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OUTLINE OF THE TRUTH OF THE WAY LEADING TO THE CESSATION OF SUFFERING - Minh Thien

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Translated by MINH THIỆN
From “in 2004 Special Issue Celebrating The Thera Thich Thong Lac’s Birthday” (17 September 2004)

Mentioning about the Truth of the way leading to the cessation of suffering, we all know that it is one of the Four Noble Truths of humanity i.e.:

1. The Truth of suffering;

2. The Truth of the origin of suffering;

3. The Truth of the cessation of suffering;

4. The Truth of the way leading to the cessation of suffering [hereinafter referred to as the "Fourth Truth”].

In this article, we only discuss the Fourth Truth instead of all four Truths due to the lack of time, and we will mention the rest in later article.

1.- This article was written by Thera Thich Thong Lac in 2004 Special Issue Celebrating His Birthday (17 September 2004) thanks to Bao Chau requesting Him to provide correction to the topic of the Four Noble Truths.

Why do we provide explanation of the Fourth Truth rather than the other Truths? Dear all! The Fourth Truth has been lectured and explained by scholars in the past and at present, however, in a false way and such falseness is so much that it has made this Truth deviate from its true meaning. As a result, readers and listeners think that it is a method for practice without knowing that it is the name of classes. It is probably because those scholars did not comprehend the meaning of this Truth and thus their teachings has turned this truth into a practicing method as above mentioned. They have turned this truth into untruth. They’ve had no idea that the first discourse of the Buddha is about the four truths of all mankind rather than a practicing method. They have been so wrong to consider the name of classes as a lesson. For this reason, we see the necessity to give an explanation for you to understand the Fourth Truth more clearly and in detail. So what does the Fourth Truth mean?

Dear all! The Fourth Truth is an ancient noun of India used to define the education classes of the moral foundation which is based on the causality law and has human beings as its core to develop; thanks to moral education, people learn to live without creating sufferings for themselves, for others and for all living beings. As such, it is divided into eight classes for people to train their mind and body i.e.:

1. Right view

2. Right thought

3. Right speech

4. Right action

5. Right livelihood

6. Right effort

7. Right mindfulness

8. Right concentration

Dear all!

Right view is the name of the first class of the FOURTH TRUTH. So what lessons are there in the Right view? Right view is to study and train mind and body with the lessons of the FOUR OBJECTS OF UNFAILING PURITY (the organ of sight, the organ of hearing, the organ of smell). When one practices the Four Objects of Unfailing Purity, the POWER OF FAITH appears.

Right thought is the name of the second class of the FOURTH TRUTH. So what lessons are there in the Right thought? Right thought is to study and train mind and body with the lesson of the RULES OF MIND PERFORMANCE (the organ of mind). When one practices the Rules of Mind Performance, the POWER OF FAITH appears.

Right speech is the name of the third class of the FOURTH TRUTH. So what lessons are there in the Right speech?Right speech is to study and train mind and body with the lessons of RULES OF MOUTH PERFORMANCE (the organ of taste). When one practices the Rules of Mouth Performance, the POWER OF FAITH appears.

Right action is the name of the fourth class of the FOURTH TRUTH. So what lessons are there in the Right action? Right action is to study and train mind and body with the lessons of RULES OF BODY PERFORMANCE (the organ of body). When one practices the Rules of Body Performance, the POWER OF FAITH appears.

Right livelihood is the name of the fifth class of the FOURTH TRUTH. So, what lessons are there in the Right livelihood? Right livelihood is to study and train mind and body with the lessons of the FOUR IMMEASURABLE MINDS. When one practices the Four Immeasurable Minds, the POWER OF FAITH appears.

Right effort is the name of the sixth class of the FOURTH TRUTH. So, what lessons are there in the Right effort? Right effort is to study and train mind and body with the lessons of the FOUR RIGHT EFFORTS. When one practices the Four Right Efforts, the POWER OF ZEAL appears.

Right mindfulness is the name of the seventh class of the FOURTH TRUTH. So what lessons are there in the Right mindfulness? Right mindfulness is to study and train mind and body with the lessons of the FOUR PLACES OF MINDFULNESS. When one practices  the Four Places of Mindfulness, the POWER OF \ MINDFULNESS appears.

Dear all! When we have completed the seventh class, seven abilities of liberation will appear. Such seven abilities of liberation are called SEVEN LIMBS (FACTORS) OF ENLIGHTENMENT. Seven Limbs of Enlightenment are also called the SEVEN BODHI SHARES. The Seven Bodhi Shares are the seven states of liberation of each one’s mind and body. Only when the Seven Limbs of Enlightenment appear, could we have sufficient practice power. Such practice power is named the FOUR SUFFICIENCIES. Thanks to the Four Sufficiencies, we start to study the eighth class.

So what is the eighth class?

Right concentration is the name of the eighth class of the Fourth Truth. So, what lessons are there in the Right concentration? Right concentration is to study and train mind and body with the lessons of the FOUR NOBLE CONCENTRATIONS. When one practices the Four Noble Concentrations, the POWER OF CONCENTRATION appears.

Dear all! When we have completed these eight classes, we will enter the Fourth Concentration. In the Fourth Concentration, we carry out the Three Insights. After carrying out the Three Insights, the POWER OF WISDOM appears.

As such, through the 37 chapters supporting practice i.e. the 37 supporting methods of practice for these eight classes, the practicing program of the eight classes is methodical, clear and in detail, certainly not vague as in the explanation of Mahayana scholars in the past and at present mistaking the eight classes of the Fourth Truth for a practice method, this is uncouth, isn’t it?

Dear all! It is a shame while one follows Buddhism but does not abide by the precepts and rules, not diligently practicing the 37 supporting methods, but instead learning and accumulating the interpretation of the scholars in the past and at present to obtain Doctor of Philosophy degree in Buddhist Studies to become teacher and provide wrong teaching of the Buddha’s method. First and foremost, to make the following generations of Buddhism lost in their way of practice is a huge crime, isn’t “The less said the better”, if one provides wrong explanation of the Buddhist method, one reveals his own ignorance. Please pay attention

With all respects,

Chon Nhu Monastery

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