The Four Noble Truths are the first Buddha’s teaching to the five Brothers Kondanna, who were the first five disciples of the Buddha. This Sutta has been considered as the guideline of Buddhism, the pillars of Buddhism.
The Five Brothers used to practice austere life with the Buddha, but later, they left Him just because of disagreement with His practice. As soon as the Buddha got enlightenment, He came to see the Five Brothers. He gave them a lecture of the middle ưay (Madhyamāpratipad) in order to get their anger out. The Buddha gently explained to them His practice, and why He couldn’t accept the austere practice and then He brought the best practice of middle way to light.
Pleasure or austereness is a wrong way of practice. Only a proper practice could help monks get healthy and progressing.
Thanks to the Buddha’s lecture, the Five Brothers calmed down and listened to the next one that has been extremely important for human beings forever.
This is the Four Noble Truths – Dhammacakkappavattana
Today, we repeat His teachings, and of course, we can never explain throughtfully and clearly His meaning, because this is the most essence of Buddhism. We must carefully learn this Sutta little by little so that we won’t practice His teachings wrongly.
The Four Noble Truths contain the four phrases:
The Suffering, the arising of suffering, the cessation of suffering, and the liberation from suffering.
The Buddha explained this Sutta very briefly; however, if His disciples are able to significantly significantly develop its meaning, then the meaning of the four phrases would become infinite. This is so amazing that we would never know the truth of life and universe are contained in the Four Noble Truths.
For this reason, if we have ability to develop new theories later on, any of those should never be separated from this Sutta. There is no better way to practice than the Four Noble Truths that bring people happiness and common sense, because this is the most important core of Buddhism. We are only afraid that there is someone who cannot fully understand His sayings and then expands this Sutta in a wrong way.
The Sutta is able to contain the boundless meaning, even though this has only four phrases:
– The Suffering (Dukkham). This is the suffering of human beings
– The arising of suffering (Ayam Dukkham-Samudayo). This is a cause of suffering.
– The cessation of suffering (Ayam Dukkham-Nirodha). This is a state of ending suffering.
– The liberation from suffering (Ayam Dukkham-Nirodha- Gamini). This is a path guiding to the state of ending suffering.
Above is the definition of the Four Noble Truths.
It was not unreasonable that the Buddha lectured this concept to the Five Brother. He knew very well their abilities. They came from the royal family, were well educated and much talented. Clearly, if they were not on the top of wisdom, they could not fully understand the Four Noble Truths.
When Prince Siddhartha Gautama left the Royal Palace to become a monk, He wandered here and there. His father, king Suddhodana, sent his men to every place where the Prince stayed in order to protect Him secretly, and report His life to the King.
It seemed there was a secret power connected with their life, or the Prince’s conditioned causality came, or maybe the King did know that the Prince’s leaving home would not be avoidable as a fortune teller had predicted when the Prince was born, and he had to accept the truth that this was his son’s choice, even though the King was so miserable.
Every place He stayed and every act He did were reported to the Royal Palace.
Princess Yasodhara, the Prince’s wife, was so especially great. She gave up the life of luxury in the Royal Palace, and lived an ascetic life as She knew very well about her husband’s austerity. She wanted to live exactly the way He was living.
The Prince’s ascetic life being was reported to the Royal Palace, and the King was worried that his son’s life was hard, then he sent his men to serve the Prince. The Five Brothers were the very persons who were sent by the King to protect and serve the Prince Siddhartha Gautama.
After living a while with the Prince, the Five Brothers practiced a life of the ideal, too. They eventually became His religious colleagues, not only His bodyguards. Later, they left Him because of disagreement in the way of the practice.
This was the Four Noble Truths that helped the Five Brothers to get the enlightenment, becoming the first five Arhats, the first five disciples of the Buddha.
Now, we are reminded of the Buddha’s first saying, the noblest Sutta of the human beings, and the eternal statement of Buddhism.
For this reason, we should concentrate our minds to think carefully about this Sutta so that we can be illuminated with the supreme truth.
May this labor bless to all Dharmadhtu, Buddhists and human beings Being enlightened
Namo Master Shakyamuni Buddha