The Third Noble Truth: Summary

Dancing with Life (DWL) Chapter 17

The Three Insights

The first insight of the Third Noble Truth is the insight of non-attachment expressed as “All that is subject to arising is subject to ceasing.”  With this knowledge, we have a deeper appreciation of impermanence.

The second insight is experiencing cessation.  Four practices were suggested:  Non-task, Task, Others and Moment to Moment. We also learn from the Buddha’s Fire Sermon that all that arises has energy (burning) and the realization of this gives us further motivation to achieve cessation and dispassion (not being affected by strong feeling or emotions).  We need not be defined by our reactions that come from wanting, aversion and ignorance (delusion)

The third insight is knowing that the cessation of suffering has been directly experienced.  This is a shift in consciousness moving from a distortion in perception of permanence to one of impermanence.  Without making a goal of achieve cessation, we make it an intention to be aware (mindful) of “All that arises is subject to ceasing.”  Things are just what they are.

Measuring Your Progress Toward Cessation.

As you experience cessation, you can ask yourself these questions.  Is my practice stronger?  Do I suffer less?  Do I cause less suffering?  Do I have a clearer, calmer perspective in daily life?  Am I making my life my practice?

You can trust that your practice is beneficial when you have moments of:  knowing that you are suffering less because of your practice, feeling that wholeness that come with choosing to dance with life and knowing that your mind is free.

Moffitt described this process as passing through three stages of awareness.  The first stage is the realization that your suffering is the result of the way you are, not the way the world is.  You are less tormented by greed, ill-will and delusion.  The second stage is ceasing to identify with your ego sense of self.  The third stage is you have achieved total cessation and the observer is gone as there is only total awareness.  All that is left is luminous mind.

“This fully evolved stage is often described as unborn, uncreated, and unmanifest unborn, because it is not defined by conventional time with its cycle of birth and death; uncreated because there is nothing beyond it that originated it; and unmanifest, because even though it appears to be present in time, it cannot be located anywhere in space/time.  It is your achievement of transparency that allows it to be seen and felt so directly.  Because your mind has awakened and become transparent to this pure awareness, it is now part of that great impersonal illuminating source for all life.


  • Reread this talk and reflect on it.  Is your intention to achieve cessation strengthened?


  • Meditate as usual in your daily practice being mindful of what arises and falls away.  Keep observing cessation.

Next: The Fourth Noble Truth: Insight 1 There is a practice leading to the cessation of suffering Previous: The Third Noble Truth: Insight 3 The Cessation of Suffering has been Directly Experienced