Buddha realised the Truth about suffering and its causes, he
spent six years committed to discovering a realization about
the end of suffering that, and his achievement of Nirvana,
were his ultimate achievements. In those six years, the Buddha
tried all the methods available to end suffering without success.
Eventually He found his own solution to the problems of life
and they are now the core of Buddhist thought, teachings and
what he discovered: there is an end to suffering; it can happen
to anybody, anywhere, here and now; and the key to ending all
suffering is to remove all desire, ill will and ignorance.
the Buddha taught, there is supreme happiness. Every step of
the way to removing the causes of unhappiness brings more joy.
On the path to the end of suffering, which is a path that Buddhists
may spend their whole lifetimes practicing, there are levels
of happiness and freedom from craving and ignorance that can
be achieved. In the beginning the happiness might be through
better material conditions: like more contentment, or better
spiritual conditions; more peace and enjoyment of life. These
are the reasons Buddhists can live happily without greed
even among people in cities overcome with craving and desire.
They can live happily without anger even among people harbouring
ill will. These kinds of happiness make life more rewarding
and bring a sense of freedom and joy.
teachings say that the more people free themselves from desire,
ill will and ignorance, the greater their happiness is
no matter what is going on around them. When they have completely
removed desire, ill will and ignorance the Buddha says they
will experience the same supreme happiness he discovered.
fruit of the end of suffering is what Buddhists call supreme
Enlightenment. Enlightenment can be called liberation
a total, absolute and permanent end of all suffering. It is
the ultimate and final goal of Buddhism.
many, many qualities to enlightenment, but the most important
are perfect wisdom and great compassion. These are the extraordinary
qualities that only the Buddha perfected. They are the result
of complete freedom from craving and from ignorance and the
tremendous transformations from ordinary life that Buddha's
teachings exemplified. Through perfect wisdom He understands
the real nature of all things. Through great compassion He is
able to help countless beings overcome their suffering.
of Enlightenment or Nirvana, as it is also called, is very difficult
to explain. Even when Buddhists describe it as supreme happiness
and perfect wisdom, they are not really explaining it completely.
Nirvana cannot be put into words imagine explaining the
colour blue to a person who has always been blind, or the sound
of a bird to a deaf man. Enlightenment is an experience that
a person has to have for themselves to understand. Buddhists
believe that the Buddha's teachings will lead them to Nirvana
and trust his teachings of the Four Noble Truths to take them
to their goal.
has described Nirvana in different ways. He has called it supreme
happiness, peace, immortality. He also described Nirvana as
uncreated, unformed, as beyond the earth, as beyond water, fire,
air, beyond the sun and moon, unfathomable, immeasurable. It
is also described as freedom from conflict and selfishness,
the eradication of craving, hatred and delusion.
said, and demonstrated through his own life, that Nirvana can
be achieved in our lives, while living it is not a place
to which we go after death. Buddhists believe that we can eradicate
all the causes of suffering in this life, and achieve enlightenment
live in bliss, if we follow the Buddha's teachings.
have confidence that the Buddha did find an end to suffering,
and that His teachings can bring them the same experience. The
key to ending suffering is to remove all desire, ill will and
ignorance. Without these causes of suffering we can experience
absolute happiness, perfect wisdom, peace and all the qualities
of Enlightenment. Nirvana cannot be described, it is only understood
truly by a person who has experienced it.