This is often the introductory teaching given at the very beginning. It is specifically for students who want to be Buddhists, do ngondro, etc. (The fourth reminder is also the first noble truth.)
Suffering of SamsaraDue to ignorance, craving and becoming In the realm of men, gods and the three inferior spheres, The five realms beings revolve foolishly, Like the turning of the potter’s wheel. All contaminated aggregates are causes of suffering And are possessed with many torments. Even that which appears pleasurable is a deceiver. The three realms of existence are like a pit of fire. Yet, we ‘who are filled with attachment do not realize this. Guru, embodiment of the Three Jewels, look upon us with compassion. Bestow your blessings so that we give rise to the mind of renunciation.
The 4 noble truths
1st noble truth – discontentment
2nd noble truth – Impermanence
3rd noble truth – No Self
4th noble truth – Path has to be cultivated
(excerpts of Khandro Rinpoche teaching on this topic.) HHDL taught on the 4 noble truths – it’s all on YouTube. “The path has to be cultivated”. Even as we suffer, the path has to be cultivated. “The heart has to be cultivated”. Isn’t that so much nicer than “the path has to be cultivated”? 🙂
It’s your mind, so it’s your path. How many people ask for evidence that it works? That’s it’s valuable to “do it”? Many of you have that direct experience where friends/family will ask “why are you meditating”?
The First three aspects of ignorance are based on a state of having no opinion, of being too tired to form an opinion. This is not equanimity. There is a sense of losing, a sense of suffering, a sense of not obtaining. Predominately, it’s the play of mind weighing gain and loss, happiness, not happiness, praise, blame. The attachment/aversion becomes most powerful. Or neutral, a sense of don’t care, you don’t go on to praise/blame. The different extremes fuel attachment/aversion, which lead to the majority of what we do. You can walk into a circumstance and have no opinion at all. Or you can be in a small room with a few people and have extreme attachment/aversion. A human working on discriminating based on fueling attachment and aversion loses attachment to the Buddha-dharma. Then teachings on ethics, on wholesome/unwholesome actions, they just become things learned.
To appreciate the fullness is giving the freedom to the fullness rather on what you want to see. It’s like a person who meets an accident and loses one’s own body to paralysis, and then has to rehab to learn to walk again. Our discriminating awareness has been dominated by likes and dislikes. You need to coach based on not knowing suffering, impermanence, emptiness, and no-self. This is why suffering is stressed so much. It is mainly discriminating wisdom gone bad that is the source of ignorance. It discerns lazily, based on concerns of self, likes and dislikes – this is the cause of suffering.
So, who by yourself will be the one to get rid of suffering? One has to train one’s own mind, which can’t be done unless one walks the path of practice. This is not a religious fundamentalist idea, but understanding what oneself has done to oneself. This is why it is essential at all times to contemplate the 4 noble truths.
A view of the 16 approaches to the 4 noble truths.
Further, taking into contemplating the 16 aspects of 4 Noble truths. The 16 wrong ways of embracing the 4 Nobel truths. For those who have misunderstood 4 noble truths. For the 1st noble truth, a completely misunderstanding is holding what is impure to be pure. Everything trapped in your discrimination. If two people stand up, and I ask “who is better?” You will say “neither,” being “good Buddhists”. 🙂
But going by how you actually behave in your life, in a normal situation – Say you see a movie with 2 characters, you say “I like that one better than this one.” Why? The color of hair? Expression? The Nature of their character? Who is greater, lesser? In that way, learn how much of what you express being karma – each action, expression, simple movement of a hair or pore of the skin is karma. Each beating of the heart.
To think you can have an opinion and not have karma from it is misunderstanding. Each drop of water fills up an ocean, each grain of sand becomes a beach, and each opinion solidifies the conduct of an individual.
“Cessation is to be manifested” is taking the point of view of the third turning that you already have Buddhahood, but it has to be brought out. That’s the gross aspect. On a deeper level, it is to be happened. Cessation is usually seen as a “Not-happening”. But cessation in this case is NOT nihilistic. What is being snuffed out? All the negative things. How does this cessation manifest in our lives? We speak less, shop less, look less at shiny things. But there are positives. “Right speech” is not just avoiding negative actions. There are actions to be cultivated.
“Learn about suffering. The best way to do that is to suffer.” Examine your suffering. We become more sensitive to our suffering.