Our World View & The Four Noble Truths

Even if we have never contemplated nor spoken of our world view, it is always there in the background, reinforcing our uninvestigated beliefs about who we think we are and how we assume the world works. This intimate perspective is slowly gathered throughout our lives influenced by our families, our religion, our culture, our race, our gender, our education, economics, the media, and the time in history we are living in.

Each wisdom path begins with a view. What constitutes a wisdom tradition versus just tradition is that we are not expected to simply ‘believe’ in this view, but instead to investigate experientially its possibilities. In other words in a wisdom tradition such as yoga or Buddhism, you are required to engage the path with your body, speech and heart/mind, your whole being must get involved in order to develop what is called experiential insight, inducing an ever expanding wiser view.

Statue in China

One common way of understanding the Buddhist view is in four statements, called the Four Noble Truths, which have depth teachings embedded in each of them.

  1. Life has suffering.
  2. Suffering is caused by our grasping habits, fueled by ignorance of our awakening nature.
  3. With the Buddha as an example, (and many others as well), anyone can transcend suffering by recognizing the causes of suffering, abandoning them, and realizing one’s boundless nature.
  4. The way to end suffering and enjoy genuine happiness is by cultivating the Noble Eightfold Path that the Buddha laid out, a wholistic (versus holistic – see below for a distinction) discipline that involves developing over one’s lifetime, ethics (sila), meditation (samadhi) and wisdom (prajna).

Reflecting on these four themes, do these statements intrigue you? How do they feel in your body? Lay down for six minutes of Mindfulness of Breathing while you contemplate this 2500 year old world view of the Buddha.

This reference states:
The two words “wholistic” and “holistic” have very different meanings, but there is some confusion and they are often used in an incorrect manner. The two words have very distinct meanings though somewhat similar in definition. Wholistic refers to the whole, a whole item or whole body of a person or thing. The word defines the consideration of the entire structure or makeup, which includes the body, mind and the spirit in the case of a human being. The word holistic is connected to holism, which focuses on the total entity and the interdependence of the diverse parts of this totality. Holistic has to do with the healing systems that are considered alternative like homeopathy and Ayurveda that deal with the human body as an interconnected whole.

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