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Buddhist Principals: The Four Noble Truths and Dukkha

The Buddha taught that life was dissatisfactory because of craving, but that this condition was curable by following the Eightfold Path. This teaching is called the Four Noble Truths:

1. Dukkha: All worldly life is unsatisfactory, disjointed, containing suffering.
2. Samudaya: There is a cause of suffering, which is attachment or desire (tanha) rooted in ignorance.
3. Nirodha: There is an end of suffering, which is Nirvana.
4. Marga: There is a path that leads out of suffering, known as the Noble Eightfold Path.

Dukkha is a central concept in Buddhism, the word roughly corresponding to a number of terms in English including sorrow, suffering, affliction, pain, anxiety, dissatisfaction, discomfort, anguish, stress, misery, and aversion. The term is probably derived from duhstha, "standing badly," "unsteady," "uneasy." Dukkha is the focus of the Four Noble Truths, including the first:

All of life involves dukkha.

The other three Noble Truths explain the source of dukkha, the means of eliminating it, and the method of executing its cessation. This method is known as the Noble Eightfold Path. Siddartha Gautama, the Buddha repeatedly stated that the only purpose of Buddhism is to seek the cessation of dukkha, by understanding the Four Noble Truths and acting accordingly.

The Buddha discussed three kinds of dukkha.

> Dukkha-dukkha (all pervading pain) is the obvious sufferings of physical pain, illness, old age, death, the loss of a loved one.
> Viparinama-dukkha (pain of alternation) is suffering caused by change: violated expectations, the failure of happy moments to last.
> Sankhara-dukkha (pain of pain) is a subtle form of suffering inherent in the nature of conditioned things, including the skandhas, the factors constituting the human mind.

Dukkha is also listed among the three marks of existence.


This article is licensed under the GNU Free Documentation License.

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