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The Buddha Notes on Philosophize This! #9

Philosophize This! is a philosophy podcast.

#9 The Buddha

  • Life of Buddha
  • How Buddha came to four noble truths

Four noble truths

1. The nature of suffering

  • Suffering is universal
  • Dissatisfaction is the default state of the human brain
  • Satisfaction, or happiness, leaves as often as it comes
  • No matter what: It eventually fades (eg buying your dream car)
  • No matter how good something is, eventually it just becomes normal
  • You no longer fully appreciate what you have

2. The cause of suffering

  • Desire (created by mind in different ways)
  • Attachment, aversion or ignorance
  • Attachment
    • See something they want, assume having that thing makes them happy
    • Exalt the good properties, ignore bad things
  • Aversion
    • Magnifies problems into things bigger than they are
    • Agonises over things they have no control over
    • Cut in line example, some people fuming, anger to be expected, “if only I didn’t have to deal with…”
    • Someone from a different set of experiences having same things happen to them may not feel slighted
    • Expectations: Expected to be treated in a certain way. Why is not meeting those personal expectations bad.
  • Ignorance
    • From attachment and aversion – your individual happiness depends on and is controlled by the world around you
    • “If only X hadn’t happened…”
    • No good things or bad things, just things (examples of bad things leading to good things)
    • Things, people, places, situations – none have inherent characteristics, we just think they do
  • Ineffective ways of pursuing happiness, destined to fail

3. How suffering can be eliminated

  • Suffering can be ended by eliminating desire
  • Desire comes from selfishness
  • Delusion that you exist separately from everyone else
  • We are all part of a giant internal structure of existence that’s interconnected
  • Ego
  • Be mindful of what’s productive

4. The path to remove suffering altogether

  • Get rid of your ego
  • Roadmap to Nirvana - the 8-fold path, perfect it to achieve enlightenment
  • Morality: Right speech, right action, right livelihood
  • Meditation: Right effort, right mindfulness, right concentration
  • Wisdom: Right understanding, right resolve
  • Interpretations vary enormously
  • Easier said than done


  • Mental gymnastics
  • No God beholden to
  • Fate in own hands
  • Buddha significance is example of reaching Nirvana, something to emulate
  • Encouraged discourse and discussion
  • Meditation and mindfulness
  • Ego: A person always in your face, yammering on about “you!”, from birth to death, on and on – non-stop internal chatter.
    • Try to think about one thing
    • Surprising how easy to fail
  • Mindfulness is about monitoring thoughts to determine if productive, eventually decrease bad