The Path to Cessation of Suffering | Daily News

The Path to Cessation of Suffering

The Buddha, the great spiritual master abandoning his household life, went into the forest and searched for liberation which would bring the ultimate peace. In his quest of searching this truth, the phenomenon of the world he ended up finding out the truth and he declared it as fourfold - Four Noble Truths, Vice President of the International Institute of Theravada, Venerable Watagoda Maggavihari Thera said.

Suffering - Dukka Sacca

Origin of Suffering - Dukka Samudaya Sacca

Cessation of the Suffering - Dukka Nirodha Sacca

The path leading to the cessation of the suffering - Dukka Nirodha Gamini Patipada Ariya Sacca

Venerable Watagoda Maggavihari Thera

What is liberation? Venerable Maggavihari Thera explained that liberation means being freed from all sufferings. The Eightfold Path leads to liberation. “Before that we have to know from what we have to be liberated. It is from suffering. According to the Buddha's explanation, suffering means the existence that we have. Though it is not something very pleasant to the world, in his investigations what he found was that though we admire our lives when we look into it we can easily find that it is full of afflictions, troubles, and unpleasant experiences. From the moment we are born we experience this hardship. That's why most of the children who are born come out from the womb crying. If it is a pleasant experience there is no need to cry. From birth to death we have to experience a lot of hardships. Very common hardship is hunger. Thirst, the nature of our body getting dirty, need for defecation and urinating, sicknesses, aging and death are a few other hardships we have to experience in our lives. When we look into human life it is obvious that it starts with suffering and it is destined to end with suffering. The ultimate suffering is death. According to the Buddha, this existence is indeed suffering. The Buddha has very clearly explained the reason for this suffering.” Venerable Thera said.

One can ask a question: can't there be a permanent life that would not end which is full of happiness like in the divine realms as it has been explained in certain books. Personally I feel Bodhisattva, in his spiritual research, surely would like to have a permanent life that is full of happiness. Because he gave up all the luxuries since he was not satisfied with a life that would end one day. He wanted the utmost happiness. That's why he could give up a very wonderful, beautiful, lovely lady like Yashodhara and also to give up the son, on the day he was born and the kingship that would be bestowed upon him by his father. He was in search of greater happiness. I like to see Bodhisattva's renunciation as he went for the utmost happiness other than being fed up with the suffering of the world. Therefore he would have surely thought of a permanent life that would not end. It will be a good choice, if there is such a life. When we look into the scriptures with deep insights, we can understand that an argument he had was about the cause of the birth. Craving is a main factor. For example, if a person lives a good life and has good Kamma, he or she will be born into a better realm. The thing that facilitates the birth is the Kamma, the good or bad deeds we have done. If a person lives a good life and has good Kamma, they will be reborn into a better realm. According to the Buddha, if a life is produced by Kamma, that life has to have a certain limitation, as the Kamma is an impermanent act and an impermanent act can never have an unlimited capacity in yielding results. Therefore, the Bodhisattva ruled out the possibility of a permanent life. Under the guidance of renowned teachers Alara Kalama and Uddakaramaputta who were well known for their spiritual mental absorptions (dyana), the Bodhisattva gained the highest concentration that humans could gain. These two teachers advocated that this is the final liberation. After attaining these dhyanas you would end up in a permanent everlasting life. That was their doctrine. But the Bodhisattva just gave up reasoning that if it is something conditioned how can it be permanent as he could easily observe that dhyanas too are impermanent and have a limited efficacy.

The Buddha also realized that life is unsatisfactory and full of suffering. While desires might be temporarily fulfilled, physical, emotional or mental suffering cannot be avoided. Suffering is caused by desire or craving. Craving, or Tanha, keeps humans attached to existence. It means that humans are reincarnated again and again, or ‘arise’ again and again in various lives. Samudaya means the ‘cause of arising’. An end to craving is an end to suffering. Nirodha means ‘cessation’ or stopping. It is possible for us to break the cycle of craving and arising. When we break this cycle, we become free from rebirth and will no longer be born into another life of suffering. To end this craving, we must follow the Noble Eightfold Path. Once we have accepted the first three truths, we might choose to follow the Buddha’s teaching in order to stop craving. This path is called ‘magga’, or the Noble Eightfold Path.

The noble truth of the way of practice leading to the cessation of dukkha: precisely this Noble Eightfold Path: right view, right thought, right speech, right action, right livelihood, right effort, right mindfulness, right concentration.

According to Buddhist Philosophy, existence is full of suffering. It is an impermanent thing. Most importantly it is made out of non-self elements. Buddhists normally call mind and matter not selves. But they appear as selves. If the existence is of this nature – impermanent, full of suffering and without a self – why would we crave for such a thing. That is because of our ignorance. As long as we do not know the truth at the very deepest level and also if we do not keep on observing this truth regularly, craving will pop up. So the Buddha went deeper and found out that it's not possible for him to remove the Kamma as long as craving is present. He also found out that it's not possible to remove craving as long as ignorance is there. Ignorance means avidya or Mona. If one wants to remove the avidya, he or she has to bring up wisdom. That we call vidarshana (The Great Insight). In order to attain this insight that would dispel delusion, one needs to observe the true phenomenon of our very existence. When delusion is removed there will be no kind of craving towards existence. That is what we have to do in our practice. The Buddha further explained that it is not possible to come into this level of understanding, only developing this faculty of understanding. It has to have some prerequisites. Wisdom is also caused by some causes. So what are these necessary factors? The Buddha explained these requirements to be eightfold. Wisdom is one factor. The remaining seven factors are utterly necessary for us to attain wisdom which would dispel ignorance, which eventually removes craving and would not cause any Kamma to give a rebirth. So as a result after the death there would be no rebirth, no suffering and that is the liberation from suffering.

The Noble Eightfold Path (Ariya Atthangika Magga)

1. Samma-Ditthi — right view

2. Samma-Sankappa — right thought

3. Samma-Vaca — right speech

4. Samma-Kammanta — right action

5. Samma-Ajiva — right livelihood

6. Samma-Vayama — right effort

7. Samma-Sati — right mindfulness

8. Samma-Samadhi — right concentration

The Buddha has mentioned in some Suttas that the path starts with Samma Ditthi. So the first Samma Ditthi is the knowledge that we gain after listening to Dhamma.

What is the right view? Knowledge about the cause of suffering, knowledge to end the cause of suffering, knowledge of the path to end the suffering. This is called the right view. Understanding the right view, one should be able to differentiate between right thought and wrong thought. One should be resolved to be free from ill-will is what the right intention will teach you. One should always keep themselves from lying and ill speech. One should make best use of their speech and abandon false speech and always speak truth. Never hurting others, criticizing others, and behaving well are the right conduct. One should never conduct any actions that may harm others. The Buddha has explained that “Do not earn your living by harming others. Do not seek happiness by making others unhappy.” One should never choose living where his or her way of living may directly or indirectly harm others. Right effort can also be called “right endeavour”. One should always try to take any action on the goodwill of people. People must constantly keep their mind to phenomena that may affect the body and mind. This means one must be aware of their thoughts, words, and actions. Right concentration teaches people to concentrate and focus on one thing or object at a time. Thus leading a quiet and peaceful mind. Following these Noble Eightfold Path, one can cultivate their wisdom and thus leading to the path to attain Nibbana.



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