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The Four Noble Truths of Love

Buddhist Wisdom for Modern Relationships

By Susan Piver
12-minute read
Audio available
The Four Noble Truths of Love by Susan Piver

The Four Noble Truths of Love (2018) brings ancient Buddhist wisdom out of the monastery and into the bedroom. By adapting the timeless insights taught by the Buddha 2,500 years ago to the nature of love, it shines a light through the murky mess of modern romance.

  • Long-term couples who want to rejuvenate their love life
  • Singles who want to improve their dating experiences
  • Anyone who wants to experience a deeper, more mature love

Susan Piver is a long-time Buddhist practitioner and author known for translating ancient Buddhist ideas for a modern audience. She’s written nine books including the award-winning How Not to Be Afraid of Your Own Life, The Wisdom of a Broken Heart, and Start Here Now: An Open-Hearted Guide to the Path and Practice of Meditation. Piver launched the Open Heart Project in 2011, which has since become the world’s largest online mindfulness community.

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The Four Noble Truths of Love

Buddhist Wisdom for Modern Relationships

By Susan Piver
  • Read in 12 minutes
  • Audio & text available
  • Contains 7 key ideas
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The Four Noble Truths of Love by Susan Piver
Synopsis

The Four Noble Truths of Love (2018) brings ancient Buddhist wisdom out of the monastery and into the bedroom. By adapting the timeless insights taught by the Buddha 2,500 years ago to the nature of love, it shines a light through the murky mess of modern romance.

Key idea 1 of 7

The Four Noble Truths are the foundation of Buddhist philosophy.

The Four Noble Truths were taught by the Buddha more than 2,500 years ago. They were his first teachings after achieving enlightenment, and they form the basis of the Buddhist philosophy.

Siddhartha Gautama – the Buddha’s given name – was born a prince. His upbringing was so sheltered that he didn’t lay eyes on people who were elderly, sick, or dying until he was a grown man.

Dismayed by these revelatory experiences, he renounced his life of luxury in the hope of finding the meaning of existence and an end to suffering. After several years of fasting, begging, and other forms of chastity, Gautama finally resolved to sit beneath a Bodhi tree until the truth revealed itself to him. It’s said he sat beneath that tree for 49 days before achieving enlightenment, at which point he returned to share what he’d learned – the four truths about existence.

The key message here is: The Four Noble Truths are the foundation of Buddhist philosophy.

The First Noble Truth is: Life is suffering. That’s not to say that everything’s bad. Suffering here refers to a base-level discomfort that we can’t ever quite get rid of. This discomfort stems from the fact that everything in life is transient. We try to hold onto things – good looks, possessions, relationships – but everything ultimately passes through our fingers. As a result, we suffer a great deal of anxiety about what awaits us in the future, and we sorrow for what we’ve left behind in the past.

However, it’s not transience per se that causes suffering. This is where the Second Noble Truth comes in: The cause of suffering is attachment. In other words, we suffer because we can’t bear to let go of the things we’ve become attached to.

Now that we know the cause of suffering, we arrive at the Third Noble Truth: It’s possible to end suffering. In order to do that, we have to accept reality for what it is. Knowing that everything in life comes and goes, we must – as far as possible – relinquish our attachments to things.

But how exactly do we achieve this? Well, the Fourth Noble Truth says that there is a path for transcending suffering. This path is known in Buddhism as the Noble Eightfold Path. It offers the various components of the Buddhist’s moral life; if followed conscientiously, these will lead to enlightenment.

So, that’s it – the Four Noble Truths of Buddhism. These are the basis for the Noble Truths of Love, which, as we’ll see, follow this same structure.

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