Must one "believe" in the Four Noble Truths?

An open and inclusive investigation into Buddhism and spiritual cultivation
User avatar
retrofuturist
Site Admin
Posts: 14814
Joined: Tue Dec 30, 2008 9:52 pm
Which number is larger than 1000 and less than 1002: 1001
Location: Melbourne, Australia
Contact:

Re: Must one "believe" in the Four Noble Truths?

Postby retrofuturist » Sun Dec 05, 2010 8:26 am

Greetings,

The first noble truth is an obvious reality as is known to anyone who reflects upon it.

The second noble truth can be tested, and through it, great faith in the Buddha and Dhamma cultivated.

The third noble truth seems logical, but requires faith in the potentiality of nibbana... seen in the context of the first two it seems logically plausible.

The fourth noble truth, again, requires testing, requires faith that it continues to work beyond what one has presently experiences, but again, seems logically plausible as a path leading to the cessation of craving, and thus suffering.

Must one "believe" these things? Without wanting to get bogged in semantics, I think you've got to at least acknowledge them as plausible, and verifiable to the extent that one has tested them.

Metta,
Retro. :)
If you have asked me of the origination of unease, then I shall explain it to you in accordance with my understanding:
Whatever various forms of unease there are in the world, They originate founded in encumbering accumulation. (Pārāyanavagga)


Exalted in mind, just open and clearly aware, the recluse trained in the ways of the sages:
One who is such, calmed and ever mindful, He has no sorrows! -- Udana IV, 7


Dharma Wheel (Mahayana / Vajrayana forum) -- Open flower ~ Open book (blog)

User avatar
tiltbillings
Posts: 20088
Joined: Wed Dec 31, 2008 9:25 am
Which number is larger than 1000 and less than 1002: 1001

Re: Must one "believe" in the Four Noble Truths?

Postby tiltbillings » Sun Dec 05, 2010 8:30 am

retrofuturist wrote:Greetings,

The first noble truth is an obvious reality as is known to anyone who reflects upon it.

The second noble truth can be tested, and through it, great faith in the Buddha and Dhamma cultivated.

The third noble truth seems logical, but requires faith in the potentiality of nibbana... seen in the context of the first two it seems logically plausible.

The fourth noble truth, again, requires testing, requires faith that it continues to work beyond what one has presently experiences, but again, seems logically plausible as a path leading to the cessation of craving, and thus suffering.

Metta,
Retro. :)
The FNT is certainly not a creed, and certainly, unlike a creed, the First NT starts with experiences that we all have, but until we have direct experiences of the rest, belief plays a part. Saying this, to me, is stating the painfully obvious, but maybe not.
This being is bound to samsara, kamma is his means for going beyond.
SN I, 38.

Ar scáth a chéile a mhaireas na daoine.
People live in one another’s shelter.

dheamhan a fhios agam

"We eat cold eels and think distant thoughts." -- Jack Johnson

User avatar
cooran
Posts: 7806
Joined: Tue Jan 06, 2009 11:32 pm
Which number is larger than 1000 and less than 1002: 1
Location: Queensland, Australia

Re: Must one "believe" in the Four Noble Truths?

Postby cooran » Sun Dec 05, 2010 8:43 am

Or ... one could find something of interest in the Buddha's Teachings and decide to set disbelief to one side, examine and test the Teaching, and eventually come to realise it is truth. No blind belief.

with metta
Chris
---The trouble is that you think you have time---
---Worry is the Interest, paid in advance, on a debt you may never owe---
---It's not what happens to you in life that is important ~ it's what you do with it ---

User avatar
tiltbillings
Posts: 20088
Joined: Wed Dec 31, 2008 9:25 am
Which number is larger than 1000 and less than 1002: 1001

Re: Must one "believe" in the Four Noble Truths?

Postby tiltbillings » Sun Dec 05, 2010 8:49 am

cooran wrote:Or ... one could find something of interest in the Buddha's Teachings and decide to set disbelief to one side, examine and test the Teaching, and eventually come to realise it is truth. No blind belief.
Which is why the Dhamma is different from the creed based religions in relationship to belief.
This being is bound to samsara, kamma is his means for going beyond.
SN I, 38.

Ar scáth a chéile a mhaireas na daoine.
People live in one another’s shelter.

dheamhan a fhios agam

"We eat cold eels and think distant thoughts." -- Jack Johnson

User avatar
Guy
Posts: 762
Joined: Fri May 22, 2009 4:05 am
Which number is larger than 1000 and less than 1002: 6
Location: Perth, Western Australia

Re: Must one "believe" in the Four Noble Truths?

