Let us examine the four ‘noble truths’ about suffering in Buddhism. These are the core teachings of the Buddha that explain the nature of suffering and the way to liberation.
I did some research with the bible passages attributed to Jesus and found some commonly known verses that fit well into the categories of the Buddhist analysis of suffering. The bolded words show the main theme of the Buddhist ‘noble truth’ and the Bible verses below show the Biblical concordances.
First Noble Truth
The first noble truth is that life is suffering. This means that we experience pain, dissatisfaction, and imperfection in our existence. We suffer because we are attached to things that are impermanent and changeable.
John 16:33. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.
1 Corinthians 10:13. No temptation has overtaken you except what is common to mankind. And God is faithful; he will not let you be tempted beyond what you can bear. But when you are tempted, he will also provide a way out so that you can endure it.
Second Noble Truth
The second noble truth is that the cause of suffering is craving. This means that we desire things that we do not have, or we cling to things that we have. We crave sensual pleasures, material possessions, fame, power, and even our own existence.
Matthew 6:33. But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well.
1 Peter 5:7. Cast all your anxiety on Jesus because he cares for you”
Third Noble Truth
The third noble truth is that the end of suffering is possible. This means that we can overcome our craving and attachment by realizing the true nature of reality. We can attain a state of peace and happiness that is free from suffering.
1 Corinthians 10:31. So whether you eat or drink or whatever you do, do it all for the glory of God.
Fourth Noble Truth
The fourth noble truth is that the path to the end of suffering is the noble eightfold path. This means that we can follow a set of ethical and spiritual practices that lead us to wisdom and compassion. The eightfold path consists of the right view, right intention, right speech, right action, right livelihood, right effort, right mindfulness, and right concentration.
Mark 12:30. Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength. Matthew 22:39. Love your neighbor as yourself. 1 Thessalonians 5:16. Rejoice always. Philippians 4:4. Rejoice in the Lord always; again I will say, Rejoice. 1 Thessalonians 5:17. Pray without ceasing. 1 Thessalonians 5:18. Give thanks in all circumstances; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.
The Author’s Perspective
Both the Buddhist noble truths and the biblical verses provide guidance on how to deal with suffering, but they differ in their approach. The Buddhist teachings focus on understanding the nature of suffering and the path towards liberation from suffering with intentional actions. The biblical verses encourage believers to trust in God and find comfort in His promises.
The author prefers the Christian way because it encompasses a universalism and humility that appeals to him. The Christian way encourages believers to rely on God and find comfort in His love, which can be a source of strength and hope in times of suffering. Additionally, the idea of universalism (love your neighbor) and humility (Give thanks in all circumstances) are very attractive, as it emphasizes the importance of compassion, forgiveness, and service to others.
One thought on “The Four Buddhist ‘Noble Truths’ About Suffering and the Biblical Concordances”
Very well said. You have brought out the similarities between two faiths, and how it can be effectively put to practical use.