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Lions Roar : March 2018
accordingly suffering is inherent in samsaric existence. It is easy to understand the coarse level of impermanence— that, for instance, the house you have built will eventually start to decay and at some point will exist no more. However, there is a very subtle level of impermanence as well. When we look closely at our experience, we see that each moment arises, abides, and ceases. In order for the next moment to arise, the present moment must cease. When we perceive the momentary nature of all our experi- ence, we see that we are rendered helpless in matters of choice. Do we have a choice to remain in this moment for another moment? No. We have no choice but to let go. We cannot hang on to any living experience for more than a brief moment, whether that experience is a blissful or agonizing one. 2. The Truth of the Origin of Suffering Once we have realized the truth of suffering, then the question is, “What are the causes of this suffering?” In the second noble truth, Buddha taught that our suffering originates in our false belief in a truly existent, permanent self. This fixation is the basis for the arising of certain mental afflictions, or destructive emotions, called the “three root poisons”: passion, aggression, and ignorance. From these three poisons, we experience the development of further negative emotions and all aspects of suffering. Since these poisons result from ego-clinging, the root of all our suffering is our ego-clinging. 3. The Truth of the Cessation of Suffering The third noble truth is the cessation of suffering. Although the Buddha taught that suffering pervades our entire experience of samsara, he also taught that this suffering is temporary and that we can go beyond it. When we have discovered the origin of suffering and have relinquished its causes, then our samsaric ego-clinging and disturbing emotions cease. “Cessation” in this context refers to the state of nirvana, in which all delusion and mental afflictions have been overcome and the mind is unconditionally liberated. It also refers to the state of meditative absorption accomplished by the arhats, those beings who attained the highest level of realization in the path of individual liberation. 4. The Truth of the Path The fourth noble truth is the path that leads to the cessation of suffering. When Buddha demonstrated the cause and effect relationships that pertain to the four noble truths, he showed us that neither our suffering nor our liberation is a random occurrence. There is a cause for our suffering and, equally, a cause for the end of that suffering—for liberation. Therefore, we can direct the course of our actions toward the result we wish to obtain. When we enter the path that leads directly to the cessation of suffering, we are following the methods for realizing inner peace and wisdom recom- mended by Buddha. PHOTOBYM.RASOULOV