About Four Noble Truths

Now, desiring liberation from the first two categories of suffering is not the principal motivation for seeking liberation (from cyclic existence); the Bhagawan Buddha taught that the root of the three sufferings is the third: all-pervasive suffering. Some people commit suicide; they seem to think that there is suffering simply because there is the human life, and that by cutting off the life there will be nothing. This third, all-pervasive suffering is under the control of karma and the disturbing mind. We can see this without having to think very deeply that this is under the control of the karma and disturbing mind of previous lives: anger and attachment arise just because we have these present aggregates. The aggregate of compounding phenomena is like a helper for us to generate karma and these disturbing minds; this is called ne.ngen.len (literally: taking a bad place). Because that which forms is related to taking the bad place of disturbing minds and is under their control, it supports our generating disturbing minds and keeps us from virtue. All our suffering can be traced back to these aggregates of attachment and clinging.
Perhaps, when you realize that your aggregates are the cause of all your sufferings you might think that suicide is the way out. Well, if there were no continuity of mind, no future life, all right--if you had the courage you could finish yourself off. But, according to the Buddhist viewpoint, that's not the case; your consciousness will continue. Even if you take your own life, this life, you will have to take another body that again will be the basis of suffering. If you really want to get rid of all your suffering, all the difficulties you experience in your life, you have to get rid of the fundamental cause that gives rise to the aggregates that are the basis of all suffering. Killing yourself isn't going to solve your problems.

Because this is the case, we must now investigate the cause of suffering: is there a cause or not? If there is, what kind of cause it is: a natural cause, which cannot be eliminated, or a cause that depends on its own cause and therefore can be. If it is a cause that can be overcome, is it possible for us to overcome it? Thus we come to the second noble truth: the truth of the cause of suffering.

2. The Truth of the Cause of Suffering

Strictly speaking, Buddhists maintain that then: is no external creator. According to Buddhists, a Buddha is the highest being, but even a Buddha does not have the power to create new life. So now, what is the cause of suffering?

Generally, the ultimate cause is the mind; the mind that is influenced by bad thoughts such as anger, attachment, jealousy and so forth is the main cause of birth and all such other problems. However, there is no possibility to cut the mind, the stream of consciousness itself. Furthermore, there is nothing intrinsically wrong with the deepest level of mind; it is simply influenced by the bad thoughts. Thus the question is whether or not we can fight and control anger, attachment and the other disturbing negative minds. If we can eradicate these, we shall be left with a pure mind that is free from the causes of suffering.

This brings us to the disturbing negative minds, the delusions, which are mental factors. There are many different ways of presenting the discussion of the mind, but, in general, the mind itself is something that is merely clarity and awareness. When we speak of disturbing attitudes such as anger and attachment we have to see how they are able to affect and pollute the mind; what, in fact, is their nature. This, then, is the discussion of the cause of suffering.

If we ask, "How do attachment and anger arise? The answer will be that they are undoubtedly assisted by our grasping at things to be true and inherently real. When, for instance, we are angry with something, we feel that the object is out there, solid, true and unimputed, and that we ourselves are likewise something solid and findable. Before we get angry, the object appears ordinary, but when our mind is influenced by anger, the object looks ugly, completely repulsive, nauseating; something we want to get rid of immediately--it appears really to exist in that way: solid, independent and very unattractive. This appearance of truly ugly fuels our anger. Yet when we see the same object the next day, when our anger has subsided, it seems more beautiful than it did the day before; it's the same object but it doesn't seem as bad. This shows how anger and attachment are influenced by our grasping at things as being true and unimputed.

Thus, the texts on the Middle Way (Madhyamaka) philosophy state that the root of all the disturbing negative minds is the grasping at true existence; that this assists them and brings them about; that the closed-minded ignorance that grasps at things as being inherently, truly real is the basic source of all our suffering. Based on this grasping at true existence we develop all kinds of disturbing negative minds and create a great deal of negative karma.