Four Noble Truths Talks

In Buddhism, the Four Noble Truths (Sanskrit: चतुरार्यसत्यानि, romanized: caturāryasatyāni; Pali: caturāriyasaccāni; "The Four Arya Satya") are "the truths of the Noble Ones", the truths or realities for the "spiritually worthy ones". The truths are:

dukkha ("not being at ease", "suffering", from dush-stha, "standing unstable,") is an innate characteristic of the perpetual cycle (samsara, lit. 'wandering') of grasping at things, ideas and habits; samudaya (origin, arising, combination; "cause"): there is dukkha (unease, disbalance) when there is, or it arises simultaneously with, taṇhā ("craving," "desire" or "attachment," lit. 'thirst'). nirodha (cessation, ending, confinement): dukkha can be ended or contained by the confinement or letting go of this taṇhā; marga (path, Noble Eightfold Path) is the path leading to the confinement of tanha and dukkha.

The four truths appear in many grammatical forms in the ancient Buddhist texts, and are traditionally identified as the first teaching given by the Buddha. While often called one of the most important teachings in Buddhism, they have both a symbolic and a propositional function. Symbolically, they represent the awakening and liberation of the Buddha, and of the potential for his followers to reach the same liberation and freedom as him. As propositions, the Four Truths are a conceptual framework that appear in the Pali canon and early Hybrid Sanskrit Buddhist scriptures, as a part of the broader "network of teachings" (the "dhamma matrix"), which have to be taken together. They provide a conceptual framework for introducing and explaining Buddhist thought, which has to be personally understood or "experienced".

As a proposition, the four truths defy an exact definition, but refer to and express the basic orientation of Buddhism: unguarded sensory contact gives rise to craving and clinging to impermanent states and things, which are dukkha, "unsatisfactory," "incapable of satisfying" and painful. This craving keeps us caught in saṃsāra, "wandering", usually interpreted as the endless cycle of repeated rebirth, and the continued dukkha that comes with it, but also referring to the endless cycle of attraction and rejection that perpetuates the ego-mind. There is a way to end this cycle, namely by attaining nirvana, cessation of craving, whereafter rebirth and the accompanying dukkha will no longer arise again. This can be accomplished by following the eightfold path, confining our automatic responses to sensory contact by restraining oneself, cultivating discipline and wholesome states, and practicing mindfulness and dhyana (meditation).

The function of the four truths, and their importance, developed over time and the Buddhist tradition slowly recognized them as the Buddha's first teaching. This tradition was established when prajna, or "liberating insight", came to be regarded as liberating in itself, instead of or in addition to the practice of dhyana. This "liberating insight" gained a prominent place in the sutras, and the four truths came to represent this liberating insight, as a part of the enlightenment story of the Buddha.

The four truths grew to be of central importance in the Theravada tradition of Buddhism by about the 5th-century CE, which holds that the insight into the four truths is liberating in itself. They are less prominent in the Mahayana tradition, which sees the higher aims of insight into sunyata, emptiness, and following the Bodhisattva path as central elements in their teachings and practice. The Mahayana tradition reinterpreted the four truths to explain how a liberated being can still be "pervasively operative in this world". Beginning with the exploration of Buddhism by western colonialists in the 19th century and the development of Buddhist modernism, they came to be often presented in the west as the central teaching of Buddhism, sometimes with novel modernistic reinterpretations very different from the historic Buddhist traditions in Asia.

