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Siddhattha Gotama was born in a royal family of the Sakyan tribe of northern India. Realising that all who were born, inevitably had to suffer from old age, sickness and death, he renounced his comfortable and privileged life to seek for the deathless nibbāna.
After six years he discovered the right method, which he called the Noble Eightfold Path. Through developing this path of mental discipline he attained the destruction of all mental defilements and became a Fully Enlightened, All Knowing Buddha. His awakening took place at the age of thirty-five. Until his death at the age of more than eighty, he wandered throughout the Ganges valley, teaching all who desired liberation.
We like pleasant feelings and dislike unpleasant feelings because we are ignorant of their true characteristics. If we gain insight, craving and suffering will cease.
To gain insight we must renounce attachment and craving. We must meditate to gain deep concentration.
If the mind is scattered in all directions we cannot realise the true nature of the mental and physical processes, so we will remain ignorant of the truth however much we know about the Dhamma.
We must practise meditation to remove prejudice and illusions. We must observe the mind and body to see their true nature, and to gain insight into the Dhamma.
The Buddha’s Way to liberation overcomes suffering by removing the primary causes, which are craving and ignorance.
“This, monks, is the only way for the purification of beings,
for the transcendence of grief and lamentation,
for the extinction of pain and sorrow,
for attaining the right method,
for the realisation of nibbāna;
namely, the four foundations of mindfulness.”