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The Noble Liberation The Noble Truths
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CONTENTS
PREFACE INTRODUCTION The Buddha The Dhamma The Cause for being Drifted in Samsara The Supreme Enlightenment The World is enchanted with Pleasure The First Sermon 11 21 22 23 23 25 26 27

The Two Extremes 29 The Middle Path 30 THE FIRST NOBLE TRUTH - THlE NOBLE TRUTH OF SUFFERING 34 What is Suffering? What is Birth (jatO? What is Ageing (jar{j) ? What is Death (marana) ? What is Worry or Sorrow (Soka)? What is Lamentation (parideva) ?
34 35 35

36 36

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Contents

What is Bodily Pain (dukkha) ? What is Grief (domanassai ? What is Despair (upiiyZisa) ? What is the Suffering of Association with the Undesirable and the Unloved? What is the Suffering of Seperation from the Desirable and the Loved? What is the Suffering of not getting what one desires? How, in brief, are the five Aggregates of Attachment suffering? , , Comnent and Argument The profound Meakng of Dukkha Three Kinds of Dukkha What Sense Enjoyment really is The Delightfulness of Sensuality .... The evil Consequences of Sensuality The Freedom or Liberation from Sensuality... Illustration of the Three Aspects of Sensuality Examples of Viparinama Dukkha Sankhara Dukkha is most important Is Buddhism Pessimism or Realism? Threefold Wisdom on the Noble Truth of Suffering

37 37 38 39 40 41 42 44 46 49 53 55 56 58 59 63 68 69 74

Contents

THE SECOND NOBLE TRUTH - THE NOBLE TRUTH OF THE ORIGIN OF SUFFERING The Origin of Suffering Where does Craving arise and take root? Craving is the Main Cause of Suffering Attachment is the Cause of Suffering Craving is the Origin of Rebirth The Beginning1ess and Endless Round of Misery The Craving that takes Delight in the new Existence Defilements are the Causes of Suffering 79 80 82 89 95 ... 110 . .. 114 . .. 119

Threefold Wisdom on the Noble Truth of the Origin of Suffering ... 120 THE THIRD NOBLE TRUTH - THE NOBLE TRUTH OF THE EXTINCTION OF SUFFERING What is the Cessation of Suffering? ... 124 TIle Cessation of Suffering and Nibbana ... 127 The Two Aspects of Nibbana ... 134 Three Modes of Expressing Nibbana The Summum Bonum of Buddhism Various Descriptions of Nibbana Nibbana is not 'Nothingness' Verification of Nibbana
"

... ... ... ... ...

136 138 146 155 161

Contents

Threefold Wisdom on the Noble Truth of the Cessation of Suffering

. .. 177

THE FOURTH NOBLE TRUTH - THE NOBLE TRUTH OF THE PATH LEADING TO THE CESSATION OF SUFFERING
What is the Path leading to the Cessation of Suffering? The Explanation of the Path Factors (1) The Right Understanding
(Sammddiuhi)

181 184
184

(2) The Right (3) The Right (4) The Right (5) The Right (6) The Right (7) The Right

Thought (Sammasankappa) Speech ISammiiviicii) Action (Sammiikammanta) Livelihood (Samma-ajiva) Effort (Sammavayama) Mindfulness

193 197 204 210 213
... 217

(Sammdsati)

(8) The Right Concentration iSammiisamddhi) ... 223 The Noble Threefold Training ... 231 • Practical Training . .. 232 Threefold Wisdom on the Noble Truth of the Path leading to the Cessation of Suffering . .. 246 Enlightenment not yet Claimed . .. 249 Enlightment Claimed . .. 250 Venerable K0114anna realized the Truth 251 The joyful Exclamation of Celestial Beings 253

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PREFACE

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Although you are a free citizen, are you really free from the bondage of various kinds?

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There is the bondage called the fetter of attachment (ta~ha) to your wife or husband, sons and daughters, wealth and property, sensuous objects and sensuality. This bondage ties you to your beloved persons and cherished things so that you cannot be free. There is another bondge called the fetter of ill-will (anger) that burns or tortures you because you are not satisfied as you do not get what you want or you get what you don't want or someone ill treats you.
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Again there is another bondage called the fetter of wrong view (dinhO that makes you regard yourself as 'person, being, 1', let you attach to 'I' and constantly attend to 'I' so as to make you feel well and happy. Another bondage called the fetter of pride (mana) also binds you by making you very proud of the know-

ledge, the wealth, the official position and the prestige that you have acquired. It keeps you intoxicated with your pride and makes you very arrogant so that you cannot tolerate even a slight disagreement.
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Another very subtle yet very wicked bondage called the fetter of ignorance (avijjii) keeps you in delusion and in the dark by making you ignorant of the realities and the Noble Truths and drift endlessly and blindly in the round of rebirth named Samsara, Are you aware that you are being bound by these strong fetters?