Postby Guy » Sun Dec 05, 2010 8:56 am

cooran wrote:Or ... one could find something of interest in the Buddha's Teachings and decide to set disbelief to one side, examine and test the Teaching, and eventually come to realise it is truth. No blind belief.


No blind belief, but still some degree of belief.

In order to examine and test the Teaching, one must first *believe* that it is worth the time and effort it takes to examine and test the Teachings. This is not a case of symantics, as anyone who has honestly tried to practice the Noble Eightfold Path will testify to the amount of time and effort that is required to do so. I think all of us would have to agree that if we are going to invest a significant amount of time and effort into any task we'd like to *believe* that it was a worthwhile investment.

At first we don't know if it will deliver what it promises or not, maybe it is a dead-end, we don't know if we don't try, it is a risk. An intelligent person only takes a risk if they believe that the reward verse the risk is in their favour.

For me it was a case of "sounds good, makes sense" and I felt a sense of resonance with the Buddha's Teachings. This encouraged me to take the risk of trying to put the Teachings into practice.
Four types of letting go:

1) Giving; expecting nothing back in return
2) Throwing things away
3) Contentment; wanting to be here, not wanting to be anywhere else
4) "Teflon Mind"; having a mind which doesn't accumulate things

- Ajahn Brahm

Skaffen
Posts: 35
Joined: Sun Dec 05, 2010 7:58 am
Which number is larger than 1000 and less than 1002: 1006

Re: Must one "believe" in the Four Noble Truths?

Postby Skaffen » Sun Dec 05, 2010 11:17 am

.[/quote]Poor belief; has such a bad reputation. If belief in Buddhism is a tool for investigation, for practice, for inspiration, then there is not a thing static about it. Belief is, however, where one has to start.[/quote]

Belief isn't a tool for investigation, practice or inspiration. - I think you may have confused belief with imagination with regard to the context you detail.

Belief is what you use when there can be no successful investigation, hence the strong religious connections. It is also used to put down difficult questions - all you have to do is believe in Jesus.

Nirvana is a moment of inspiration - in this context I know it and have experienced it, I will forever try to improve my understanding of it. To simply believe it (2nd hand) is not a valid, human intelligent choice.

Emanresu
Posts: 5
Joined: Tue Nov 16, 2010 4:00 pm
Which number is larger than 1000 and less than 1002: 1006
Location: Germany

Re: Must one "believe" in the Four Noble Truths?

Postby Emanresu » Sun Dec 05, 2010 11:19 am

retrofuturist wrote:The first noble truth is an obvious reality as is known to anyone who reflects upon it.

The second noble truth can be tested, and through it, great faith in the Buddha and Dhamma cultivated.

The third noble truth seems logical, but requires faith in the potentiality of nibbana... seen in the context of the first two it seems logically plausible.

The fourth noble truth, again, requires testing, requires faith that it continues to work beyond what one has presently experiences, but again, seems logically plausible as a path leading to the cessation of craving, and thus suffering.


Hello,

maybe the Gavampati Sutta (SN 56, 36) is of interest here (unfortunately, I can't find an English translation of that Sutta at the moment). It says that if you understand one of the noble truths you understand all of them . So if the first noble truth is "obvious" to me, no faith should be required in the second, third and fourth noble truth. While it is true and not so hard to see that the world and our lives are full of suffering, the first noble truth is (also) about the five aggregates and to recognize them in one's experience (instead of just holding views about them) seems not so easy.

All the best!

User avatar
kirk5a
Posts: 1826
Joined: Thu Sep 23, 2010 1:51 pm
Which number is larger than 1000 and less than 1002: 1006

Re: Must one "believe" in the Four Noble Truths?

Postby kirk5a » Sun Dec 05, 2010 1:36 pm

Skaffen wrote:Nirvana is a moment of inspiration

A moment of inspiration is just a moment of inspiration.

If we're going to believe something before we know it, at least believe the actual definition.

