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The Four Noble Truths
of Buddhism
Shortly after his enlightenment under the Bo tree, the Buddha proceeded to India's holy city of Benares. At Sarnath, six miles from Benares, he presented his first sermon in which he proclaimed the Four Noble Truths and The Eightfold Path.

The Four Noble Truths

Duhkhasatya : The Truth of dukkha.
The first truth is generally translated as "Life is suffering", but perhaps more appropriately as "Life is painfully out of balance". Dukkha was a word used to refer to a wheel whose axle was off-center. The Buddha named four specific points in life where this pain is most evident: birth, illness, old age, and the fear approaching death. He also added: to be separated from what one loves, and to be saddled with what one hates.

Samudayasatya : The Truth of the Cause.
The second truth is that the cause of dukkha is tanha, or "thirst". Tanha is also generally translated as "desire", but "thirst" suggests that it is meant more specifically, as "personal desire". The desire for private fulfillment causes actions at the expense of others. It interferes with the oneness of all things, leads to ignorance, and brings suffering.

Nirodhasatya : The Truth of Cessation
The third truth declares that a nirodha, or "cessation" of the cravings can be attained. When selfish cravings, ignorance, and hatred are overcome, balance will be restored to life.

Mârgasatya : The Truth of the Way or Path
The fourth truth describes that a mârga, "path" or "way" exists to overcome the tanha (cravings). The Eightfold Path is the middle way which lies between the extremes of asceticism and indulgence.