The Four Noble Truths and the Eightfold Path are the basic revelations of the Buddha about life, the universe, and everything. The Truths are four observations about life and suffering that explicitly prompt the Eightfold Path, which lists moral and behavioral ideals to end the root causes of suffering. Together, these form the most basic core of Buddhism, summarized as the "Middle Way" between decadence and aesceticism (self-deprivation and/or abuse).
Four Noble Truths
The Four Noble Truths are one of the very first teachings that the Buddha gave. These teachings contain the essence of the Buddhist path, no matter what tradition other Buddhists follow.
Life is Suffering
The Buddha taught that whatever life we lead, it has some sort of suffering. Even if people consider themselves happy for a while, it is only momentary. This means that we can only have temporary happiness in life. To live, is to suffer, because the world we humans live in is not perfect.
- Suffering of Suffering: this is the most obvious form of suffering like pain, fear, and mental distress.
- Suffering of change: it refers to the problems that change brings, like joy disappears, nothing is forever.
- All-pervasive of suffering: this is the most difficult to understand aspect, it refers to the fact that we always have the potential to suffer or can get into problematic situations. Even death is not a solution in Buddhist philosophy, as we will simply find ourselves being reborn in a different body, which will also experience problems.
Suffering is caused by desire
The reason that we experience suffering comes ultimately from our mind. According to Buddhism, our main mental problems are: attachment, anger and ignorance. Because of these delusions, we engage in actions that cause problems to ourselves and others. With every negative action (karma) we do, we create a potential for negative experiences.
To end Suffering, end desire
This is the most positive message of Buddhism: although suffering is always present in cyclic existence, we can end this cycle of problems and pain, and enter Nirvana, which is a state beyond all suffering. The reasoning behind this Third Noble Truth is the fact that suffering and the causes of suffering are dependent on the state of our own mind, so if we can change our own mind, we can also eliminate suffering. The reasons we do actions that cause ourselves and others harm come from our delusions. When we possess the proper wisdom (conventional and ultimate), we can rid ourselves of delusions, and thus of all our problems and suffering. When this process is complete, we can leave cyclic existence and enjoy the state of Nirvana, free of problems.
To end desire, follow the Eight fold Path
If we can control our body and mind in a good way instead of a bad way, and generate wisdom in our own mind, we can end our suffering and problems. The Buddha taught the way to do that in the Eight Fold Path.
Eight fold Path
The Eightfold Path is similar in structure to the Ten Commandments, but way more universally applicable because they do not necessarily claim origins in a higher power, nor do they require a higher power to enforce morality. The Noble Truths explain it very clearly: follow this moral path if you want to end suffering, in yourself and others. Also, this stuff was figured out 400 years before Jesus, who in some ways preached similar stuff. Unlike with Jesus, however, people who claim to follow Buddhism actually try to follow Buddha's teachings, like, by meditating on their own thoughts and seriously avoiding unnecessary killing.
Summary of the noble truths and the Eight Fold Path
The Four Noble Truths are commonly summarized as follows:
- Life is suffering.
- Suffering is caused by desire.
- To end suffering, end desire.
- To end desire, follow the Eightfold Path.
The Eightfold Path, then, is given:
- Right view
- Right intention
- Right speech
- Right action
- Right livelihood
- Right effort
- Right mindfulness
- Right concentration
All of these tenets require extensive clarification and study to follow properly, as even in 400 BCE they knew that no self-help program could work via a quick fix.
There is far too much suffering involved with Scientology and it does not appear compatible with Budhhism.