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Besides there are ten defilements (kilesas)

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always torture you and influence you to be troubled, confused, angry, wicked, worried and miserable. They are ignorance (avijjQ') that deludes and intoxicates you to be ignorant of the realities and the Noble Truths; craving (tanh'ii) that influences you to be never contented and always hungry and thirsty for sensual pleasure; anger (dosa) wich causes you to be always worried, sad, depressed, lamenting anddespairing; the . wrong view (di!!hi) that clings to the notion that person, being, I, soul and self really exist and causes you to behave selfishly only for the welfare of yourself and to be reborn in woeful abodes repeatedly; the pride
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The ten strong ropes or fetters bind you firmly to the wheel of Existence so that you cannot escape from the round of misery life after life. The ten defilements also constantly overwhelm you to be wicked and bad .and torture you to be painful and miserable. So you are not really free but a prisoner under the bondage and influence of defilements and fetters which bind each individual to the wheel of existence.

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The liberation from the entanglement of defilements and fetters is the noblest liberation. How can one achieve this noblest liberation? One can totally liberate oneself only when one can uproot and destroy all the fetters and defilements by the fourfold knowledge of the Path. 1:l()2?CO?~:or
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The four Noble Truths are the most important uni versal truths for the full understanding of these truths .will enlighten anyone to a noble person (ariya) who will never be reborn in woeful abodes and who can enjoy the supreme bliss of Nibbana for ever.

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Since the four Noble Truths constitute an important subject of many lectures and many books, I have also delivered them several times in my dhamma lectures in Myanmar, Malaysia, Japan and the United States of America. I now present them in a concise and comprehensible form so that the readers can easily understand them well and will find satisfactory answers to such questions as: What is-suffering? What is the origin of suffering? Isn't sensual pleasure enjoyable?

Is there a way out of this suffering? Is Buddhism pessimism or realism? What is Nibbana? Can we enjoy the supreme bliss of Nibbana in this very life? What is the Noble Path that can bring about the Noble Liberation?
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The enjoyment of Dhamma excels all enjoyments. May the Dharnrna be with you!
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Namo tassa Bhagavato Arahato Sammisambuddhassa
Homage to Him, the Blessed One, the Holy One, the Fully Enlightened One, perfectly enlightened by Himself.

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1ba Buddha
A unique being, anextradrdinary manarisesin this world for the benefit.of the many, for the happiness of the many, out of compassion for the world, for the good, benefit, and happiness of celestial and human beings. Whoisthisuniquebeing? He is the'Tathagata, the (AJiguttara Nwya, 1.22) Exalted and Fully Enlightened One.

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Well expounded is the Dhamma by the Exalted One, to be self-realized, with immediate fruit, inviting investigation, worthy of being borne in mind and body, to be comprehended by the wise (ariya), each for himself. (Majjhima ikaya, 1.37) N

J9 "It is tnrougn not I.H1d~r:>lafiilili~,not reahzing four things, that I, bhikknus, as well as you, had to wander so long through this round of rebirths. these four things? They are: . And what are

1 The Noble Truth of Suffering (Dukkha); 2 The Noble Truth of the Origin of Suffering (Dukkha-sarnudaya) ; 3 The Noble Truth of the Extinction of Suffering (Dukkha-nirodha) ; 4 The Noble Truth of the Path leading to the Extinction of Suffering (Dukkha-nirodhagamiru-patrpada)." (D.16)

(~U?~,cm~'WYJoQul ~~§'In@' '~7G) 1'111 _rami £ftIgh18... nt
"As long as the absolutely true knowledge and

insight as regards these Four Noble Truths was not quite clear in me, so long was I not sure that I had won the supreme Enlightenment which is unsurpassed in all the world with its heavenly beings, evil spirits and gods, amongst all the hosts of ascetics and priests, heavenly beings and men. "But as soon as the absolute true knowledge and insight as regards these four Noble Truths had become perfectly clear in me, there arose in me the asurance that I had won that supreme Enlightenment unsurpassed."
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The Buddha made this remark about the world:"And I discovered that profound Truth to be so difficult to perceive, difficult to understand, peaceful, sacred and sublime. It is not to be gained by mere reasoning, and is only visible to the wise. "The world, however, is given to pleasure, delighted with pleasure, enchanted with pleasure. Truly, such beings will hardly understand the law of conditionality, the Dependent Arising (Paticcasamuppiida) of everything; incomprehensible to them will also be

the end of all formauons, the forsaking of every substratum ofrebirth, the fading away of craving, detachment, extinction, Nibbana. "Yet there are beings whose wisdom eyes are only a little covered with dust; they will understand the Truth." (M.26)

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This first sermon is known as "Dhammacakkapavattana Sutta ", meaning "the Discourse on Turning the Wheel of Dhamma." In this discourse the Buddha presented the Essence of his Teachings and laid down the Foundation of all his later Teachings. That Foundation is the most important Universal Truths known as the "Four Noble Truths."
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"Dve'me bhikkhave antdpabbajitena na sevitabbd"
"These two extremes, bhikkhus, should not be followed by one who has gone forth from worldly life."

