Four Noble Truths have a certain logic to them: The world is unfulfilling, and at times it makes sense to merely exit: If there is no fulfilment, then it is best to stop engaging with the empty and meaningless. Yet, I doubt desire is truly the fault here: A man desires food and food is good; a man desire company and fellowship is good. He will hunger again, he will at times become lonely, but is this reason to avoid food and friends? The unfulfillment lies, I suspect, not in the desire itself but in the mischaracterization of our desire. If we find that food does not sate some desire in us, if we find that company cannot satisfy us, if we find that in all the world nothing fulfills some indescribable need we have, it is perhaps not that our desire is wrong but that we have been pouring gasoline in a diesel engine. Yes, the impermanence of the world leads us to long for something permanent: That longing is good or bad as permanence is real or fiction. It is the Christian contention, then, that there is something real and wholesome and satisfying, something which will never pass away (Matthew 24:35). Buddhism, I find, is antagonistic to creation seemingly because creation fails to be what it was never meant to be: God.

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