Gem of Wisdom for Daily Reflection: 

What are the Universal Principles of the Single Truth in Nature?

The Universal Principles of the Single Truth encompass many fundamental components within both the physical and the non-physical realm. The most important one is the understanding of the Four Noble Truths as expounded by Lord Shakyamuni Buddha on the true nature of existence. Namely: existence is an endless progression of unsatisfactoriness due to the ever-changing factors in worldly conditions; the arising of unsatisfactoriness has its origin; the cessation of unsatisfactoriness is a feasible reality; and, there is a time-honoured way leading to cessation.

The First Noble Truth describes how existence in the world is essentially unsatisfactory because the characteristic of existence is one of impermanency. Regardless of whom or with what we desire to form an attachment, mentally, physically or both, it is still the result of conditioned causation which dictates its arising and passing. Even the feeling of pleasure we come to enjoy is one of unsatisfactoriness in nature since it is inevitably subject to ending, thus not only is it far from satisfactory, it reveals its true character that what we deem as a source of pleasure is also the source of its unsatisfactoriness for they arise from the same source.

The Second Noble Truth offers insight into the root causes of the unsatisfactoriness we are experiencing in the present time as the ripening effect dependently linked to the seeds we have previously sown as a result of our past transgression in thought, speech and action.

The Third Noble Truth confirms that cessation of unsatisfactoriness can be brought about through the extinction of the Three Poisons which obscure our view of the true nature of our condition. Whoever has been thus corrupted is likened to finding themselves in the thick of a forest and yet incapable of seeing the wood. The Three Poisons are: Egocentric Passion which gives rise to sensuous desire for transitory sense-objects and the longing to feel in control of the uncontrollable; Aversion to Wholesome Action which gives rise to aggression, anger, hatred, and envy; and Ignorance of the Nature of Absolute Reality which gives rise to bewilderment and conceit, which contribute to the causes of further unsatisfactoriness in the future.

The Fourth Noble Truth is the Middle Way of Non-Extremes. Its approach towards cessation of unsatisfactoriness is one that is based neither on self-gratification nor self-mortification; for both methods are merely different modes of self-denial of the truth and, thus, are non-beneficial. The Middle Way has eight interacting components known collectively as the Noble Eightfold Paths, which together as a whole constitute part of the 37 branches of practice conducive to the True Awakening of Wisdom.

The Noble Eightfold Paths are: Perfect Understanding - the wholesome view based on the comprehension of the Four Noble Truths and the non-individuality of existence; Perfect Thought - resolve in favour of wholesome action; Perfect Speech - avoidance of lying, harsh speech, divisive talk & pointless gossip; Perfect Action - abstinence from comportment of ethical conflicts; Perfect Livelihood - avoidance of professions which are harmful to other beings; Perfect Effort - cultivation and preservation of wholesome factors while restraining and subduing unwholesome factors; Perfect Mindfulness - continuous attention to body, feeling, consciousness and objects of thought projections; Perfect Concentration - concentration of mind, leading to the attainment of an ultimate state of meditative absorption.