Thought doodles on the third noble truth

What is the Third Noble Truth?

The Third Noble Truth is that suffering can be overcome and happiness attained. This is perhaps the most important of the Four Noble Truths because in it the Buddha reassures us that true happiness and contentment are possible. When we give up useless craving and learn to live each day at a time, enjoying without restlessly wanting the experiences that life offers us, patiently enduring the problems that life involves, without fear, hatred and anger, then we become happy and free. Then, and then only, do we begin to live fully. Because we are no longer obsessed with satisfying our own selfish wants, we find that we have so much time to help others fulfil their needs. This state is called Nirvana. We are free from psychological suffering.

Actually I really appreciate the above definition, even if I feel it is a bit happy happy joy joy sounding.

But I would like to share my heretical view.

The third noble delusion is that there is suffering to be overcome.

In each moment we are naturally happy and free. We are already living fully without conditions.

To really go to the moment is almost like a dream. But it is the opposite of a dream. This is the state of Nirvana; where we are free from suffering. Unfortunately, we are conditioned against this state; the good news is you can transcend this conditioning.

Be well and happy,


Anonymous said...

Interesting direction you are taking here.

All Dharmas are empty - especially this one.

Harry said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Harry said...


Yes, 'Nirvana', 'a state beyond psychological suffering', is not something to obtain because it's just what's right here. Its just this reality without our 'psychological suffering' imposed on it and without that 'suffering self' mistaking itself to be an exterior or absolute reality.

The Special View also includes that the 'psychological suffering' is just reality itself so, even when we are in the midst of psychological suffering, we can recognise it in its real, broader context and it doesn't bother us so much as we don't complicate it and play its games.



Harry said...

Thanks for this thread BTW. I needed to remember that.



SlowZen said...

Mike, totally empty.

Harry, thanks' for your comments!

Ted Biringer said...


Thank you for this post. This is, IMHO, an important topic. Simple, but not easy - if you know what I mean. Two passages from the classic Zen records have been instructive to me on this point. The first is from a letter to a layman from Zen Master Ta Hui:

Having entered the world, leave the world completely. Then worldly things are the Buddha Dharma and the Buddha Dharma is worldly things. Father and son are one by nature: is there such a thing as a father who is not troubled when his son dies and who doesn’t think about him, or a son who isn’t troubled when his father dies and doesn’t think about him? If you try to suppress (such sentiments) forcibly, not daring to cry or think about it, then this is deliberately going against the natural pattern, denying your inherent nature; (it’s like) raising a sound to stop and echo, or pouring on oil to put out a fire.

Right when you’re afflicted, it’s not at all something alien, and you shouldn’t think of it as alien. Yung Chia said, “The real nature of ignorance is enlightenment; the empty body of illusory transformation is the Body of Reality.” These words are genuine and true, not lies or falsehoods.
~Ta Hui, Swampland Flowers, Translated by JC Cleary

The second is from the Blue Cliff Record. This one, with its handling of "Spring" (the ups and downs, the birds and bees, etc) and "Autumn" (the bare trees, the quiet, stillness, etc.) offers a perspective that is (I think) unique in the Blue Cliff (though not in Zen). Notice how Setcho inserts his own line at the end of the dialouge, "Thank you for that answer." I believe his words are a genuine "thank you."

Blue Cliff Record Case 36 - Changsha Wandering on the Mountain
Changsha one day returned from wandering on the mountain and came to the Leader at the gate.
The Leader-Seat asked, "Venerable, what places have you been going to and coming from?"
Sha said, "I'm coming from wandering the mountain."
The Leader-Seat said, "You arrived, where did you come from?"
Sha said, "In the beginning I left following the fragrant grasses; and then I returned chasing the falling blossoms."
The Seat said, "That is very much like the meaning of Spring."
Sha said, "It even excels the Autumn dew drops on the lotus."
Xuedou's ([Setcho]the first editor of the Blue Cliff Record) said, "Thank you for that answer."

[Xuedou's Verse:]
The great earth is broken into fine dust.
Whose eyes are not opened?
"In the beginning I left following the fragrant grasses;
and then I returned chasing the falling blossoms."
A feeble crane raises up a cold tree.
A wild ape howls in an ancient tower.
The infinite meaning of Changsha.

Anyway, thanks again.

SlowZen said...

Hi Ted,
Thank you for your comments.


Thanks for looking!