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So did the Buddha begin his sermon. Therein, his voice spread allover ten thousand world systems. Knowing Dhamma, that the Buddha had started preaching the millions of devas and brahmas from ten

thousand worlds came to listen to this first discourse.

The Two Extrema
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What are the two extremes? One extreme is indutgence in desirable sense pleasure, which is low, vulgar, unprofitable, practised by worldlings but not by noble persons. The other extreme is self-mortification, which is painful, ignoble and unprofitable.

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The Bodhisatta had enjoyed the best sensual pleasure as a prince until he renounced the world at the age of29. And he knew that indulgence in sense pleasure was low, VUlgar,practised by many, and that it would never lead to higher knowledge. He also practised the severest form of selfmortification called "Dukkaracariya" for six long years. Again he discovered that thi s practice was just painful, ignoble, unprofitable and that it would not lead to higher knowledge.

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..And what is that Middle Path, 0 bhi kkhus, that the Tathagatahas realized? His simply the Noble Eightfold Path, namely: Right understanding, right thought, right speech, right action, right livelihood, right effort, right mindfulness and right concentration."

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By avoiding the two extremes and following the Middle Path, the Buddha gained vision and special knowledge; he could eradicate all defilements; he could understand the four Noble Truths penetratively; he attained Arahatta Fruition and supreme Omniscience and became a Fully Enlightened Buddha. (pa~isambhidarnagga, Dhammacakkapavattana Sutta)

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THE RR8T NOBLE TRUTH THE NOBLE TRUTH OF SUFffRING

What Is Suffering?
"This, 0 bhikkhus, is the Noble Truth of Suffering (dukkha):
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sickness is suffering; death is suffering; sorrow, lamentation, pain, grief and despair are suffering; association with the unloved or unpleasant condition is suffering; separation from the beloved or pleasant condition is suffering; not to get what one desires is suffering. In brief, the five aggregates of attachment are suffering."
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What II BIrth Uim?
The genesis of mental and physical entities in a new existence is called birth. The continuous arising of mental and physical entities inside the mother's womb or in an egg shell, the gradual development of organs and sense bases, being conceived and confined tightly in a narrow space and being delivered from the womb with great pain are also designated as birth.

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What Is Age .... (Jati)!
The decay of beings; their becoming aged, frail, grey, wrinkled; the failing of their vital force and physical strength; the wearing out of the senses - this is called ageing.

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WIIat Is Death (mar.,)!
The departing and vanishing of beings; their destruction, the completion of their life-span, the cutting off of the vital force, the cutting off of mental and physical entities, the dissolution of the groups of existence, the discarding of the body - this is called death.

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What Is Worry or Borrow (1IIka)?
It is the worry or sorrow that arises from the concern for the safety of one's life, shelter and property or for the safety and comfort of one's wife, children and beloved ones. One worries that one's property, wealth, position, authority, beloved ones, etc., may be lost.

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What 18 Lamenta1lon (pari_a)?
When one's cherished property, wealth, position, authority and beloved ones are lost, one is stricken by grief and one wails and laments. Wailing and the act of wailing, the state of woe and lamentation - this is called lamentation.

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What 18 BodIly Pain (MIdra)'
The bodily pain and the unpleasantness of the body such as .stiffness, aches,' soreness, feeling hot or cold, the painful and unpleasant feeling produced by bodily impression - this is called bodily pain.

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What 18 GrIll ("" ..

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The ment~ pain and mental upleasantness such as dislike, depression, hate and fear, the painful and unpleasant feeling produced by mental impressionthis is called grief.

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Mat Is Despair (""aym)'
When one encounters great loss or misfortune such as loss of relatives, loss of property, loss of health, loss of morality and loss of right view,
(byasana)

distress and despair arise in one's mind. This distressfulness or desperation produced by excessive mental agony is called despair.

~1'~*~
What lithe SUflerilg of Assoclatilll willi the IIndeslrabie and the Unloved? In this world when one comes into contact, meet, associate and mix with the unloved and undesirable visible forms, sounds, smells, tastes, bodily contacts and mind objects, and also when one comes into contact, meet, associate and mix with persons who desires for one's ruin, downfall, pain and danger, one experiences suffering. 111isis called the suffering of association with the undesirable and the unloved.

