1. The Truth about the Nature of Suffering

In Buddhism, life is understood as inseparable from suffering. Birth is suffering, old age is suffering, sickness is suffering, and death is suffering. This approach has been condemned by non-Buddhists as a denial of life. But were this true, Buddhists would not seek the way to eliminate suffering, making life truly meaningful and all sentient beings genuinely happy. To be happy, we have to realise and eliminate the causes of suffering.

  1. The Truth about the Cause of Suffering

The root cause of all suffering is desire. If we carefully meditate on this truth, we will understand that suffering results from craving. We desire things we want but cannot own. We possess things we no longer need and suffer under their burden. We feel romantically attracted to people who show no interest in us. We wish to live, and suffer when we encounter death.

  1. The Truth about the Elimination of Suffering

In Buddhism, we do not just count the reasons of our suffering, but actively seek the means which will deliver us from all the limitations and unfortunate circumstances of the human condition. It is our deep faith that in order to get rid of suffering, we must root out its cause. In order to truly walk the road to perfect liberation, we must stop being attached to our desires.

  1. The Truth about the Path Leading to Happiness

This is the way to deliverance that is the Middle Way or Noble Eightfold Path. It is a path away from all extremes, revealed by the Buddha after attaining Enlightenment:

  • Right View
  • Right Resolve
  • Right Speech
  • Right Action
  • Right Livelihood
  • Right Effort
  • Right Mindfulness
  • Right Concentration

Contained within these seemingly basic lists are the foundational teachings of Buddhism. These teachings can be found in the sūtras which contain the words of the Buddha, and the Śāstras which comprise the Abhidharma, the extensive commentaries produced by eminent monks and nuns. The Vinaya contains the vows of a Buddhist that also help shape our morals and ethics. These three together are known as the Tripiṭaka or Three Baskets Canon.