Reflection on the Four Noble Truths in the Light of Gnosis
The Four Noble Truths is one of the most important teachings in Buddhism, and is thought to have been given by the Buddha himself during his first sermon, after he reached enlightenment. These four noble truths consists of four important statements that are necessary to know before embarking on the path to liberation.
As the story goes, the Buddha reached enlightenment after spending some time in meditation under a Bodhi tree, where he was attacked by the darkest recesses of his subconscious mind – by the totality of the egoic state, which in his teaching is named “Mara”. And so this Mara (which is the sum total of his egoic state, but mostly comprising of desire) tempted and pressured Buddha to give up and go back to living the life of illusion of the egos, which is the life lived through animalistic inner states. Eventually Buddha won the battle and, according to the story, eliminated Mara, and thus reached enlightenment. Now, regardless of how this process happened to Buddha and whether he reached full enlightenment or partial, he most likely did arrive to a huge understanding about his nature, and so it would make sense that in his first sermon he would teach people of the most essential things that are necessary to know in order to follow the path to liberation, so that those who could see more into it would stay with him and learn more. These four noble truths are as follows:
- There is suffering (dukkha)
- Desire (samudaya) is the cause of suffering
- Suffering can be eliminated (nirvana)
- There is a path (marga) that leads out of suffering
The first noble truth speaks about suffering (or dukkha in Sanskrit), and how suffering is part of life. It is a huge part of the Wheel of Samsara, which is the wheel of mandatory births and rebirths, where souls enter in order to grow and develop through karma and other universal laws, and where eventually they can start the path to liberation so to achieve the self-realization, which is the ultimate purpose of staying in Samsara. The Samsara consist of dimensional planes through which soul moves in its journey of learning and growing – these are the three dimensional planes (including the abyss), the 4th dimension, the 5th dimension (astral and mental planes), and the Causal plane of the 6th dimension. In the last one mentioned (the Causal plane) there is no suffering, but is said that it is reserved for those souls who did good while alive in the physical world, and even they would only stay there temporarily. The most of suffering, however, seems to take place in the physical world, where we come to learn through the balancing of our karmic account. That there is suffering here is something that we can all testify, as we all go through times of suffering in our lives.
The second noble truth tells us that desire (samudaya), or attachment, is the cause of suffering. In this statement a great aspect of the inner work is revealed. Everyone who goes through the process of the path to liberation must have understood this point very well, as they would have experienced it before the path itself or during it. Every time we desire to have something, we experience a particular type of emotion that prompts us to either go and acquire the object of our desire, or to plan on how to reach it, or to fantasise about having it. If the object is unreachable, it causes discomfort within us; an unpleasant emotion that creates suffering. However, even the initial want creates an emotion that makes us suffer, which we understand more and more as we purify ourselves from all forms of desire and from the ego in general. This understanding comes from seeing the reality of our true nature as we gradually eliminate our lower, subconscious states, and liberate the free particles of our soul that were trapped inside it. By so doing we create a cleansed inner state, and by looking in it, it becomes clear to us what desire is and its relation to suffering.
And even if the object of desire is reached and desire satisfied, it would continue again soon afterwards, because it is of unquenchable nature. Its satisfaction is temporary, and feeding it makes it stronger and bigger, so that the consequent suffering continues increasing.
The strongest form of desire is sexual desire (lust), and by being the strongest it creates suffering unlike any other, even when lust gets what it wants.
The third noble truth teaches us that suffering can be eliminated. In Buddhism, the elimination of it is associated with Nirvana, which is said to be the elimination of all suffering. Nirvana in Buddhism can be referred to both a dimensional location, but also to internal state of bliss; of reaching the “Buddha nature” (by incarnating the Being) achieved by those who have reached significant stages on the path to liberation. Preceding this blissful state is a battle against desire, against the ego, the Mara, the myself. In Gnosis we are taught precise techniques through which we can eliminate the cause of suffering, by the help of inner Divine Mother who can save us from horrible contradictions and torments of the ego. It is through her gracious help and mercy that we have a chance to convert our animalistic nature and take that leap towards the higher state of being; towards the blissful state of Nirvana (which the Being irradiates from our soul).
The fourth and the final noble truth is a teaching of hope, of a promise that there is a path that can take us out from the suffering in which we find ourselves, and into the radiance of the Being, in whom we find salvation and the final liberation. The Buddha knew about it, because he has already reached the joys of his Being by going through great struggles against the temptation of Mara.
In Buddhism there are guidelines known as the “Noble Eightfold Path” that can lead towards the path out of suffering, consisting of the following eight parts: correct view (of the teachings), correct intention (or correct motivation for the path), correct speech (using speech consciously and with care), correct action (rightful action and avoiding things that take us away from the path), right livelihood, right effort (towards reaching awakening), right mindfulness (correct usage of the techniques), and correct concentration (here the emphasis is on meditation as a tool for awakening). These eight guidelines help on the path; they unfold naturally more and more as we go through the path and raise up our vibration through the process of initiations.
This path that leads out of suffering has been depicted in various cultures and their stories of courageous heroes that undertook great adventures over mountains and seas; who fought against beasts and who had to endure all sorts of trickery and suffering in order to arrive to great hidden treasures. This is the secret path of initiations, heard by some, but known to a few who have lived it, and have or are walking on it to arrive to the final liberation – the liberation from suffering caused by desire; liberation from Samsara and its many laws. It is the path towards supreme freedom and happiness, towards the Being, and that which lies beyond the Being. It is the path that ends at the Gate of Choices; on the other side of this gate is a new chapter in soul’s existence.
HDP, October 2020.