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On clinging to a particular translation of the "four noble truths"
May 18th, 2013 (May 20th, 2013)

illustration (attribution, if any possible, is at the end of the article)

On clinging to a particular translation of the "four noble truths"

Clinging is the root of suffering…

Some people find difficult to accept "life is suffering" (or "life is dissatisfactory") as the first noble truth…
They say that there exist "good moments", "good times" and they're right… except for the belief that the first noble truth would deny the existence of such 'moments'! The first noble truth only rejects the permanency of such Saṃsāric happiness (but it accepts that Saṃsāric satisfaction might last as long as 80,000 kalpas, if you reached the higher abode —whether you see abodes as separate realms of existence or as mental states)!

The four noble truths are obviously a central concept of Buddhism, but we should enquire into them just as much as into everything else. I already wrote a post about the fact that they might not even be 'truths' but 'tasks', and might not 'noble' but 'ennobling'… (

Even without a deep enquiry, another translation might be useful to keep in mind:
Life does not move according to one's wishes.
• The root cause is the insatiable and unrealistic desires
   attached to a sense of self.
• There is however a healthy state of human life
   where we develop our full potential.
• The eightfold path is a method to achieve this state of health.

There is no need to cling to a particular translation of the four noble truths. In a classic "the Letter of the Law vs. the Spirit of the Law" fashion, what do you think is key in relation to the buddhadharma? Please don't answer the Letter if you don't read Pāḷi… or even if you do, since the Buddha did not speak in Pāḷi but in local (closely-related) dialects!

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(image: © Emila Sirakova,