And Now You Have All Four Noble Truths

by | Feb 15, 2024 | Buddhism for All

Let us re-cap the Four Noble Truths.  In short, the Four Noble Truths are:

  1. First noble truth: Birth, aging, illness, death, to be with what you do not want, to be separated from what you want, and to not get what you want, are suffering (dukkha). Specifically, the five aggregates subject to grasping are suffering.
  2. Second noble truth: Suffering cannot arise without cause, and a necessary cause is craving (taṇhā).
  3. Third noble truth: The total cessation of craving leads to nirvana, the total cessation of suffering.
  4. Fourth noble truth: The path leading to the total cessation of suffering is the Noble Eightfold Path.

A summary of the Noble Eightfold Path:

After the Buddha delivered the first discourse, in Buddhist parlance, the “Wheel of Dharma” was set in motion by the Buddha.  That is why that discourse is known as the Discourse on Setting in Motion the Wheel of Dharma [1].

At the end of that discourse, Koṇḍañña attained stream-entry.  He became the first of the Buddha’s disciples to “see the dust-free, stainless vision of the Dharma.”  From that moment on, he was honored as Añña Koṇḍañña—Koṇḍañña Who Has Understood.  Which is very nice, except that English-only speakers would now think his name is Anna.

With that, the three most precious pieces of Buddhism were now assembled: Buddha (the teacher), Dharma (the teachings), and Sangha (the monastic community of practitioners).  Together, these three are known as the Triple Gem.  A Buddhist is someone who takes refuge in the Triple Gem.  For that reason, the Triple Gem is also known as the Three Refuges.


  • Reflect on this post with Angela: This is a summary chapter of the Four Noble Truths and the Noble Eightfold Path.  What is useful and true for you from these teachings? Why are they important to you? How will these teachings help you in your life?


[1] Dhammacakkappavattana Sutta (Saṃyutta Nikāya 56.11).

Featured image by Colin Goh.

Chade-Meng Tan

Meng is an award-winning engineer, international bestselling author, movie producer and philanthropist. His work has been nominated eight times for the Nobel Peace Prize. (Read Meng's story)

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