The Heart of the Buddha's Teaching
Buddhism, with about 365 million followers makes up 6% of the world's population and is the fourth largest religion in the world (exceeded by Christianity, Islam and Hinduism). The first Buddha, Siddhartha Gautama when he attained enlightenment, founded Buddhism in Northern India in the sixth century BCE. Buddhism is made up three main forms. They are Theravada Buddhism found mainly in Thailand, Burma, Cambodia and Laos, Mahayana Buddhism, which is largely found in China, Japan, Korea, Tibet and Mongolia and Vajrayana Buddhism. Some other that can be included are Tibetan Buddhism and Zen Buddhism. In Buddhism there are four Noble truths, and an eight-fold path that makes up this religion.
The first of the Four Noble Truths is life means suffering. The basis of this is that to live is to suffer, because the human race is not perfect and neither is the world. On this earth, everyone inevitably suffers pain, sickness, injury, old age, and eventually death as well as psychological suffering like sadness, fear, frustration, disappointment and depression. Life in its totality is imperfect and incomplete, because the world is subject to impermanence. This means we are never able to permanently keep what we strive for, and just as happy moments pass by, we ourselves and our loved ones will pass away one day, too there for all things are suffering and as all things are life, life is suffering.
The second Noble Truth is that the origin of suffering is attachment. The origin of suffering is attachment to transient things. Transient things not only include the physical objects that surround us, but also ideas, and all objects of our perception. The reasons for our suffering are desire, passion, pursuit of wealth and prestige and striving for fame and popularity, so basically attachment to transient things and because the objects of our attachment are transient, their loss is inevitable, therefore is followed by suffering.
The third Noble Truth is the cessation of suffering is attainable. The cessation of suffering can be attained through the unmaking of craving and attachment. The third noble truth presents the idea that suffering can be ended by attaining dispassion and extinguishing all forms of clinging and attachment. Attaining and perfecting dispassion is a many-leveled process that ultimately results in the state of Nirvana. Nirvana being freedom from all worries and troubles and it is not comprehensible for those who have not attained it.
The final Noble Truth is the path to the cessation of suffering. The path to the end of suffering is a gradual path of self-improvement. It is the middle way between the two extremes of excessive self-indulgence (hedonism) and excessive self-mortification (asceticism) and it leads to the end of the cycle of rebirth. The path to the end of suffering can extend over many lifetimes, throughout which every individual rebirth is subject to the conditions of Karma. The objects of suffering such as craving, ignorance and delusions will eventually disappear as progress is made on the path. Now the Noble Eightfold Path describes the way to the end of suffering, as it was laid out by the Buddha. It is a practical guideline to ethical and mental development with the aim of freedom from attachments and delusions. Together with the Four Noble Truths it constitutes the main point of Buddhism. The main emphasis is put on the practical aspect, because it is only through practice that one can obtain the higher level of existence to reach Nirvana. The eight aspects of the path are not meant to be understood as a sequence of single steps instead they are actually interdependent principles. They are Right View; Right speech, Right Action, Right livelihood, right effort, right mindfulness, and right concentration. Right view is the beginning and the end of the path and simply means to see and to understand things