What Is the SUffering of Separation from tha Desirable and tha Lovell'
In this world when one fails to come into contact, meet, associate and mix with the loved and desirable visible forms, sounds, smells, tastes, bodily contacts and mind objects, and also when one is separated from one's parents, brothers, sisters. friends and relatives who wish one to gain benefits. be prosperous, to be

to

free from pain and danger. one experiences suffering. This is called the suffering of separation from the desirable and the loved.

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What 18 the SuHerJng of not getting what one desires'
To beings subject to birth there comes the desire: "How nice will it be if we were not subject to birth, and birth were not before us!" Inspite of this desire, we cannot stop birth from corning to us. This is the suffering of not getting what one desires. Similarly to beings subject to ageing, .sickness, death, sorrow, lamentation, pain, grief and despair, there comes the desire: "How nice will it be if we were not subject to these things and these things were not before us!" But this cannot be got by mere desiring. This is the suffering of not getting what one desires. Not to get the things that we want daily and to see that our wishes are not fulfilled are also suffering. •

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Attachment suffering?

The five aggregates of attachment are the corporeality group, the feeling group, the perception group, the group of menta1 formations and the group of consciousness that are attached by craving (tm!Hii) and the wrong view tditthi). Each being is made up of these five groups of attachment. All that rea1ly exist in the thirty-one planes of existence are just these five aggregates of attachment. These five aggregates arise dependent on conditions and dissolve very rapidly and incessan~y. Since th~e five aggregates are impermanent, arising and dissolving very rapidly, they are rea1ly suffering. (Digba Nikaya, Mahlivagga

P"ap. Mahasatipattbana

Sutta)

99
Comment and Argument
All living beings are subject to birth, ageing and death. No one can escape from the suffering of birth, ageing and death. While they are alive, they encounter occasionally or frequently worry or sorrow, lamentation, bodily pain, mental pain or grief and despair. They also have to associate with the unloved and the undesirable and to separate from the loved and the desirable. There are also many occasions when their desires and wishes are not fulfilled. So it is undeniable that they are also subject to these types of suffering. Now the mental and physical entities that make up the five aggregates of attachment which in tum represent a being are arising and dissolving at every moment. These phenomena can be observed by the well concentrated mind in insight meditation. Thus to be tortured constantly by the rapid dissolution of the cherished aggregates of attachment really amounts to suffering. So we cannot deny the twelve types of suffering enumerated by the Buddha. But, while we are alive, we also have the chances to separate from the unloved and the undesirable, to associate with the loved and the desirable, to get what we desire, and to enjoy sensual pleasure. Aren't these enjoyments pleasant and joyful?

Shouldn't they be designated as happiness (sukha) in-

stead of suffering (duklcha)?

Tba prof_d Meaning of Duklcha
The meaning of the Pii1iword 'dukkha' is profound. It cannot be translated adequatel y into an English word or into an equivalent word of any other language. In sanskrit, it is called 'du-kha' meaning literally 'hard to bear'. In ordinary usage 'dukkha' means 'suffering, pain, sorrow, grief, misery'. These are the opposites of the meanings such as 'happiness, pleasantness, pleasure, ease, comfort' for'sukha'. The word 'dukkha' as it appears in the first Noble Truth represents a broader meaning than 'suffering' as it describes broadly the Buddha's perspecti ve oflife and the world. In addition to the meaning 'suffering', it also includes such meanings as 'unsatisfactoriness, impermanence, imperfection, emptiness, lack of essence, and insubstantiality'.
(Dr. Rewata Dhamma: The First Discourse of the Buddha, 56)

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When the Buddha preached a sermon, he always examined the state of perfection, the aptitude for understanding his discourse and the inclination of his listeners. In expounding the Dhammaeakka Sutta to the Five Ascetics (paiiea Vaggi), the Buddha described the four Noble Trullis just briefly, because the listeners were quite advanced in fulfilling the ten perfections. Later on, he reexpounded the four Noble Truths in many occasions. In Sutta Patheyya and other Suttas, he elaborated dukkha into three kinds. 1 Dukkha dukkha - The obvious type of ordinary suffering. The eleven types of suffering, starting from the suffering of birth to the suffering of not getting what one desires, expounded in Dhammacakka Sutta, are all the obvious types of suffering known as dukkha dukkha. All forms of physical and mental suffering.

which are universally accepted as suffering, belong to dukkha dukkha.

2 Vipari.,ama dukkha - the suffering due to
change. A happy feeling, a happy condition in life, is not permanent, not everlasting. It changes sooner or later. When it changes, it produces pain and suffering. What people think to be happiness generated from association with the beloved and the desirable, separation from the unbeloved and the undesirable, getting what one desires and enjoying sensual pleasure does not last long. It turns to mental suffering as soon as conditions So it belongs to viparinama dukkha. 3 Sankhara dukkha - the suffering due to conchange. ditioning It is the type of suffering associated with constant .effort to relieve discomfort, pain, sickness, hunger, thirst, sense desires, etc. We have to take care and exert constant effort to protect ourselves from heat and cold, from insect bites, etc. Hunger and thirst are the greatest diseases that can never be cured throughout our life.

