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Seeing the Four Noble Truths

Module 5 of An Introduction to Buddhism

The fundamental doctrine of Buddhism is that peace is possible even amidst the impermanence of the world.

Photo by Jake Barnes, CC BY 2.0

Reading Assignments

What the Buddha Taught – Walpola Rahula (.pdf)

We’ll start with Rahula’s description of the First Noble Truth by reading the Dukkha chapter of WTBT.

Fundamentals of Buddhism – Peter D. Santina (.pdf)

Then continue with chapters three and four of Fundamentals: two lectures covering all four Truths.

Biography of Shakyamuni Buddha – Ven Master Hsing Yun (.pdf) (.epub) (.pdf) (.epub)

And, if you’ve been reading the Buddha’s story, continue with Chapters 10–13 on the Buddha’s Renunciation.


The Fundamental Teachings – Bhikkhu Bodhi (.ogg)

Bhikkhu Bodhi returns for his second lecture to frame the Buddha’s teachings.

Further Reading

If you’d like to read even more about the Four Noble Truths, Ajahn Sumedho has a short book of talks on the subject and Ayya Khema has this nice talk on them as well.


To check your understanding, here are some questions to consider about the Four Noble Truths and when you’re ready for the next reading assignments: