Buddhas Third Noble Truth – The End of Suffering

Buddhas Third Noble Truth – The Truth of the Cessation or End of Suffering

Now that we’ve identified the problem (First Noble Truth) and found the root cause of the problem (Second Noble Truth), we can move on to the Third Noble Truth of the cessation (nirodha) of dukkha (suffering, craving; pronounced doo-ka) which can be seen as the prognosis.
Buddha Third Noble Truth

Gautama Buddha realized under the Bodhi tree that everything that arises has a cause, no exceptions.  Not only this, but anything subject to arising is also subject to cessation (an end) which also includes dukkha (suffering, craving).

Keep in mind that the word Nirodha (cessation) does not refer to the cessation of one’s self, but rather to the cessation of craving which binds us to Samsara.

But that doesn’t mean we disappear or that the world disappears.  But even so, we can say that the “world of ignorance” (our misperception of the world) falls away and ceases when we experience cessation.

Buddhas Third Noble Truth

Kalpasutra folio on Mahavira Nirvana

With Nirvana comes cessation of dukkha (suffering, craving) though when cessation does occur, we may experience a temporary state of Nirvana when the causes of suffering have left our minds.  And while we walk the path to Nirvana we experience more and more bliss, which is an encouraging thought.

Here is a good description of what cessation is like according to the sutra Majjhima Kaya 149.9:

“One’s bodily and mental troubles are abandoned, one’s bodily and mental torments are abandoned, one’s bodily and mental fevers are abandoned, and one experiences bodily and mental pleasure.”

Nirvana itself is impossible to put into words and is rather like trying to explain what seeing is like to a blind man.  This is something that can only be experienced, but even though it may seem unattainable to our deluded minds, the Buddha taught that we can “achieve” Nirvana in this life.

Buddhas Third Noble Truth is a beautiful and elegant teaching which teaches us that not only can suffering be overcome, but it is possible to live in a state of true happiness and contentment in this life.

The fact remains that we will never fully be able to escape pain since it is present in our day to day cyclic existence, though we can change our perspective about it.  And we, no longer cling to outside things or to our own delusions and experience the universe as Bliss (or joy).

Ignorance is thinking that one already has the answers and that one has attained Nirvana, but this is foolish since they are simply getting rid of one delusion only to replace it with another.

So do we observe and care for our suffering and so overcome it, or do we fight against our suffering and make it worse and worse?

If we accept dukkha (suffering, craving) as the nature of the dualistic reality that we live in and see ourselves in everyone else, then we experience the joy of the Oneness and interdependence of everything.

“This noble truth of the cessation of suffering is to be realized: thus  bhikkhus, in regard to things unheard before, there arose in me vision, knowledge, wisdom, true knowledge, and light.”

I think His Holiness the 14th Dalai Lama summed it up perfectly when he said the following about Buddhas Third Noble Truth:

buddhas third noble truth

“We are all the same as human beings; we have the same potential. The ultimate source of peace of mind is within us.” – Tenzin Gyatso the 14th Dalai Lama

May we attain perfect Buddhahood for the sake of all beings!


I’d just like to point out before I reach the end of this article to remind everyone that I have not experienced cessation nor have I experienced Nirvana, but I can try to imagine it.  The important thing is to not get attached to these ideas because once attained it will most likely be completely different than you expect in your mind.

Let me know if you have any thoughts or questions by commenting below, and be sure to check out my recommendations for further reading as well.

Dalai Lama 2016 Wall Calendar – $14.99

from: Calendars.com

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10 Responses to Buddhas Third Noble Truth – The End of Suffering

  1. Nicki says:

    The teachings of buddha should be recommended reading for those that suffer constant negativity. If you are always seeking to better yourself while also seeing yourself in others, you’d leave very little time for negativity, or suffering. It seems there is a lot of self-inflicted suffering in the world. The Noble truths as a guide would be so helpful for everyone. This was a great read.

    • Ian H says:

      Hi Nicki,

      Yes, I certainly agree that such reading would be beneficial but at the same time, if people are not ready for a teaching then we can’t force them. They need to find the answer within for themselves and stop attacking themselves and others.

      The Dalai Lama once said that if all children today were taught the Dharma (even in basic form) and practiced contemplation and meditation then war would disappear in a few generations.

  2. Dylan says:

    Hey, this is a really great website with so much information. It looks really cool too.

    This is an incredible post. I’ve heard of a few Buddhist concepts before and never really knew the meaning behind them.

    This though cleared the third noble truth up though. My favorite line was putting nirvana into words is like explaining what seeing is to a blind man. Those are very true words.

    Nirvana seems like a tough but worthy experience to work towards and I’m sure only a few people have truly gotten it.

    More people should read this and this kind of stuff.

    Thanks! You write so well too.

    • Ian H says:

      Thanks for the kind words. Nirvana isn’t something you can hold in your mind but rather something to be experienced in the present moment, and I think more people have attained than we think. But then again, it takes one to know one.

  3. Chris says:

    Some people in certain countries suffer far too much even when it’s not their fault. Buddhism is an interesting practice because it teaches you to have more self control as well as kindness towards other people. That is something that I feel a lot of people are missing and that can also be a root cause of suffering in the world unfortunately.

    Nice page!


    • Ian H says:

      Thanks a lot for your comment! Yes, I definitely agree with you, I think more people would do well to remember the Dharma.

  4. Chris says:

    Like I probably have mentioned before suffering in this world is an ongoing thing. We need to realize others pain before we can even start to make a change. Your page is a prime example of why we need to smarten up about being at peace with everyone else.

    Nice work!


    • Ian H says:

      Hey Chris,

      We can only be truly at peace with one another once we realize that on a very fundamental level there is no separation between us and everything else. We begin to see everyone as the Buddha and ourselves as without an intrinsically separated existence. This is the beginning of true selflessness and compassion.

      Thanks for commenting!

  5. Marcus says:

    This reminds of a song by a band called DeVision called Life is Suffering. Anyway, I’m wondering whether this Nirvana is what Eckhart Tolle experienced. He was extremely suicidally depressed for the first 29 years of his life, and one night he lay awake feeling like he could not go on anymore. Then he was drawn into a void and his ego dissolved, and he woke up the next morning in a state of bliss. Everything was beautiful, even the traffic. Do you think that sounds like the same thing?

    • Ian H says:

      I have a lot of respect for Eckhart Tolle and I like the way he lays out everything so simply so that anyone of any spiritual background can begin to apply the teachings. And yes I do think that he experienced a sort of enlightenment but I can’t say for sure because I’m not enlightened myself. It certainly seems like it and he seems to show all the signs of such an understanding. Especially when he says “Nirvana is here now”.

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