Sabbe sankhiira dukkhil ''All conditioned things are suffering. "
, All conditioned things are nothing but physical and mental entities. They constitute the five aggregates of attachment, being attached by craving and wrong view. These five aggregates arise and dissolve constantly. Conditions or causes condition the five aggregatesto arise. The five aggregates exist only while the causes exist. They cease to exist when the causes dissolve. To be constantly conditioned by causes is suffering. The dissolution of aggregates is also suffering. Having to be alive with the impermanent five aggregates is very worrisome and dreadful like living in a collapsing old building.

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What Sensa Enjoyment reaDy 18
Worldlings are very much fond of and attached to sense enjoyment, thinking that such enjoyment gives them real happiness. All animate and inanimate sense objects, if we look at them analytically, are by nature disgusting and loathsome. However, the ignorance (avijiii - a mental factor) blinds over vision not to see their true nature and deceives us to think they are persons, objects, beautiful • and desirable. Di~~hi4{wrongview - another mental factor) takes these to be true and believes that they reall y exist and are desirable. So craving (tanhii or lobha another mental factor) likes them and craves for them. When we come into contact with these sense objects, pleasant feeling arises and we enjoy this feeling with joy (pm), attachment (lobha), wrong vision (moha) and wrong view (diyhO because we make the unwise reflection that the sense objects are beautiful and desirable. Ifwe make wise reflection that the sense objects are in reality not beautiful and not permanent, unwholesome mental states (moha, ditthi, lobha) will not arise.

Again the pleasant sensation, joy and enjoyment last ju.st for a short moment. Then the>tdissolve and disappear. Since we become attached to them and era ve for them, we exert constant effort to enjoy them again and again. Now to exert constant effort to enjoy sensual pleasure again and again is suffering; the dissolution of the pleasant sensation and joy is suffering; to be burnt with the fire of greed (lobha) and the fire of ignorance (moha) while we enjoy the sensual pleasure is suffering; to be burnt with the fire of anger (~sa) and the fire of ignorance (moha) when our sense desires are not gratified inspite of our constant effort is also suffering. Therefore. if we reflect caretully with the knowledge of the Dhamma, sense enjoyment is really suffering.

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The Buddha looked at everything realistically and objectically. He said in Mahiidukkhakkhandha Sutta (Majjhima Nik7rya, MiilapaTJrziisa) with regard to enjoying the senses in daily life, that we should clearly understand three things: 1 the delightfulness of sensuality or sense enjoyment (assada), 2 the evil consequences of sensuality (iidihava), 3 the freedom or liberation from sensuality

(nissaranay.
Sensuality refers to the five senses- visible object, sound, smell, taste and tangible object. The pleasant sensation, joy and happiness that arise from contact with these sense objects represent the delightfulness of sensuality.

1be IVI c.aqueneal 01 sa_ally
To enjoy sense pleasure, money is needed. money. one has to acquire an education or skill to work or find ways and means to earn money. of his effort, ifhe fails to realize his expectation To get and has Inspite or fails

to get enough wealth and property, he is stricken with sorrow, grief, fatigue,and suffering. If, because of his effort and hard work, he acquires some wealth and property, he has to be concerned with their safety and has to guard them against five enemies - viz. water, fire, ruler, thief and unbeloved ones. This gives rise to fatigue and suffering. If, inspite of his effort, his property is lost, he experiences great sorrow, lamentation, despair and suffering. Again on account of sensuality, one has to argue and quarrel with others; some resort to stealing and robbing; some even wage wars causing many to die. And after death, many are cast into woeful abodes because of sensuality. This mass of the present suffering and the suffering after death are the evil consequences of sensuality that arise on account of sensuality.

The Freedom Dr Liberation from Ben_by

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If one can abandon the desire for sensuality and eradicate that desire, cine shall gain liberation from sensuality. To eradicate craving completely, we must walk along the Middle Path andundertake meditation. The freedom from the entanglement of craving ..." .tanhii means UIe t'rfedoR.l from all suffering and the enjoyment of peace and happiness. Insight

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When a handsome young man meets a beautiful maiden. they like each other and they make the effort to see each other again and again. When they fall in love to each other, they think that the world is a very splendid thing. This is the delightfulness of sensuality. But the worldly conditions are not stable. Because of'achangetnconditions, if they cannot meet each other again. they will be very sad and stricken with grief. If they cannot control their minds. they might commit grievous actions. In a play written by William Shakespeare, the world-famous play-writer. Romeo and Juliet met and

fell in love witheachother. They thought that their lives were very pleasant and joyful when they were together. But their parents separated them and they were stricken with grief and lamentation. As they could not stand against the vicissitudes oflife, both of them committed suicide. Ifthey had understood about the evil consequences of sensuality and the vicissitudes of life and tried to suppress the craving for and attachment to each other by doing some beneficial work while waiting for a favourable condition, they could have relieved their grief and misery. That would be a temporary escape from sensuality and the entanglement of craving.

