From Suffering to Happiness
The promise of the cessation of suffering in Buddhism has long drawn my attention. The Buddha’s words, “I teach two things, O disciples: suffering and release from suffering” (Samyutta-Nikaya, xxii, 86), have captured my imagination and become a guiding vision for my own life.
The Third Noble Truth is the truth of cessation – a cessation that promises the pacifying of the torment of suffering forever, bringing true peace. This cessation is described as being superb – a cessation that is supreme and will bring about all health and happiness. Finally, it will definitely bring one out of samsara (Skt. cyclic existence).
The Fourth Noble Truth describes the way in which this cessation will occur. It is the Noble Eightfold Path that leads to cessation – the path that will deliver people from their conditioned, cyclic existence (Skt. samsara) into liberation and enlightenment.
As a result, of these bold and remarkable claims, I have attempted to create a table that gives an overview of how the cessation of suffering can be understood, approached, and ultimately achieved – and how I can be truly happier in life.
At the heart of the table lies the contrast: the “path to suffering” and the “path to happiness” – consisting of the ten unskillful deeds and the ten good deeds.
Additionally, the table includes and lists the:
- Five precepts
- Ten non-virtuous (unskillful) actions
- Ten virtuous (skillful) actions
- Four Noble Truths
- Two truths
- Twelve links of dependent origination
- The three poisons or three unwholesome roots
- Eightfold Path
- Brahma-viharas (four sublime states of mind)
- Eight types of suffering
- Two basic approaches to meditation
- Three trainings in Buddhism
- Four tasks comprising Right Effort
These lists all serve tangentially the theme, “From Suffering to Happiness” as the table shows.