What does religious truth mean

Lexicon of Religions:

The core of Buddhist teaching

In his first discourse in the gazelle grove of Benares (Sarnath), Buddha laid out the basis of Buddhist teaching with the Four Noble Truths. This discourse is also known as "The first turning of the wheel".

  1. Life is painful or unsatisfactory.
  2. There are causes that lead to suffering.
  3. There is an end to suffering.
  4. There is a way that leads to the end of suffering.

Book reference

Dalai Lama: The Four Noble Truths. The basics of Buddhist practice. Fischer TB, 154 pages, 8.20 euros.

The first truth: suffering

Life is duhkha (painful, unsatisfactory) because it is shaped by unpleasant events. Birth, old age, and death are events that are associated with worry, fear, and grief. Facing unwanted situations is suffering. To be separated from love is suffering. Not getting what you want is suffering. Because people cling to the five skandhas, the groups of existence that make up a person according to Buddhist teaching, they suffer - more about dukha in The Three Characteristics of Existence.

The second truth: cause of suffering

The Buddha sees the cause of suffering in ignorance, desire and aversion and what he calls trshna (thirst). It is the repeated deep desire for lust, the desire to become, and the desire to not become. Desire or greed is the driving principle from which the suffering and rebirth of beings arise. This includes the pursuit of wealth and power as well as clinging to ideas, opinions, concepts, doctrines and beliefs. In the doctrine of arising in dependence (Pratityasammutpada) the origins of suffering are presented in detail.

The third truth: the end of suffering

When the causes of suffering cease to work, suffering ends too. The thirst, the desire, has to be let go. Ultimate liberation is called nirvana in Buddhism.

The fourth truth: the way

There is a way that leads to the end of suffering. This path is called the Noble Eightfold Path. The eight links are:

  1. Right insight: Insight into the four noble truths, the dependent arising and passing away, the three characteristics of existence and the mode of action of karma
  2. Right disposition: The decision to renounce, to be benevolent towards all living beings, to let go of hatred, greed and ignorance
  3. Right speech: No lying, insulting, no chatter, speaking at the right time, polite, appropriate, friendly
  4. Right action: Living according to the five precepts (pancasila) of Buddhism - more on this in Buddhist Faith Practice.
  5. Right livelihood: Work that does not harm any sentient being, i.e. no trade in weapons, living beings, intoxicants, poisons, meat
  6. Right endeavor: Recognize unwholesome impulses such as greed, anger, envy as unwholesome and curb them, at the same time cultivate and promote beneficial impulses such as generosity and understanding
  7. Right mindfulness: Undivided attention in all activities and internal and external processes of life
  8. Right concentration: Practice of meditation - more on this in the entry Meditation and Mindfulness

Three areas of the eightfold path

  • Wisdom (prajna)
  • Ethics (sila)
  • Collection (samadhi)

Interaction of all eight members

The links of the eightfold path can be divided into three areas. All eight links stand side by side and interact with each other. Cultivating a single link also promotes insight into other links on the path. In the forty years of teaching that followed The Spin of the Wheel, the Buddha continued to interpret the Four Noble Truths. Its detailed explanations are collected in the many extant discourses.

Review article on Buddhism

See also in the ORF religion lexicon: