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Devni Wijayaratne

on 30 October 2013

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The Middle Path
The Four Noble Truths
The Noble Eight-Fold Path
The Four Universal Seals
Between 2 extremes:



view that death is the annihilation of man:
therefore the present world alone is real;
VIRTUE: a delusion
ENJOYMENT: the only reality

life of excessive comfort as Prince Siddhartha
view that Emancipation only possible by leading a life of strict asceticism
life of austerity for six years with the five ascetics
2 Cause of Suffering
the cause of suffering is craving;
3 Cessation of Suffering
Nibbana (Nirvana);
1 Suffering
life is suffering;
4 Path leading to the Cessation of Suffering
the Noble Eight-Fold Path;
all beings are subjected to pain, getting old, disease, and death
psychological suffering:
loneliness, frustration, fear, embarrassment, disappointment, anger, an unfulfilled wish
the greater the gap between what one wants the world to be and the way it really is, the greater the suffering
feeling pain but wanting to be free of pain
having strawberry cake delivered for your birthday when one wanted chocolate cake
having a child become sick and die when one wanted that child be healthy and grow

craving for sensual pleasures, craving for existence, craving for non-existence
craving deprives us of contentment and happiness, and is the cause for most ills of life
not being satisfied with the way things are
trying to perfect everything
holding on to old ways because things were better back then
expecting people to conform to own expectations
wanting people to like you
craving + ignorance
leads to repeated births in Sansara
---------- suffering again and again
imperturbable stillness of the mind, achieved by total eradication of all forms of craving: greed, hatred and delusion
elimination of self-created desires: we can become happy and free by
giving up useless craving and learn to live each day at a time
not dwelling on the past or the imagined future (Nibbana)
as long as one is bound up by craving and attachment, one accumulates fresh karmic activities
elimination ceases operation of karmic forces, and one attains Nibbana
ways of attaining Nibbana:
1) in the present life itself without needing to wait for a life beyond
2) when an Arahant passes away with the dissolution of the body, without any remainder of physical existence
avoiding the two extremes of self-indulgence and self-mortification
in summary:
being moral through what we say, do and our livelihood
focussing the mind on being fully aware of our thoughts and actions
developing wisdom by understanding the Four Noble Truths and by developing compassion for others

Mental Discipline
8 factors, grouped under 3 headings;
mental discipline
Right Understanding/ View
to understand the Four Noble Truths
to understand wholesome deeds, unwholesome deeds and comprehend the law of Karma
"the important thing is to see how one creates suffering,
then one will see how others create suffering,
and that process deepens the understanding - that nothing can rise alone, without the support of other things on which its existence depends -
and develops compassion"
Right Thought/ Intention
that which molds the nature of a person and controls his destiny
Right Speech
refraining from falsehood, slandering, harsh words, and frivolous talk
law of Karma - in detail
actions have results
explains a number of things in life
how to test the Karmic effect of our actions:
the intention of action
the effects of action on oneself
the effects of action on others
good intentions
good intentions vs bad intentions
(1) thoughts leading to renunciation of worldly affairs
(2) thoughts leading to Loving Kindness and good will
(3) thoughts leading to harmlessness
are opposed to greed, hatred, and delusion, which are the chief causes of all evil
purify and elevate a person
bring peace and tranquility
bad intentions
greed, hatred, and delusion, the chief causes of all evil
defile and debase a person
cause desire and suffering
falsehood -
deceive others
slandering and harsh words -
hurt others
frivolous talk -
disunite bodies (a people)
hurt others
words are true, innocent, pleasant, and useful, fruitful and beneficial to all
Right Action
abstinence from killing, stealing and sexual misconduct
Right Livelihood
for lay persons: refraining from five kinds of trade;
Right Effort
important because deliverance is obtained by one's own effort and not by seeking refuge in other or by prayers
bad speech can spread ideas and thoughts of wants and desires from one to another
bad speech reinforces wants and desires which come to mind
(which are caused by greed, hatred, and delusion)
modifying our actions to meet our basic needs, or out of compassion, to help others to meet their needs
e.g. refraining from harming others and from trivial activities
trading in arms, human beings, meat, intoxicating drinks, and poison
awakening the desire to prevent the arising of unarisen evil unwholesome states
awakening the desire to discard already-arisen evil unwholesome states
awakening the desire to promote the arising of unarisen wholesome states
awakening the desire to develop already arisen wholesome states
for Bhikkhus (Monks): conduct that is truthful
not engaging in deceitful behavior or uttering deceitful words
Right Mindfulness
with regard to four objects
Body (Kaya), Feelings (Vedana), Thoughts (Citta), Mind Objects (Dhamma)
and an immortal soul
right mindfulness eradicates the misconceptions with regard to
Right Concentration
one-pointedness of the mind
with a concentrated mind, things can be seen as they truly are by means of penetrative insight
before practising concentration, a subject from the 40 subjects of meditation must be selected
2 Dissatisfaction
equivalent to suffering
1 Impermanence
all phenomena or existence of things are in a constant state of fluctuation
4 Nirvana
3 Non-Self
there is nothing that ever ultimately ceases to exist
only the appearance of something ceases as it changes from one form to another form
middle ground between eternalism and nihilism
scientifically speaking, ‘matter cannot be created nor destroyed’
also known sometimes as the "Marks of Existence"
In the current life, nothing found in the physical or psychological realm can bring a lasting satisfaction
‘Whatever is impermanent is subject to change. Whatever is subject to change is subject to suffering’

all phenomena are without a self
A permanent state of being is without a ‘soul’
All things are temporary and reaffirmed as impermanent whether describing all matter in the universe, from the cosmos, to Earth, to humanity, to animals, to yourself
Everything is continually in a state of change
the ‘other shore’ that the truly enlightened reach when they understand Impermanence, Dissatisfaction, and Non-self.
Nirvana of purity
Nirvana with residue
Nirvana without residue
Nirvana of no dwelling
The Four Types of Nirvana
Nirvana without Residue
Results in the extinguishing of reincarnation
Nirvana of No Dwelling
highest state a being can reach
Nirvana with Residue
cause of the effect of Karma being discontinued and reincarnation stopped
Nirvana of Purity
nirvana of pure and clear-nature, commonly possessed by all sentient beings, is not subject to life or death but subject to impermanence
beings called Arahants are subjected to birth and death, a never-ending cycle
All kinds of suffering and ‘what is known’ are external to the beings, commonly referred to as Bodhisattvas
A ‘place’ where a being who has attained complete wisdom and compassion dwells with no birth and death nor in Nirvana, but continue to rescue living beings for all eternity
The goal of the Buddhist so he or she becomes an essence to lead others to Nirvana
Guide to the Study of Theravada Buddhism Book 2
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