Stress and the End of Stress

The Four Noble Truths

The Four Noble Truths are the bedrock of Buddhism, what everything else builds upon and refers back to. They are simple yet profound.

In the Nibbedhika Sutta it’s laid out, ‘Stress should be known. The cause by which stress comes into play should be known. The diversity in stress should be known. The result of stress should be known. The cessation of stress should be known. The path of practice for the cessation of stress should be known.’ Or, as James Baldwin says, “Not everything that is faced can be changed, but nothing can be changed until it is faced.”

I think this is interesting, and challenging, as it’s not my natural inclination, necessarily, to move toward stress, my instinct is simply to end it. One piece of knowledge that I have gained from yoga, however, is that our issues live in our tissues, so even if I just put an end to a specific stress or stressor in my life, the imprint of that dukkha lives on in my heart and body. So then what the Buddha prescribes is a holistic program to free ourselves from dukkha-over and over again. This work doesn’t end, as a yoga student reminded me this week:  it’s not about getting enlightened once and for all, it’s about coming back to the moment again and again.

Read more…