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The Four Truths of the Noble Ones


The Four Truths from the Noble Ones describe the unsatisfactory situation (our overweight, addictions, low self-esteem, or depression) that we are presently caught in, as well as our potential for liberation and happiness.


The first two Truths outline our present situation and its causes; the last two present our potential for change and describe the practice to achieve it—that is, to bring about changes in our lives.

  1. It is true that we experience unsatisfactory conditions, suffering, difficulties, compulsions and problems. Acknowledge what hurts, what isn’t working in our lives.

What difficulties, both physical and mental, do you have in your life? See them as part of the human experience, as arising simply because you have the body and mind that you do.


  1. These unsatisfactory experiences have causes: lack of understanding of cause and effect, attachment, anger, and other disturbing attitudes, as well as the actions we do under their influence. These causes of our unsatisfactory situation are to be understood and then abandoned—to be transformed into peace, contentment, and joy.

Conclusion: See how your negative emotions and behavioral patterns cause you suffering. Reflect that they distort your perception of an experience and cause you to act in ways that bring suffering to yourself and to others.


  1. It is true that the possibility exists to completely cease these unsatisfactory patterns and their causes. Examples: low self-esteem, compulsive eating, alcohol and drug use. These changes are to be realized. How do you do it? Reflect on that it is possible to be free from disturbing patterns. What would it feel like not to be under the influence of disturbing attitudes, negative emotions, and the actions motivated by them?


  1. It is true that there is a path (a process) to bring about this transformation and personal freedom. The path (ethics, mindfulness, concentration, kindness towards others, and wisdom) is to be practiced. First, be aware of your habitual patterns. Notice your unproductive responses. While in a calm state, rehearse a new, more effective response. When a situation arises again—try the new response out. Practice. Be gentle and kind with yourself. Over time, new patterns and responses are created which then replace the old patterns. This happens one step at a time, one day at a time. Gradually, your whole experience transforms.

Practice doesn’t make perfect, it makes change and happiness easier and more natural. Practice also makes new patterns permanent.

The 12-step programs say, “Even people with grave emotional and mental disorders do recover if they have the capacity to be honest.” I have felt like a “grave emotional and mental disorder” walking around—and just kept practicing new patterns, new choices for myself and, little by little, my inner and outer patterns were transformed. I have seen this process work for thousands of people. It can work for you too!

Consider as well, The Five Daily Remembrances.

             Copyright © 2001-2018 Bob Wilson BS, DTR  All Right Reserved. Articles are for personal use only. Please request permission for other uses. Thanks!