Buddhism on a Page

The Four Noble Truths

  1. Life is hard.
  2. Life is hard because we continually want things that aren’t possible.
  3. Life becomes easier when we stop wanting things that aren’t possible.
  4. We can stop wanting things that aren’t possible by following….

Life is hard because we all are subject to old age, sickness and death.  Impossible things we want are: not to get old, sick, or die ourselves and not to have people and things we love get old, sick, or die.

The Eightfold Noble Path

  1. See things the way they are.
  2. Think in accordance with what is.
  3. Speak accordingly.
  4. Act in ways that reduce suffering rather than increase it.
  5. Choose a livelihood that doesn’t cause more problems than it solves.
  6. Work diligently in your livelihood and in your life to follow this path.
  7. Focus your mind to be aware of what is.
  8. Notice that wisdom flowers as you begin to deeply understand….

The way things are is equal to “the three marks of existence,” and “the four noble truths.”  You have to train yourself to think in accordance with these ideas because our minds by nature are unruly and want to experience only pleasure and avoid pain.  You speak in accordance with this by not saying things that lead others or yourself to into denial of the way things are or that cause pain and suffering because of everything changes, everything is interconnected.  Ways that increase suffering come from acting out of ignorance of the fact that what you do is intimately connected with everything else in the world and that there is no fundamental difference between you and other beings.

The Three Marks of Existence

  1. Nothing is completely satisfactory.
  2. Everything changes.
  3. Nothing has a permanent, independently existing “self” because of…

The Law of Effect and Conditionality (Karma):

  1. Whatever arises, arises in dependence on conditions; whatever ceases, ceases because those conditions cease.
  2. “This is like this because that is like that,”  AND, you begin to experience…..

The Four “Buddha Minds” or “Abodes of Enlightenment”

  1. Loving-kindness–wanting happiness for all sentient beings.
  2. Compassion– wanting to relieve the suffering of all sentient beings.
  3. Sympathetic joy–joy and delight in the happiness of other beings.
  4. Equanimity—tranquility, accepting what comes to you without preferences, BECAUSE…

You are connected to all other beings [conditionality and “no-self”] and cannot be truly happy until all beings are happy [loving kindness, compassion, sympathetic joy].  You can understand why beings are not happy [three marks of existence, eightfold path, law of conditionality, four noble truths] and begin to work for the happiness and liberation from suffering of all beings [eightfold path, compassion, sympathetic joy] and therefore of yourself [“no-self”, interdependence], realizing that suffering and enlightenment are really opposite sides of the same coin, that suffering arises from ignorance [conditionality, law of effect] but is transformed into enlightenment by following the path [eightfold path, equanimity, conditionality]. You become motivated to do this because…[repeat from the top]…

By Larry Mandt