The True End of All Suffering
I find the third Noble Truth – the
truth of the cessation of suffering (dukkha) – a wonderful source of
hope that is based on reality! How incredible to be offered the ending (cessation) of suffering in my life, and
most importantly, the causes of that suffering. To see the end of all the unsatisfactory experiences of life –
and their origins (roots) – in such a way that they will no longer arise and occur again is almost "too good to
be true". This is my personal Exodus.
This removal, this extinction, this
final absence of suffering would surely be fittingly synonymous with nirvana. No wonder, in fact, that cessation is often equated with nirvana
(Sanskrit; Pali nibbana). Equally fitting are terms such as ultimate reality or absolute truth.
The challenge for me, then, is to
develop a genuine, heartfelt understanding of the causes of
suffering, such as ignorance and craving. However, to completely eradicate these causes, and thus be free
from suffering, means that I need to be far more than enamoured by this intellectually stimulating information,
that has been added to my mind through my studies.
I need to honestly ask myself: Am I
experiencing deep transformation, whereby I am letting go of
cognitive and emotional misperceptions of reality – and coming to understand what is simple and real, moving
away from constant attachment and aversion?
In addition to providing great hope,
cessation also becomes the one grand goal of my spiritual practice.
Realistically, however, working toward
this cessation will take much diligence and discipline for the rest of my life. A consolation is that I can
experience momentary or temporary states of nirvana whenever the causes of suffering (for example, craving)
cease in my mind for a short duration – providing a spark of hope to continue the journey into full