Skillful Understanding: The Four Noble Truths: The End of Dissatisfaction II

Eight Mindful Steps to Happiness (pp. 46-50)

Third Noble Truth, The End of Dissatisfaction

The Third Noble truth reveals the cure, the cessation of all attachment.

How does one cultivate total cessation where:

“You are living the deathless; you are no longer defined by, living from, or identified with whatever is arising and passing?”  –Dancing with Life, p 156

Practicing choiceless awareness through meditation is a start.  When off of the cushion, practicing mindfulness when dissatisfaction or suffering arises is beneficial.  Mindfulness in this context is seeing the emptiness of the experience and seeing the attachment if it arises.  Attachment can come in many forms such as judgment, commentary and decision-making.

Mindfulness helps one realize “not knowing.”  Knowing is a product of the mind and is an attachment.  As Ajahn Sumedho notes in his book, The Four Noble Truths, “We reflect as we see the nature of desire; as we recognize that attachment to desire is suffering.  Then we have the insight of allowing desire to go and the realization of non-suffering, that is the cessation of suffering.  These insights can only come through reflection – through really contemplating and pondering these truths, they cannot come through belief.”  p 40

Life is your teacher – there is no need to create a practice environment. As you experience brief moments of release from cessation, the moments of release will expand.

Remember, “All that is subject to arising is subject to ceasing.”

Useful practices recommended by Phillip Moffitt in Dancing with Life include:

  • In meditation, note the arising and falling away of phenomena (thoughts, memories, sensations, perceptions.)  The falling away of one phenomena before the start of another is similar to cessation.
  • In daily life practice, notice the arising and falling of pleasant and unpleasant feelings.  Note how this affects your body and mind.  Notice how your reactions last long after the passing away of the phenomena.
  • Focus your attention on others and their reactions and how this affects you.
  • Reflect on the arising and falling of phenomena.  By direct inquiry, you can note cessation.
  • Notice the  burning of the phenomena that arise and the disenchantment you develop over time.


  • Work with the practices noted above and see what you discover.

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