In Buddhism, is the way to end suffering and desire to follow the Four Noble Truths, the Eightfold Path, the Royal Road, or the Vedas?

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William Delaney | (Level 3) Distinguished Educator

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The correct answer to your question is "B," the Eightfold Path. To answer "A," the Four Noble Truths would be partially correct because these explain the reason given by the Buddha for following the Eightfold Path. The Four Noble Truths state that life is filled with suffering, that suffering is caused by a craving for worldly things, that suffering will stop when one learns to suppress desire, and finally that the way to suppress desire is by following the Eightfold Path.

The eight steps on the Eightfold Path are Right View, Right Thought, Right Speech, Right Action, Right Vocation, Right Effort, Right Mindfulness, and Right Concentration.

The Right View would involve understanding the Four Noble Truths, especially the truth that suffering is caused by desire.


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thetall | (Level 1) Senior Educator

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I concur with Delaney. The correct answer is “B”, the Eightfold Path. The Eightfold path set out by the Buddha provides the path towards the cessation of suffering. Thus, the Eightfold Path addresses the questions raised by the fourth truth. It is important to understand the Four Noble Truths because they explain the origin of suffering and how to overcome its triggers. The Four Noble Truths can be viewed as the journey, while the Eightfold path is the destination. The Four Noble Truths do not innately provide a way to end suffering.

The Eightfold Path provides an eight-step system towards the realization of spiritual enlightenment and the cessation of suffering. Therefore, by following the eight-step system, one is able to overcome desire and transcend suffering.


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user1450001 | Student, Undergraduate | (Level 1) Valedictorian

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Yes, very true ! The search for a spiritual path is born out of suffering. It does not start with lights and ecstasy, but with the struggle of pain, disappointment, and confusion. The four nobel truth are the foundation  :

1) The truth of suffering

2) The truth of the cause of suffering

3) The truth of the end of suffering and

4) The truth of the path which take us away from this suffering and painful life.

But to touch this foundation the eight fold path is necessary to follow. And It has to trigger an inner realization.