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Alexander the Great, the Greek king of Macedon
and one of the greatest generals of all time, conquered many lands and established a great empire in 324 B.C. But he died of a fever the next year at the young age of 33.

Julius Caesar, one of the most renowned millitary
commanders in world history and Roman Statesman, while exercising dictorial powers, was murdered in 44 B.C. by a conspiracy group. Marc Antony, a Roman political leader and general, won the love of Cleopatra, the Egyptian

Queen and one of the most beautiful women in the world and ruled from Alexandria in great luxury. But, not long after, his army was defeated by the Roman army led by Octavian, and both he and Cleopatra committed suicide in 30 B.C. Thus dominion over the whole world will not produce happiness lasting for long. Death may strike at any moment. Thus Shakespeare is correct when he says: "The head that wears the crown is uneasy." Three puppies were playing and wrestling joyfully in front of our apartment building. A speeding car soon ran over them, killing them tragically. A grandfather and a grandson were walking home from school along the platform of-Prorne Road in front of the Medical Institute where I worked. A speeding saloon car got out of control, ran over the platform and killed the grandfather and the grandson on the spot. While I was on duty at the International Buddha Sasana Meditation Centre at Thanlyin, Yangon, a counsellor from American Embassy and his wife came to the centre. The counsellor went to the Dhamma Hall to meditate while his beautiful wife sat waiting for him at the office parlour, smoking a Cigarette. "Madam, while you are here, won't you like to meditate?" I tried to persuade her.

"Oh, only people with trouble need meditation. I have everything I want and, indeed, I'm very happy. I don't think I need meditation. My son is also attending the New York University happily," said the lady eloquently. Just at that moment, the telephone rang. I went to answer the phone. Then I came back to her with a sad face and said: "Madam, I'm sorry to tell you. The American Embassy has just informed us that your son had a car collision in New York and he was seriously hun. He was now in the hospital. The Embassy will ring us again as soon as they get further informatipn." Before I finished speaking, the lady broke down and was very much shaken. She suddenly asked me, "What did you say? What happened to my son ... Is he unconscious? Oh, it's miserable... I have to tell his father ... " # Then I tried to be cheerful and said solemnly, "I beg your pardon, Madam. What I said was not true. I just said what can happen at any time. If you have undertaken meditation, when a frightening incident like the one I mentioned arises, you can handle it calmly and correctly." "All right. I1l do meditation next time."

"I am glad, Madam." Family happiness can be enjoyed only while favourable conditions exist; it turns to grief and despair when the conditions change to.the worst.

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Sailkhira Dukkha II mOlt Important
Though sankhiira dukkha is hard to see and hard to understand, if we examine it anal yticall y, we shall see that sankhiira dukkha is the most important key factor of the first Noble Truth. According to the Buddha's philosophy, a being or a man is a combination of five aggregates. The five aggregates are made up of ultimate physical and mental entities. These ultimate physical and mental entities o arise incessantly dependent on the corresponding conditions and dissolve incessantly. These physical and mental entities are both conditioned and conditioning. Because the physical and mental entities have to be conditioned constantly by the corresponding causes, they are called 'sankhdra'. As 'sankhdra' arises and dissolves incessantly, the five aggregates also arise and dissolve incessantly. None of them are self-existing. There is nothing which does not dissolve. As these aggregates incessantly arise and dissolve and keep changing, there is none to be designated as 'person, being, 1'.

The absence of 'person, being, 1', the absence of any substantial entity to be called 'atta or soul', the incessant arising and dissolving in conformity with their intrinsic nature without complying to one's wishes or commands, and the nature of not being controlled by anyone constitute the very important philosophical aspect called 'anatta or non-self".

"Sabbe sankkhara aniccd. "
"All physical and mental entities are not pennanent."
"Yadaniccam tampidukkham" (Sam.Nikiiya 2.22)

"Whatever is impermanent is suffering." So

"Sabbe sankhara dukkhi:"
"All physical and mental entities are suffering." Therefore, the Buddha described the first Noble Truth in Dhammacakka Sutta as

"Samkhittena paiicupadiinakkhandhd dukkhii. "
"In brief, the five aggregates of attachment are suffering." This is equivalent to saying that all forms of existences whatsoever are nothing but suffering.