From Four Noble Truths on Wikipedia

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Title Speaker

The Three Marks Of Existence

Nirvana, Four Noble Truths, Monkey Mind, Daily Life, Beginners
May 29 2021

The Noble Eightfold Path

Right Speech, Mindfulness, Karma, Concentration, Four Noble Truths
May 28 2021

The Four Noble Truths

Big Mind, Four Noble Truths, Religion, Precepts, Patience
May 22 2021

Ramaytush Skillful Effort

Four Noble Truths, Ordinary Mind, Bodhisattva Vow, Platform Sutra, Daily Life...
Apr 03 2021

Dogen's Vow

Vows, Buddha Mind, Passions, Mindfulness, Four Noble Truths, true dharma, Book of...
Nov 21 2020


Mindfulness, Four Noble Truths, Four Foundations, Lay, Bodhisattva Vow, Greed,...
Oct 03 2020

Thinking and Non-Thinking

Right Speech, training, Four Noble Truths, Interview, Instruction, American,...
Aug 22 2020

Three Marks Of Existence

Nirvana, Four Noble Truths, Birth-and-Death, Samsara, Constancy, Offering,...
Aug 08 2020

Public Dokusan 5

Don't Know Mind, Four Noble Truths, Anger, Duality, Interview, Building, Non-...
Jul 31 2020

Closely Watched Mind 2

Emotions, Anger, Four Noble Truths, Cultivation, Subject-and-Object, Discrimination,...
Jul 07 2020

Closely Watched Mind 2

Emotions, Anger, Four Noble Truths, Cultivation, Subject-and-Object, Discrimination,...
Jul 06 2020

Together Action

Intimacy, Four Noble Truths, Aspects of Practice, Culture, Hindrances, Observe, Bell...
Oct 05 2019

Zenki and Shoji Class 4

Serial: BZ-02682

PP Class 4


Four Noble Truths, Six Realms, Birth-and-Death, Impermanence, Lay, Vinaya, Platform...
Jun 06 2019

Choosing Fredom

Mindfulness, Four Noble Truths, Intimacy, Obstacles, Instruction, Dependent...
May 04 2019

Ryaku Fusatsu

Karma, Precepts, Four Noble Truths, Vows, Repentance, Duality, Addiction, Renewal,...
Sep 22 2018

Enlightenment Zazen Comfort True Comfort

Thoroughness, Four Noble Truths, Practice Period, Attachment, Composure, Buddha...
May 05 2018

Patachara Story

Serial: BZ-02602

Women's Sesshin


Four Noble Truths, Peace, Lay, Discrimination, Politics, Obstacles, Ordination,...
Mar 04 2018

Right Speech

Right Speech, Vows, Precepts, Karma, Four Noble Truths, Mindfulness, Bodhisattva Vow...
Feb 10 2018

Heart Sutra

Serial: BZ-02555

Sesshin Day 4


Discrimination, Four Noble Truths, Buddha Nature, Teacher-and-Student, Heart Sutra,...
Jun 10 2017

Skillful Means and Anger

Anger, Greed, Four Noble Truths, Observe, Religion, Peace, Attachment, Diversity,...
Mar 05 2017


Serial: BZ-02519

Rohatsu Day 6


Intuition, Discrimination, Building, Emotions, Four Noble Truths, Composure, Buddha...
Dec 09 2016

Talk Rohatsu Day 3

training, Composure, Four Noble Truths, Duality, Emotions, Vows, Priest, Ego,...
Dec 06 2016

Five Hindrances and Seven Factors of Enlightenment

Serial: BZ-02499

Class 4


Mindfulness, Equanimity, Cultivation, Concentration, Hindrances, Perfect Wisdom, Four...
Sep 22 2016

Five Hindrances and Seven Factors of Enlightenment

Serial: BZ-02497

Class 3

Mindfulness, Hindrances, Equanimity, Samsara, Concentration, Bodhisattva Precepts,...
Sep 15 2016

Karma Bodhisattva Ceremony

Karma, Repentance, Vows, Evil, Bodhisattva Vow, Manjushri, Four Noble Truths, true...
Aug 20 2016

More About Difficulty

Practice Period, Absolute-and-Relative, Aspects of Practice, Four Noble Truths,...
May 28 2016

The Way of Tenderness

Oneness, Diversity, Duality, Four Noble Truths, Non-duality, Anger, Dharma...
Apr 23 2016

