Benefits of Studying the Four Noble Truths
The minimum benefit is
seeing that the problems and difficulties in our life can be stopped –
there is a remedy to the conditioning of our lives. This remedy is through the truth of the Noble Eightfold
The medium benefit is that by
studying the Four Noble Truths, we are establishing the Three
Refuges. Through confidence in the Noble Eightfold Path, we come to appreciate the second of the Three
Refuges – the Dharma. Through seeing beings who are practising the Dharma, we are seeing the first and third
Refuges – the Buddha and the Sangha. Those who have completed the Path are the Buddhas; those who are still
practising the Path are the Sangha. We take refuge in the Dharma by putting the Path into practice – and
ultimately, we will become a refuge by becoming a Buddha.
The highest benefit is
seeing cause and effect and the real nature of suffering ourselves
and how we have fallen into that kind of situation. And, we then see how all other beings have done exactly the
same. Finally, we then see that if we put the last Noble Truth into practice, we will be capable of benefiting
not only ourselves but also other sentient beings, regardless of our present connection with others, without any
discrimination or self-interest. That kind of activity can be achieved through understanding and practising the
Four Noble Truths at a very deep and thorough level.
By practising the path, without
falling into the two extremes of nihilism or eternalism – nihilism, where we feel that nothing has any reality and
therefore we are powerless to do anything, and eternalism, where we feel things are solid and unalterable – then
we can be really effective in helping others.
Between these two extremes our
understanding will become more and more subtle, and our understanding of cause and effect will become deeper and
The cessation of our suffering is not
given to us by someone as a gift but must emerge through practising the True Path. By reaching that kind of
understanding, the gap will get smaller and smaller between the uncontrolled, conditioned life we now lead and the core which is pure and
perfect peace. Even though it may be difficult to reach that centre, we will get closer and closer through our
Through studying, developing an
understanding, and then actually
practising the teaching of the Four
Noble Truths in
our daily life, the highest benefit can also be so beneficial for all other sentient beings. We can not only
cease our own suffering and the causes of suffering but can also cease the suffering and the causes of suffering of other
For a PDF copy of this information,
please click on Benefits of Studying the Four Noble Truths.
Source: Adapted from Geshe Tashi Tsering, The Four Noble Truths: The Foundation of Buddhist
Thought, Vol. 1, with a foreword by Lama Zopa Rinpoche, ed. Gordon McDougall (Somerville, MA: Wisdom
Publications, 2005), 15-17.
Photo Credit: Intellimon Ltd.