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The Buddhas Four Noble Truths A Logical Basis for Philosophy The Buddha Shakyamuni was born in the 6th century BCE in the area presently known as Nepal During his 80 year lifetime he systematically developed a pragmatic empirically based philosophy which he claimed would lead its followers towards an enlightened existence Buddhism is commonly called a religion however it differs from the usual definition of a religion in that it has no deities does not promote worship of demigods and is based on logical reasoning and observation rather than spiritual faith At the heart of Buddhist philosophy is the Buddhas enumeration of Four Noble Truths Dukkha suffering Samudaya origin of suffering Nirodha cessation of suffering and Magga path to cessation of suffering The Buddhas Four Noble Truths are based on archetypal traits that were elucidated through careful empirical observance and intensive introspection These Four Noble Truths form a logically coherent set of axioms upon which the whole of Buddhism is based and provide a solid foundation for a philosophy which is applicable several millennia after its formulation1 What we call a being or an individual or I according to Buddhist philosophy is only a combination of ever-changing physical and mental forces or energies - Walpola Rahula2 In order to fully understand the Four Noble Truths it is necessary to investigate the Buddhist view of the individual and its makeup In some respects the manner in which Buddhism deals with the mindbody problem is much more advanced than most religious views and closer to sciences understanding of the mind and body Rather than postulating the existence of an eternal soul with no physical manifestation the Buddha taught that the person is really a collection of five skandhas or aggregates These include rupa matter vedana sensations sanna perceptions samkhara mental formations and vijnana consciousness The aggregate of matter encompasses all tangible aspects of the world The aggregate
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