"And this, monks, is the noble truth of the cessation of stress: the remainderless fading & cessation, renunciation, relinquishment, release, & letting go of that very craving."

http://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitaka ... .than.html

This is literally Buddha 101 - it's his first sermon after awakening.
"When one thing is practiced & pursued, ignorance is abandoned, clear knowing arises, the conceit 'I am' is abandoned, latent tendencies are uprooted, fetters are abandoned. Which one thing? Mindfulness immersed in the body." -AN 1.230

Skaffen
Posts: 35
Joined: Sun Dec 05, 2010 7:58 am
Which number is larger than 1000 and less than 1002: 1006

Re: Must one "believe" in the Four Noble Truths?

Postby Skaffen » Sun Dec 05, 2010 1:58 pm

kirk5a wrote:
Skaffen wrote:Nirvana is a moment of inspiration

A moment of inspiration is just a moment of inspiration.

If we're going to believe something before we know it, at least believe the actual definition.

"And this, monks, is the noble truth of the cessation of stress: the remainderless fading & cessation, renunciation, relinquishment, release, & letting go of that very craving."

http://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitaka ... .than.html

This is literally Buddha 101 - it's his first sermon after awakening.


Nirvana is 'releasing breath', it is in the moments when the pieces fall into place with no friction and the result is even more than you could have anticipated, a new tier in understanding....it's not a once in a lifetime rarity, not if you are making any process.

User avatar
kirk5a
Posts: 1826
Joined: Thu Sep 23, 2010 1:51 pm
Which number is larger than 1000 and less than 1002: 1006

Re: Must one "believe" in the Four Noble Truths?

Postby kirk5a » Sun Dec 05, 2010 2:25 pm

Skaffen wrote:Nirvana is 'releasing breath', it is in the moments when the pieces fall into place with no friction and the result is even more than you could have anticipated, a new tier in understanding....it's not a once in a lifetime rarity, not if you are making any process.

If in such moments as you are describing, there is the complete cessation of craving/clinging-mind, then it's Nirvana. Otherwise it's just something you'd like to "believe" is Nirvana.
Last edited by kirk5a on Sun Dec 05, 2010 2:31 pm, edited 1 time in total.
"When one thing is practiced & pursued, ignorance is abandoned, clear knowing arises, the conceit 'I am' is abandoned, latent tendencies are uprooted, fetters are abandoned. Which one thing? Mindfulness immersed in the body." -AN 1.230

Hoo
Posts: 189
Joined: Wed Apr 29, 2009 2:24 am
Which number is larger than 1000 and less than 1002: 6
Location: Missouri, USA

Re: Must one "believe" in the Four Noble Truths?

Postby Hoo » Sun Dec 05, 2010 2:29 pm

Belief is, however, where one has to start


In my experience, Tilt, that isn't true. I began in disbelief, distrust, suffering, etc. If it weren't for the Buddha's advice to the Kalamas, I wouldn't have undertaken to "test the system" to see if it worked. I'd already had decades of what I'll kindly call religious nonsense, all of which failed, so I was primed for Buddhism to be just another failure of promises. I had begun to believe the pop comment that, "life sucks and then you die." - that suffering would always win out in the end, no escape from it.

What drove me to try Buddhism was wanting relief from the suffering. What drove me to work at it was the advice to the Kalamas (badly summarized here) to not take the teachings on blind faith or the words of others, but to try it - come and see. http://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitaka/an/an03/an03.065.than.html for the Sutta in English.

So I started trying to live the Four Noble Truths and the Eightfold Path. In time I discovered that the Buddha was right, the Dhamma is true - it works. Suffering was defeated when I worked the program. Not only that but suffering was not all-powerful and destined to win - that was a very freeing experience. I began to understand some words I had read in Dhamma, like unbound, and liberation., and I could see how that could really be possible!

Two years later (almost) and I am still practicing. I've added things to my practice, like taking refuge daily and Metta meditation to "incline my mind," mindfulness and the Brahma Viharas, and emptiness practice. I have begun to call myself a Buddhist even though I don't accept everything that's out there. But I practice the Buddha's teachings - so what else would I write in the blank on the form I'm filling out? ;)

Belief eventually became part of the picture, but it was far down the road from the starting point.

Hoo

Skaffen
Posts: 35
Joined: Sun Dec 05, 2010 7:58 am
Which number is larger than 1000 and less than 1002: 1006

Re: Must one "believe" in the Four Noble Truths?

Postby Skaffen » Sun Dec 05, 2010 5:00 pm

kirk5a wrote:
Skaffen wrote:Nirvana is 'releasing breath', it is in the moments when the pieces fall into place with no friction and the result is even more than you could have anticipated, a new tier in understanding....it's not a once in a lifetime rarity, not if you are making any progress.

