Once the Blessed One was staying at Kosambī in the siṁsapā forest. Then, picking up a few siṁsapā leaves with his hand, he asked the monks, “What do you think, monks? Which are more numerous, the few siṁsapā leaves in my hand or those overhead in the siṁsapā forest?”
“The leaves in the hand of the Blessed One are few in number, lord. Those overhead in the forest are far more numerous.”
“In the same way, monks, those things that I have known with direct knowledge but haven’t taught are far more numerous (than what I have taught). And why haven’t I taught them? Because they aren’t connected with the goal, don’t relate to the rudiments of the holy life, and don’t lead to disenchantment, to dispassion, to cessation, to stilling, to direct knowledge, to self-awakening, to unbinding. That’s why I haven’t taught them.
“And what have I taught?
‘This is stress …
This is the origination of stress …
This is the cessation of stress …
This is the path of practice leading to the cessation of stress’
This is what I have taught. And why have I taught these things? Because they are connected with the goal, relate to the rudiments of the holy life, and lead to disenchantment, to dispassion, to cessation, to stilling, to direct knowledge, to selfawakening, to unbinding. This is why I have taught them.”
—Translator – Thanissaro Bhikkhu – SN 56:31
For those with further interest in the Four Noble Truths, I provide this short, downloadable, booklet by the Venerable Ajahn Sumedho.
The Four Noble Truths by Ajahn Sumedho
Ajahn Sumedho, or Luang Por Sumedho, was ordained in Thailand in 1966 and has had a long and varied career. He was Abbot of Amaravati Monastery in England from 1984 until 2010, when he retired back to Thailand. Luang Por Sumedho is considered one of the primary figures in the dissemination of Therevada Buddhism in the West.
The booklet I attach here is directly related to the Four Noble Truths, as can be seen by it’s title, and will serve as a backup, and reinforcement to the Suttas I have already provided. Over time I hope to increase the online library available to the discerning reader with much more valuable insight.
I have also launched a new page. eLibrary, in the top menu where such documents will appear in future.
And so we come to the Fourth Noble Truth. You can access it via the right hand menu as usual, but this one is somewhat different. Over time there will be sub-articles added regarding the steps involved in this Truth because it is much more involved than the previous three. This truth explains how to escape Samsara, the never ending cycle of birth, death and rebirth that we find ourselves in.
Certainly most people are completely unaware of this cycle, we have no memory of our previous lives. There are many ‘New Age’ practitioners out there that claim to be able to train you to access previous life memories, which is all well and good if they are the genuine article, but they do not explain how to escape the cycle of constant suffering. In this final truth, that is exactly what the Buddha does explain; and during rest of his life, all the Suttas and discourses he gave, was his attempt at enlightening mankind to the fact that we can escape this cycle. We can have freedom. We can have peace.
May all beings live in peace.
May all being attain Nibbana.