Four Noble Truths rigpawiki

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Buddha Turning the Wheel of Dharma for the first time

The Four Noble Truths (Skt. catvāryāryasatyā; Tib. འཕགས་པའི་བདེན་པ་བཞི་, pakpé denpa shyi, Wyl. rigpawiki 'phags pa'i bden pa bzhi) or the Four Realities of the Arya rigpawikis, were taught by Buddha Shakyamuni rigpawiki as the central theme of the so-called first turning of the wheel of the Dharma rigpawiki after his attainment of enlightenment. They are:

  • the truth (or reality) of suffering (Skt. duḥkha-satya; Tib. སྡུག་བསྔལ་གྱི་བདེན་པ་) which is to be understood,
  • the truth (or reality) of the origin of suffering (Skt. duḥkha-samudaya-satya; Tib. ཀུན་འབྱུང་བའི་བདེན་པ་), which is to be abandoned,
  • the truth (or reality) of cessation (Skt. nirodha-satya; Tib. འགོག་པའི་བདེན་པ་), which is to be actualized, and
  • the truth (or reality) of the path (Skt. mārga-satya; Tib. ལམ་གྱི་བདེན་པ་), which is to be relied upon.[1]

Meaning of the Term

In his Clear Words commentary, Chandrakirti rigpawiki says:

Therefore, since it is true only for the noble ones, it is called the truth of the noble ones.[2]

In his General Topics commentary on the Abhisamayalankara rigpawiki, Patrul Rinpoche rigpawiki explains:

The Compendium on Determinations[3]says:
What is the meaning of "truth"? It has the characteristic of not being in discord with the teachings,
And when seen it becomes the cause for complete purity. That is the meaning of "truth".

The meaning of the first line refers to the object, that is, exactly as the Tathagata has taught [objects] to be impermanent and so on, that is how they are. The latter refers to the subject, that is, when [objects] are seen exactly as they are, an unmistaken mind is produced. That is the meaning of the term "truth" by itself.
As for the meaning of "the truths of the noble ones", since the noble ones see the truths exactly as the truths are, both their mind and the object [perceived] are true. Therefore they are [the truths] of the noble ones.
For childish beings, although in reality things are "true", since their minds do not realize this [reality], it is not presented as truth.

Cause & Effect

The four truths can be divided into two pairs of cause and effect, known as the cause and effect of 'thorough affliction' or samsara, and the cause and effect of 'complete purification' or nirvana.

Sixteen Aspects of the Four Noble Truths

1. Suffering rigpawiki (Skt. duḥkha; Tib. སྡུག་བསྔལ་བ་)
2. Impermanence rigpawiki (Skt. anitya; Tib. མི་རྟག་པ་)
3. Emptiness rigpawiki (Skt. śūnyatā; Tib. སྟོང་པ་ཉིད་)
4. Selflessness (Skt. anātmaka; Tib. བདག་མེད་པ་)

5. Cause (Skt. hetu; Tib. རྒྱུ་)
6. Origination (Skt.samudaya; Tib. ཀུན་འབྱུང་)
7. Intense Arising (Skt. prabhava; Tib. རབ་སྐྱེ་)
8. Condition (Skt. pratyaya; Tib. རྐྱེན་)

9. Peace (Skt. śānta; Tib. ཞི་བ་)
10. Cessation (Skt. nirodha; Tib. འགོག་པ་)
11. Perfection (Skt. praṇīta; Tib. གྱ་ནོམ་པ་)
12. True Deliverance (Skt. niḥsaraṇa; Tib. ངེས་འབྱུང་, Wyl. nges 'byung)

13. Path (Skt. mārga; Tib. ལམ་)
14. Appropriate (Skt. nyāya; Tib. རིགས་པ་)
15. Effective (Skt. pratipatti; Tib. སྒྲུབ་པ་)
16. Truly Delivering (Skt. nairyāṇika; Tib. ངེས་འབྱིན་)

Page is sourced from Sixteen Aspects of the Four Noble Truths

Tibetan Texts

Template:TBRC འཕགས་པ་བདེན་པ་བཞིའི་མདོ། bka' 'gyur (sde dge par phud) edition, Vol. 72. ff.170r.-170v. (pp.339-340)

Oral Teachings Given to the Rigpa Sangha

Further Reading


  1. Template:Tibquote Illness must be understood, its causes eliminated,
    Wellbeing must be attained, and medicine taken.
    Likewise, suffering, its causes, their cessation and the path
    Must in turn be understood, eliminated, realized and relied upon.
    Maitreya rigpawiki, Sublime Continuum rigpawiki, IV, 55

    Page is sourced from Quotations: Maitreya, Sublime Continuum, Suffering must be understood, it's cause eliminated, cessation realized and the path relied upon

  2. Tib. དེའི་ཕྱིར་འཕགས་པ་རྣམས་ཁོ་ན་ལ་དེ་བདེན་པའི་ཕྱིར་འཕགས་པའི་བདེན་པ་
  3. The second section of the Yogacharabhumi

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Page is sourced from Four Noble Truths