The Buddha decided to use a process commonly used by doctors in his day to describe the problem of our life and its solution. A doctor, visiting a patient in distress, will first determine what the problem is. Once known, the doctor goes on to discover the cause of the problem. Next, she tries to see if there is a cure for the problem. Finally, she prescribes for her patient the way to effect the cure. This is a very simple, effective, and pragmatic approach. The Buddha, being very pragmatic, followed these four steps as well. He called this first teaching the Four Noble truths. These truths are:

  1. Suffering exists
  2. There is a cause of our suffering
  3. There is a cure for our suffering
  4. The cure is the Eight-Fold Path [1]

In these simple truths, the Buddha added nothing superfluous. There is no metaphysical tradition; there is no psychocosmological model; there are simply these four facts.

  1. — We will look at the Eightfold Path in detail in a few pages.

(Next: Suffering )