Practice of Dialogue

Four Noble Truths, Ordinary Mind, Chanting, Teacher-and-Student, Global Warming,...
Jul 18 2015

Radical Acceptance

Four Noble Truths, Conversation, Karma, Mahayana, Lay, Anger, Attachment
Feb 28 2015

The Joy of Defying Gravity

Nirvana, Instruction, Four Noble Truths, Impermanence, Dharma Transmission, training...
Feb 21 2015

We All Cover the Ground Equally

Oneness, Four Noble Truths, Practice Period, Buddha Nature, Heart Sutra, Describe,...
Feb 07 2015

Going for Refuge

Bodhisattva Vow, Vows, Four Noble Truths, training, New Year, Platform Sutra, Nirvana...
Jan 10 2015

Everyone Has a Light

Blue Cliff Record, Duality, Oneness, Practice Period, Berkeley Zen Center, Passions,...
Nov 15 2014

Upaya Chaplaincy Training

Bodhisattva Vow, Silence, Beginners, Four Noble Truths, Vows, Oneness, training, Non-...
Aug 30 2014

Brahmana Viharas

Equanimity, Monkey Mind, Forgiveness, Peace, Four Noble Truths, War, Enemies, Ego,...
Aug 09 2014

Heart Sutra Class

Birth-and-Death, Four Noble Truths, Hindrances, Evil, Composure, Duality, Monastic...
Jun 12 2014

Heart Sutra Class

Birth-and-Death, Doubt, Renunciation, Funeral, Four Noble Truths, Intuition, Passions...
Jun 05 2014

Pilgrimage, Intimacy, Chaplaincy

Four Noble Truths, Intimacy, Precepts, Buddha Nature, Book of Serenity,...
Apr 19 2014

Repentance Ceremony

Evil, Precepts, Humility, Repentance, Bodhisattva Vow, Attachment, Four Noble Truths...
Mar 15 2014

Suffering and Faith

Anger, Death-and-Dying, Four Noble Truths, Practice Position, Duality, Don't...
Feb 15 2014

The Middle Way

Four Noble Truths, Right Speech, Right Effort, Posture, Culture, Liberation, Observe...
Feb 08 2014

Living By Vow

Four Noble Truths, Vows, Karma, Samsara, Soto Zen, soto, Chanting, Nirvana, Daily...
Jan 25 2014

Shelterless Shelter

Triple Treasure, Sangha, Gratitude, Bodhisattva Ceremony, Practice Period, Vows,...
Oct 12 2013


Four Noble Truths, Liberation, Discrimination, training, Heart Sutra, Ego, Beginners...
Jun 29 2013

The Noble Truth of Suffering

Four Noble Truths, Happiness, Daily Life, Patience, Silence, Conversation, Hate...
Apr 13 2013

The State of the World According to Sojun

Serial: BZ-02285

Saturday Lecture

Religion, New Year, Greed, Four Noble Truths, Evil, War, Peace, Enemies, Manjushri,...
Jan 05 2013
Berkeley Zen Center

Sandokai Lecture Three

Serial: BZ-02280

Couplet 34, Rohatsu Day 3

Forgiveness, Big Mind, Four Noble Truths, Oneness, Duality, Karma, Practice Period,...
Dec 04 2012
Berkeley Zen Center

Omnipresence of Dukkha

Four Noble Truths, Happiness, Daily Life, training, Impermanence, Silence, Offering...
Sep 29 2012

Bodhisattva Ceremony

Serial: BZ-02252

3 Pure Precepts, Saturday Lecture

Bodhisattva, Repentance, Vows, Repentance, Evil, Precepts, Karma, Vows, Four Noble...
Jul 07 2012
Berkeley Zen Center

Sangha Practice

Berkeley Zen Center, Four Noble Truths, Sangha, Liberation, Bodhisattva Precepts,...
Mar 31 2012