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Because of the statement "all existences are nothing but suffering", some people would like to designate Buddhism as 'Pessimism'. Pessimism is the practice of not looking on the bright and good side but on the dark and bad side of things. It expects misfortune or the, worst outcome in any circumstance. always triumph over good.
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In diagnosing the illness of a patient, one physician exaggerates it to be very serious and gives the impression that there is no hope for curing it. Another physician, being ignorant of the illness, says: "There is no illness, no medical treatment is required." So he deceives the patient with false consolation. The first physician may be called a pessimist and the second physician, an optimist. But both of them are ignorant. TIle third physician diagnoses the symptom of the disease correctl y and tells the truth about the disease and its.cause, Then he prescribes the right medicine and the patient is cured and happy. The Buddha is like the third physician. He knows the universal disease of the world together with its cause. He is a wise and scientificdoctor (bhisakka) for the ills of the world. He is truly benevolent and compassionate, and he really wants beings to be free from suffering.

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The Buddhists, who understand the true nature of life and of the world, accept the real worst condition of life and, therefore, they are not frightened and shaken by the normal vicissitudes of life. They can serenely and calmly solve the problems of life and live happily without any worry and anxiety. Just as a man, who has been drifted in the wide ocean for more than thirty days without food and water, can calmly face any situation of life calmly, so too Buddhists can confront bad situations' in life serenely.

The noble persons who have fully understood the four Noble Truths are the happiest persons in the world.

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"0 bhikkhus, this is the Noble Truth of suffering. Thus, concerning the Noble Truths not heard before, there arose in me the vision that sees the truth of suffering, the knowledge that knows the truth of suffering, the wisdom that clearly discerns the various forms of suffering, the insight that penetratively sees the truth of suffering, and the light of wisdom which destoys the darkness of ignorance shielding the truth of suffering. "

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The three aspects of wisdom mentioned above are called saccaiidna; kiccaiidna and katan~a, respectively. It is very important to understand the First Noble Truth clearly, because "he who sees dukkha sees also the Origin of dukkha, sees also the cessation of dukkha, and sees also the path leading to the cessation of dukkha." (SV, 457) In fact, the Buddha says that he who sees anyone of the four Noble Truths sees the other three as well. These four Noble Truths are interrelated.

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THE SECOND NOBLE TRUTH THE NOBLE TRUTH OF THE DilliN OF SUFFEIINI

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Origin of Suffering. It is craving (ta1)hii) which gives rise to fresh rebirth together with pleasure and attachment. It finds great delight in this and that objects of the new existence. That craving is of three kinds: 1 Craving for sense pleasure (kiimatll1fha), 2 Craving for existence or becoming (bhavataTfh(1), 3 Craving for nonexistence or self-annihilation (vibhavataTfhii). "

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. Cra ving for sense desire is the desire for the enjoyment of five kinds of sense objects: visible object, sound, smell, taste and touch. Craving for existence is the desire for continuous existence or eternal life, referring in particular to the life in those higher Brahma worlds called fine material existences and immaterial existences. It is closely connected with so-called "beliefln etemalism" (Sassataditthi}. Craving for non-existence is closely connected with the "beliefin annihilation" (Uccheda-ditthi). This is' the delusive, materialistic notion of the existence of an 'Ego' which is annihilated at death.

When this craving (tanhii) arises, where does it arise? When it takes root, where does it take root? Wherever in this world, there are delightful and pleasurable things, there this craving arises and takes root. The eye, the ear, the nose, the tongue, the body and the mind, through which we know delightful and pleasurable things: there this craving arises and takes root.

In this world visual objects, sounds, smells, tastes, bodily impressions, and mind objects are delightful and pleasurable: there this craving arises and takes root.

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In this world the consciousness which is aware of the sense object, the contact between the consciousness and the sense object, the feeling born of the contact or sense impression, the perception which perceives the sense object, the volition that acts on its concomitants to get the sense object, the sense desire that craves for the sense object, the vitakka that thinks about the object, and the vicdra that reflects on the object are delightful and pleasurable: there this craving arises and takes root. (Dfgha NiksyaMahavagga, Mahiisatipatthana Sutta)

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In Buddhism there is no arbitrary creator who controls human destinies. Suffering and the cause of suffering are not attributable to any external agency. They can be explained by the process of life itself.

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According to the Noble Truth of Suffering, life is suffering and suffering is life. Here 'life' means the 'five aggreagtes of attachment' and refers to a 'being'.
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According to the Noble Truth of the Cause of Suffering, craving (tanhii) is taken as the main cause of suffering. Tanhd and raga refers to the mental factor 'lobha'. Lobha has characteristics: 'craving' and 'attachment'. As an ultimate reality, it never relinquishes these characteristics.

