The Four Noble Truths is one first teaching given by the Buddha after reaching enlightenment (Antidote to suffering, or know as the ultimate form of existence in Buddhism). One of the biggest tasks we face in life is to find our purpose, and more than 2,600 years ago the Buddha pondered and questioned his own life’s purpose. Being human brings along the gift of reason and thought, which both have provided countless benefits and achievements to our society. However, they have also led humanity to suffer by living unhappy, unfulfilling, and purposeless lives.
Let’s look at the Buddha’s teaching through my interpretation of connection as a guide to fulfillment through creating meaningful and authentic connections with others and ourselves.
Before we review the teaching, stop for a second and think…have you ever wanted to belong? Fit in? Be cool? Click with others? If yes, here is my interpretation of the Buddha’s teaching of the Four Noble Truths:
1. Dukkha: Life is suffering. Life brings a sense of disconnection. Have you ever felt like you don’t fit in, unfulfilled, unworthy, disconnected, unsatisfied, and unhappy? That is considered suffering.
2. Samudaya: Suffering comes from clinging and craving. Finding connection in the wrong places can lead us to cling or crave things that we do not need. Clinging to a bad relationship, to a job for a sense of security, to a home because we are afraid of change…these situations bring suffering. Wanting more and more money, better and better cars, bigger and bigger homes, fitter and fitter bodies, etc.…can also bring suffering.
3. Nirodha: To stop suffering, craving and clinging must cease. Awakening to connect authentically with what really matters can stop suffering. Accepting, embracing and gratefulness for what we have can lead to a path to inner peace. Digging in to find the true reasons behind the cravings and clinging can lead us to connect with our true self, which can bring purpose and fulfillment.
4. Magga: To end suffering, one must follow a path of ethical conduct, mental discipline and wisdom. Genuine connection to oneself and others can lead to a meaningful and purposeful life. To build authentic relationships with others and ourselves, one may follow a life full of: rightful actions and speech, honesty, compassion, kindness, mindfulness and meditation.
So maybe life’s purpose is about building and maintaining genuine connections with ourselves and with others, and living this way could take us on the Buddha’s path to enlightenment. Why not give it a try?
Originally published at medium.com