If in such moments as you are describing, there is the complete cessation of craving/clinging-mind, then it's Nirvana. Otherwise it's just something you'd like to "believe" is Nirvana.


'complete cessation' is not possible, you will always be stuck with your desire to eliminate desire and suffering. The particular terminology you use suggests an attachment to others poor judgement (3rd NT...'eradication of desire', is not possible, suffering can't be Truth if it is possible to contravene, so if you want 3rd you have to sacrifice 1st - probably clear 4 quite easily when you get out the loop.

When that last piece fits into the puzzle there is a short burst of joyous understanding that causes you to breathe out.......Aaaaahhhhaaa, so that's how it works! - That's the sensation of enlightenment, when it creates a new vantage point for you to see more in more detail it is profound.

rowyourboat
Posts: 1949
Joined: Sat Jan 03, 2009 5:29 pm
Which number is larger than 1000 and less than 1002: 1
Location: London, UK

Re: Must one "believe" in the Four Noble Truths?

Postby rowyourboat » Sun Dec 05, 2010 5:04 pm

Hi All

Clearly some degree of 'belief' is required to even think of exploring the dhamma, without rejecting it outright as plain nonsense.

With maturity in the practice as deeper and deeper aspects of the dhamma are seen to be true- this belief/confidence grows so that one becomes inclined to believe even deeper more difficult Truths as proclaimed by the Buddha. So this belief becomes stronger the deeper one traverses along this path.

with metta
With Metta

Karuna
Mudita
& Upekkha

User avatar
kirk5a
Posts: 1826
Joined: Thu Sep 23, 2010 1:51 pm
Which number is larger than 1000 and less than 1002: 1006

Re: Must one "believe" in the Four Noble Truths?

Postby kirk5a » Sun Dec 05, 2010 5:37 pm

Skaffen wrote:
'complete cessation' is not possible, you will always be stuck with your desire to eliminate desire and suffering.

The Buddha said the 3rd NT is "the remainderless fading & cessation, renunciation, relinquishment, release, & letting go of that very craving."

So... are you saying that is not possible?

Thanks for the experience report. Color me skeptical re: "the sensation of enlightenment." Sounds to me like working through some kind of intellectual "puzzle." But that's your business, you could see what an experienced Buddhist meditation teacher has to say about that.
"When one thing is practiced & pursued, ignorance is abandoned, clear knowing arises, the conceit 'I am' is abandoned, latent tendencies are uprooted, fetters are abandoned. Which one thing? Mindfulness immersed in the body." -AN 1.230

User avatar
Goofaholix
Posts: 2039
Joined: Sun Nov 15, 2009 3:49 am
Which number is larger than 1000 and less than 1002: 6
Location: New Zealand

Re: Must one "believe" in the Four Noble Truths?

Postby Goofaholix » Sun Dec 05, 2010 7:04 pm

Guy wrote:In order to examine and test the Teaching, one must first *believe* that it is worth the time and effort it takes to examine and test the Teachings. This is not a case of symantics, as anyone who has honestly tried to practice the Noble Eightfold Path will testify to the amount of time and effort that is required to do so. I think all of us would have to agree that if we are going to invest a significant amount of time and effort into any task we'd like to *believe* that it was a worthwhile investment.


The same could be said of any undertaking that takes time and effort.

I might believe that studying towards a university degree is a worthwhile investment and worth the time and effort, practicing the 4NT is much the same in this regard, however I'm sure nobody would suggest one must believe in a univiersity education in the same way one mught believe in God for example.
"Proper effort is not the effort to make something particular happen. It is the effort to be aware and awake each moment." - Ajahn Chah
"When we see beyond self, we no longer cling to happiness. When we stop clinging, we can begin to be happy." - Ajahn Chah
"Know and watch your heart. It’s pure but emotions come to colour it." — Ajahn Chah

User avatar
tiltbillings
Posts: 20088
Joined: Wed Dec 31, 2008 9:25 am
Which number is larger than 1000 and less than 1002: 1001

Re: Must one "believe" in the Four Noble Truths?

Postby tiltbillings » Sun Dec 05, 2010 8:27 pm

Hoo wrote:What drove me to try Buddhism was wanting relief from the suffering. What drove me to work at it was the advice to the Kalamas (badly summarized here) to not take the teachings on blind faith or the words of others, but to try it - come and see. http://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitaka/an/an03/an03.065.than.html for the Sutta in English.
It is always interesting to hear other's experiences along these lines. Certainly, however, you would not have worked with the Kalama Sutta if you did believe that there might to be something to it, but then, I believe we could be talking about the same thing from differing points of view and I could also be wrong.
This being is bound to samsara, kamma is his means for going beyond.
SN I, 38.