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The desire of greed (lohba) or craving (tanha] can never be satisfied. The more it gets, the more it wants. Itis like drinking salty sea water: the more we drink, the

more thirsty we feel. As the flame grows bigger when we put more fuel into it, so too the sense desire grows stronger as we enjoy more sense pleasure. To be always hungry and thirsty for sensuality is real suffering.
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The Bodhisatta, in the existence of the universal monarch Mandhatu, had the ability to rain down gold coins and silver coins for poor people. But he noticed that he could never satisfy the desires of the people. So he remarked: "Even the whole wealth on earth cannot satisfy a man's greed," "The world is enough for everyone's need, but not enough for one man's greed," said Mahatama Gandhi.
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I once read an interesting story in "Readers' Digest" . A wearied traveller was crossing a desert under the scorching noon sun. He lost all tracks because of sand storms and he,was so tired that he could hardly lift his legs.
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At that moment two guardian angels passed over him. One angel took pity on this wearied traveller and would like to help him. The other angel cautioned him, saying: "This short-eared human being will never be satisfied however much you may help him."

Anyway, the good-natured angel created an oasis with green grass and a pond full of clear water with date palms surrounding the pond.
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On seeing the oasis the traveller was overjoyed. He drank water and ate the dates to his heart's content. Then he lied down on the green grass, enjoying great bliss as if he was in heaven. But he thought: "I have travelled on this desert several times. 1have never seen an oasis. This oasis must have been created by an angel. I'll ask forone more thing from this good-natured angel,' So he called out: "My dear friend angel; I thank you heartily for creating this oasis for me. But now 1

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Thereupon, the second angel reminded his friend, "Didn't I say that these short-eared human beings are . never satisfied however much they get?" "You are right, " said the first.angel and revoked his power. The oasis disappeared and the traveller had to walk wearily again on the desert under the scorching

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Thus worldlings are never satisfied however much they have as they are under the Influence of craving- . Philosophers agree that a dissatisfied person can never
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Because of dissatisfaction and selfish desire, people commit theft, robbery, rape, quarrel and even wage world wars to cause many unpleasant things in the world. Thus greed or craving causes much suffering in the present life.

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The very inquisitive monkey came down from the tall tree and touched the gum. One hand of the monkey got stuck to the gum. The monkey pushed with the other hand and that hand also got stuck. The monkey kicked with its two legs in struggling to get loose and the legs also got stuck. monkey easily. Then the hunter came and caught the

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People are firmly attached to their wives, husbands, sons and daughters, houses and cars, etc., with craving. So they are bound to these things with the ropes or fetters of craving. They cannot escape from this bondage. Because of this strong bondage, they cannot go to meditation centres to medifite for a longtime. So they cannot escape from the round of rebirth and have to drift along in samsiira.

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suffering obviously arises out of attachment to that person for we feel indifferent when we hear the illness and death of unknown people.
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While I was studying at high school, I learned a poem with the title "The forsaken merman." It describes a man who fell in love with a mermaid and who was waiting for her return with great expectation. He had been waiting for so long that days and months had passed and the winter had started to set in. All the leaves had fallen from trees; all the grass had withered," and no birds sang any more. The cold winter wind kept him trembling. The mermaid did not return, yet the man could not depart from that place. He was certainly going to die because of his strong attachment to the mermaid.

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In the world many heart-broken lovers are laid in bed without any appetide to eat or drink. Some commit suicide. Some people who are financially ruined also commit suicide. How great is the suffering caused by the attachment due to greed or craving in this very life!

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(Dhammapada 216)

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Craving and attachment (tanhii) is the most powerful force causing not only various forms of suffering in this very life, but also the continuation of existence. for life.
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It builds and rebuilds new existences over

and over again. Life depends on the desire and craving

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II

It is easy to understand how craving (tanhii) causes various forms of suffering in the present liie. But it is not so easy to understand how craving conditions a new existence to arise. Only when it is explained by means of the Doctrine of Dependent Artsing (Paticcasamuppada)

can it be understood reasonably and ra-

tionally.

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In the famous Doctrine of Dependent Arising, the Buddha describes eleven cause-effect relations to explain the round of rebirth process of al1 beings in the universe.

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II

According to the Doctrine of Dependent Arising: Dependent on ignorance arise kamma formations; Dependent on kamma formations arises resultant consicouness; Dependent on resultant consciousness arise mind-andmatter'; Dependent Dependent kinds Dependent Dependent Dependent on mind-and-matter arise six interaal bases; on six internal bases arises contact with six of sense objects; on contact (phassa) arises feeling (vedanii); on feeling (vedand) arises craving (taTJhii); on craving (tanhii) arises clinging (upiidiina);

Dependent on clinging, arise kamma formations and rebirth process; , Dependent on kamma formations arises birth (in future existence); Dependent on birth arise ageing-and-death, worry, lamentation, pain, grief, and despair.
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Thus arises the whole mass of suffering.
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