[3.52] The Third Noble Truth – The Truth Of Cessation

Posted on July 3, 2011

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I’m back! I hope everyone has been fantastic, in full health and happiness, and that you’ve all been enjoying the summer. Thanks to everyone who has sent me messages/emails – I will get back to you all soon!

I did promise two pictures the week I got back but unfortunately, it’s been impossible, so I’ll make up for it soon(ish!).

The first two weeks looked at the how we suffer, and why we suffer. But the Buddha didn’t leave it there. Can you imagine if he had?! When we go to a doctor and he says ‘you have lung cancer’, and then ‘it was caused by you smoking a packet of cigarettes everyday’ – you wouldn’t just thank him and leave (well, I hope). You’d want to know, is there a cure? What can be done about it? How can you help the situation?

When you’ve got a problem, if you know the cause, then that’s the first step to solving it, right? I mean, you could be having bad headaches and you could take painkillers, but if you found out that the underlying cause was a bad sleeping position – it’d be better to get a better bed or change pillows to end them completely, no? In the same way, the Buddha taught that just as a beautiful garden (our minds) might have many weeds (negative emotions), we can rid ourselves of them completely, and be free of suffering using methods he taught (everlasting weedkiller!). But we have to do it ourselves, it’s our garden after all.

Right now, we always rely on samsara – on food, clothes, relationships, gadgets, wealth, fun – which we take to be happiness but which in reality are only suffering. Once we stop this – then we will have realized cessation, we will know freedom, we will attain nirvana.

Of course, it’s not easy. Desire always acts like our best friend, and rarely do we suspect that our own desires might be the cause of so much suffering. We’re told from a young age that we need to look after our own desires, to nourish them, in order to make ourselves feel good. So you have to check for yourself. Does it feel like happiness when you’re attached to desire? You might think yes, so you can go ahead and attach yourself to all your desires, and see the result.

Why is it that the Buddha says we can be free from suffering? Look at our mind – the bad bits; our anger, our hatred, our aggression. Are they an inherent part of our mind? Impossible! If they were, then we’d always be angry, always be jealous, always be hating everyone! But these thoughts come and go. Some days you’re angry ten times, some days maybe just once. With this logic, the Buddha taught that we can be totally free of anger (and other negative emotions), every day – by using antidotes, like developing love to conquer anger, rejoicing in others’ happiness to conquer jealousy, and so on.

I’m gonna stop there before I leak over too much into next week’s shot, because then I’ll have nothing to write about!

The photograph in this shot was taken on a boat ride near Miyajima  (you can see a picture I took of the picturesque Miyajima torii taken at dusk here) but as you may be able to tell, it’s been super-processed(!) and texturized. The line drawing of the Buddha is also by me. Check out this very blog over the next few days to see the original photograph and line drawing too.

Someone has already asked me to send them a large copy of this picture for them to use as a desktop background. If there is anyone else who wants this, let me know and I’ll send you a copy.

Be happy!

Matt

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