The Four Noble Truths were the essence of Buddha's first sermon after his enlightenment. These truths are the following:
I. Everything and everyone in existence suffers.
II. Suffering is caused by selfishness, greed, and desire.
III. Selfishness, greed, and desire can be stopped.
IV. They can be stopped by following eight steps:
- Believe only what is true, or right belief.
- Live in a loving, nonviolent way, or right purpose.
- Learn to speak well to others, or right speech.
- Treat yourself well but do not overindulge, or right conduct.
- Choose a good vocation, or right vocation.
- Be alert and sensitive about life, or right effort.
- Train your mind to think clearly, or right thought.
- Meditate regularly on the meaning of life, or right meditation.The Buddha taught that one should avoid extremes of human behavior.
The Four Noble Truths, he taught, can help one avoid extremes and have a meaningful life.