Ar scáth a chéile a mhaireas na daoine.
People live in one another’s shelter.

dheamhan a fhios agam

"We eat cold eels and think distant thoughts." -- Jack Johnson

User avatar
KonstantKarma
Posts: 117
Joined: Sat Jul 31, 2010 1:21 pm
Which number is larger than 1000 and less than 1002: 6
Location: Asheville, NC
Contact:

Re: Must one "believe" in the Four Noble Truths?

Postby KonstantKarma » Sun Dec 05, 2010 9:56 pm

Skaffen wrote:
kirk5a wrote:
Skaffen wrote:Nirvana is 'releasing breath', it is in the moments when the pieces fall into place with no friction and the result is even more than you could have anticipated, a new tier in understanding....it's not a once in a lifetime rarity, not if you are making any progress.

If in such moments as you are describing, there is the complete cessation of craving/clinging-mind, then it's Nirvana. Otherwise it's just something you'd like to "believe" is Nirvana.


'complete cessation' is not possible, you will always be stuck with your desire to eliminate desire and suffering.


Welp, I better throw in the towel and quit wasting my time on this Buddhism crap!

User avatar
tiltbillings
Posts: 20088
Joined: Wed Dec 31, 2008 9:25 am
Which number is larger than 1000 and less than 1002: 1001

Re: Must one "believe" in the Four Noble Truths?

Postby tiltbillings » Sun Dec 05, 2010 10:08 pm

KonstantKarma wrote:
Skaffen wrote:'complete cessation' is not possible, you will always be stuck with your desire to eliminate desire and suffering.


Welp, I better throw in the towel and quit wasting my time on this Buddhism crap!
I don't think Skaffen knows much about the Buddha's teachings.
This being is bound to samsara, kamma is his means for going beyond.
SN I, 38.

Ar scáth a chéile a mhaireas na daoine.
People live in one another’s shelter.

dheamhan a fhios agam

"We eat cold eels and think distant thoughts." -- Jack Johnson

User avatar
Cloud
Posts: 63
Joined: Tue Nov 16, 2010 7:11 pm
Which number is larger than 1000 and less than 1002: 1006
Contact:

Re: Must one "believe" in the Four Noble Truths?

Postby Cloud » Sun Dec 05, 2010 10:19 pm

We do have to have an initial belief in the Four Noble Truths if we are to find Buddhism a worthy practice for liberation. This initial belief or confidence in the teachings comes to us in many ways, not the least of which is the reasonable prognosis that it is our craving/thirst or rather expectations of life that cause us suffering.

Gradually though we come to experience these truths for ourselves, through direct experience. I posted an example on another forum recently, which I will sum-up here:

If you stop yourself from fulfilling a desire, such as wanting to check your e-mail, but keep your mind on that desire... you will notice the pain that it causes (that you seem to be causing yourself by holding back). Staying with that pain, it will grow. One can meditate on the pain to see it with even greater focus. What this demonstrates is the relationship between Tanha and Dukkha, shedding experiential light on the 1st & 2nd Noble Truths. The Buddha said that it was exactly through not penetrating fully the Four Noble Truths that we remain bound; we must directly experience, for ourselves, these truths. Don't just read this and say "wow yeah, that makes sense"... it will have served no purpose whatsoever. Apply it. Try it out, make it part of your practice to notice the arising of dukkha and its conditions.

Namaste

User avatar
KonstantKarma
Posts: 117
Joined: Sat Jul 31, 2010 1:21 pm
Which number is larger than 1000 and less than 1002: 6
Location: Asheville, NC
Contact:

Re: Must one "believe" in the Four Noble Truths?

Postby KonstantKarma » Sun Dec 05, 2010 10:22 pm

tiltbillings wrote:
KonstantKarma wrote:
Skaffen wrote:'complete cessation' is not possible, you will always be stuck with your desire to eliminate desire and suffering.


Welp, I better throw in the towel and quit wasting my time on this Buddhism crap!
I don't think Skaffen knows much about the Buddha's teachings.


Tilt, sure hope not... I'd hate to think the Buddhas are a buncha liars and everything.


Return to “Open Dhamma”

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 6 guests