Turning the Wheel of the Dharma: The Four Noble Truths.
By: Kali Basman
At the time the Four Noble Truths were written, wheels were how we got around; this is why Buddhist scripture often refers to the Eightfold Path and the Four Noble Truths as spokes of a wheel delivering us. These methods for living a life provide an immediate accessibility to liberation in each moment: Nirvana is not some ethereal, inaccessible distant land. It’s finding wholeness on the road you are rolling on presently.
When the Buddha was enlightened, he had to find words to share this truth. He had the water to quench our thirst of un-awareness but he needed jars to hold it. The four noble truths are the four jars which hold his truths:
1. Suffering Exists.
“Birth, aging, sickness, pain, sorrow, lamentation, grief, despair, and death are suffering. Not getting what one desires and coming into contact with the undesired is suffering.”
Life has suffering! It’s kind of freeing to know, it’s not a failure in our life when suffering occurs. Rather it’s a universal truth. Embrace your suffering, sit with it, cherish it, it’s the way into the heart- let it reveal to you the way to peace. Our suffering is holy if we embrace it and look deeply into it. If we can practice investigating our suffering rather than feeling overwhelmed by it, we can use it as fodder for wider understanding.
2. The Arising of Suffering.
The origins of suffering comes from clinging or attachment, grasping at phenomenon due to ignorance. In Sanskrit, Ignorance is Avidya: lack of awareness (vidya means awareness, so avidya is a lack of that suchness).
This truth speaks to our ability to wake up from what is unconscious and habitual, to remember the wide open awareness that is our intrinsic nature.
3. The possibility of the cessation of suffering.
Healing is possible. If we can rest in a mindful space, we come to see that we have feeling but we are not our feelings. We learn to detach from the grasping or craving which informs daily fluctuations in whether or not our preferences are being met.
4. The path that leads to freedom.
This is none other than the noble eight fold path that leads to our refraining from the aggregates which have caused us suffering.
right view, right thought, right speech, right action, right livelihood, right effort, right mindfulness and right concentration.
There is a brokenness
out of which comes the unbroken,
out of which blooms the unshatterable.
There is a sorrow
beyond all grief which leads to joy
and a fragility
out of whose depths emerges strength.
There is a hollow space
too vast for words
through which we pass with each loss,
out of whose darkness
we are sanctioned into being.
There is a cry deeper than all sound
whose serrated edges cut the heart
as we break open to the place inside
which is unbreakable and whole,
while learning to sing.
International yoga teacher Kali Basman enriches the paradigm of Yin Yoga to integrate distinct aspects of Self into an innate wisdom practice to awaken a rich inner life and radiate with ritual. Her offering honors Yin Yoga as a tool to surrender to our intrinsic wholeness.
On the textured path of mindful healing, Kali is celebrated for her integration of the 5 Elements and Chinese Meridian Theory with self-inquiry, embodied Anatomy, Buddhist Philosophy of Equanimity, and sharp intellect.