Today I will continue to talk about Buddhism in Plain Terms. We learn Buddhism to liberate ourselves, because in our lives, once we reach middle age, we will start to recall memories of our entire lives and of the times when we were young. We tend to ponder, why is it that we tend to lose so much in our lives, what we had during our youth is now gone, that includes friends and homes. For what reasons do we come to this human realm? This is why many people have said, is the purpose of our coming into this world the same as that of other people, simply walking through this course called life? As we finish walking this path, we do not understand why we have come here. It is only when we are nearly complete with this course of life do we finally understand that we should be here to learn Buddhism, we should know where we are headed next, but no one knows this. When you are in the human realm, you wouldn’t think about learning Buddhism. Firstly, you do not have the karmic affinity for it, because you are too caught up in your own small home, you have forgotten that you actually have a wisdom-life. Everyone has their own wisdom-life, your physical body is a home, but your wisdom-life is also another home, and this wisdom-life can help you to unshackle your life from frustration and suffering.
Therefore, many people in this society suffer from intense pain throughout their lives. They have not found their wisdom-life. In the physical aspect, many people own houses, cars, luxurious abodes and have some friends, but these are all like fleeting clouds, they will be gone in an instant. No one thinks that “I should make preparations for my future, where am I prepared to go to, I want to make some preparations for my future, why am I suffering from such hardships, why did so many things happen to me during my middle age,” This is because you have not found your other life, and that is your wisdom-life. So, I wish you could liberate yourself from suffering, from afflictions, and possess your own wisdom-life. We humans are very pitiful, many people who have just started learning Buddhism and have just found their own home, but due to their own ignorance, they create a lot of unwholesome habits for themselves, and later they become lax in their practices. They found Buddhism, but slowly they lose Buddhism. In the course of practising Buddhism, there are many afflictions that they are unable to overcome; they cannot practise self-restraint and patience, they cannot forget their karmic conflicts with others accumulated through many lives, they cannot forgive nor tolerate others. Every day they live in suffering and worries. They have also lost their wisdom-life. This is because what they can see in their external surroundings is nothing but rivalry, jealousy among friends, and afflictions in everyday life. Hence, they jump on the bandwagon and stray further away from their wisdom-life.
So, as Buddhists, let me tell you all, we need to know what it is that brings the greatest suffering in your life, and that is your physical body. Your body is well at one time, and not well at another time, your body suffers pain at one time, and after some time the pain is gone. You use your body to experience life’s pleasures, and use it to enjoy what is not seen, and enjoy the fleeting riches and glory. Then one day when you come to know that you suffer from a terminal disease, all of these are like the passing of the fleeting clouds. Thus, as we remain in the cycle of rebirths, we keep walking along our predetermined path. We cannot let go, so we can never liberate ourselves. So, when many people found out that they are suffering from a serious illness, they leave this world with regrets. This is what happens when you only have a physical body without your wisdom-life. This is why I advise you to learn Buddhism, Buddhism can guide us to liberate ourselves from life’s suffering. In Buddhism, there is the greatest doctrine known as the Four Noble Truths, this is to tell you that there exists this great truth. Do you know that in this human realm, as long as you fully grasp this truth, you will know how this world operates, you will know how to overcome your anxiety, you will then know how to come out of the doldrums of your life.
So, let me share with you a simple lesson on the Four Noble Truths. The Buddha said that the simplest doctrine is the Four Noble Truths. The basic doctrine in Buddhism is the Four Noble Truth; this is to tell us what the truth is about. I will find some other time to tell you more in detail. Today, as I have so much to share with you all about the sutras, so I will give a basic description, and tell you the important points. First of all, the word “truth” in the Four Noble Truths means the absolute truth. It is the truth and no one can refute it. Then what are the four truths? As you know, they are: The truth of suffering, the truth of the cause of suffering, the truth of the cessation of suffering, and the truth of the path leading to the cessation of suffering. These are the Four Noble Truths. Then, why is this considered an eternal truth? It is because this is how life works, you may not comprehend this human life, it is a truth that you need to experience for yourself. For example, in looking at the truth of suffering, think about it, the suffering of humankind is birth, old age, illness, and death. No one can escape from them. As rich as you are today, as famous and as highly reputed as you are, you cannot escape from birth, old age, illness, and death. No one can. This is the truth. Would you say that rich men do not die? Would you say that people with great health will not die? No matter what, you must understand that this is the suffering that we are taught in Buddhism. Sometimes, death is very painful. When you grow old, even if you want to do something you do not have the energy for it. When you are born, it is painful too. When a baby is born, the baby cannot eat anything because it has no teeth. It gets too cold or too hot but the baby cannot speak, the baby can only cry. When people grow old, you can see how much they suffer. Hence, the Bodhisattva tells us that the first truth is suffering. No one can escape from birth, old age, illness and death.