About 2600 years ago in Northern India, a man named Siddhartha Gotama, who became the Buddha, discovered the Four Noble Truths.  According to what we understand, after being somewhat shocked when coming in contact with what we now call the Four Messengers; Old Age, Illness and Death, and then seeing a homeless spiritual seeker or mendicant, Siddhartha had a realization that his sheltered life as a Prince would no longer do.  In my understanding he had some sort of an existential crisis and left his home seeking answers.

Siddhartha studied with two of the greatest teachers of his day but still did not experience the awakening and answers to his questions he so deeply desired.  At some point he decided to meditate until the answers came.  The result is what we call the Buddha's Four Noble Truths.  Since that time people have been practicing with these teachings and finding a way to reduce and eliminate their suffering.  I hope you find them as helpful as I do.

2. The cause of suffering is craving.  We crave for things to be different than they actually are.  This ends up causing us suffering.  Samudaya is the Pali word for arising which is what we experience when a craving "arises"   Tanha is the Pali word meaning thirst or desire to describe the feeling of the craving which arises and leads to suffering..  

3. The end of suffering is possible.   Nirodha is the word to describe the ending - which is what this Third Noble truth tells us, that there is an ending to the suffering we experience, and it is available to us with the right effort..  

4. The path to the end of suffering is available. The word Magga means path - that the Noble Eightfold Path is what leads us to the end of suffering.   Dukkhanirodhagaminipatipada  is another word used in this Fourth Noble truth - it means "the way leading to the ending of pain".    That is where this path can lead for all of us.


The Buddha discovered this path that leads to the end of suffering.  Luckily for the world, he decided to teach what he had found.  With the generosity and kindness of millions of individuals throughout history we still have access to these beautiful teachings today.   

This path is often described as an Eight Spoked Wheel, called a Dharmacakra.


These four qualities of heart and mind were taught by the Buddha.  They are known by many different names,  BrahmaVihara or "abode of Brahma",  the Divine Abodes and the Four Immeasureables.  They are described in this way because through the practice of developing these mind states in meditation our mind and heart opens, the experience described as immeasurable.  During practice we offer these qualities of heart and mind to all beings everywhere - beginning first to ourselves, next to people who have and are helpful and supportive to us,  on to strangers, then family and friends, next people we may hold resentments or grudges towards and then last we offer them to all beings everywhere.   This is done regularly and as we practice the four states of kindness, compassion, appreciation and equanimity eventually we begin to become more kind, compassionate, appreciative and equanimous.  

Metta Guided Meditation 

Karuna Guided Meditation 

Appreciative Joy Guided Meditation 

The Metta Sutta recording 


I have two recorded guided meditations on my Insight Timer page of this teaching. An easy way to remember these is to use these five words:

Five daily reflections recording 

Aging, Illness, Death, Separation, Karma

The Buddha’s teaching of the Upajjhaṭṭhana Sutta  (AN 5:57) he gave five facts that he said one should reflect on often, regardless of who we were.

“There are these five facts that one should reflect on often, whether one is a woman or a man, lay or ordained. Which five?

"'I am subject to aging, have not gone beyond aging.' This is the first fact that one should reflect on often, whether one is a woman or a man, lay or ordained.

"'I am subject to illness, have not gone beyond illness.' 

"'I am subject to death, have not gone beyond death.' 

"'I will grow different, separate from all that is dear and appealing to me.' ...

"'I am the owner of my actions, heir to my actions, born of my actions, related through my actions, and have my actions as my arbitrator. Whatever I do, for good or for evil, to that will I fall heir.' ...

"These are the five facts that one should reflect on often, whether one is a woman or a man, lay or ordained."

The Four Establishments or Foundations of Mindfulness - satipatthana

This teaching by the Buddha is the most well known and complete practice about mindfulness  - according to Bhikkhu Analayo "The Direct Path to Realization".  The four practices train us in mindfulness in four main areas - which I understand covers pretty much everything,.  

First Foundation - Body and Breath - from knowing the body breathes, the arms and legs eyes and teeth, insides, bodily fluids and processes, to aging, sickness and death and decay.  All of it.

Second Foundation the second foundation explores what is called the feeling tones of an experience. We are being mindful of whether our current experience is pleasant, unpleasant, or neutral. Getting to understand and know how we experience something is incredibly important.

Third Foundation - Mindfulness of the mind. Paying attention to what the mind does - what arises and what the response is. 

Fourth Foundation - Mindfulness of Dhammas,  what is the truth of this experience?  The teachings take us through 108 areas, the hindrances, awakening factors, the four noble truths and more.

Bhikkhu Analayo's books "satipatthana" is one of the greatest modern sources along with his own commentary and practice guides.  He also has an online guided meditation practice to help deepen our understanding of how to actually practice it.  Windhorse publications is where you can find this.

Joseph Goldstein's book "Mindfulness" is a great resource.

Bhikkhu Bodhi has also written wonderfully about this subject.

This is not a practice for occasional use. To really gain insight and concentration from what the Buddha offered us in this we must sit with it over and over.  Dedicate ourselves to practice.