The 4 Noble Truths according to Koun Franz

Zen monk Koun Franz has a baby (2009) and ties the experience into his teaching about the 4 noble truths. The links are to MP3s on the Alaska Zen site. Here are some notes/thoughts I've jotted down


  1. Noble Truth 1: All experience is characterised by Dukkha

    I wish high school presented Buddhism more like this monk did.  My encounter with Buddhism through these classes made it sound horribly unnatural, zapping the humanity out of people.

    But dukkha is not quite the same as “suffering”. Hard to translate, way more subtle than that, a sort of permanent dissatisfaction with the way things are. The way “out” — it's still always going to be there no matter what — is not some pale extinction of what makes us people or some kind of dharma passionate zeal. You can be a Buddhist without zapping all the stuff that makes you a Standard Issue Human Being. Buddhism for Normal People?
  2. Noble Truth 2: Dukhha is a result of attachment

    Exploring (not denouncing) the many different kinds of desires, thirsts.  Subtle, often mundane, universal, ever-present.  Thirsts: sense pleasure, existence/becoming, non-existence.
  3. Noble Truth 3: There is a way out of dukkha: letting go of attachement
    Transcending attachment is including attachment and moving beyond it.  Not a rejection thereof. 
  4. Noble Truth 4: 8 fold path
    Right… understanding, thought, speech, action, livelihood, effort, mindfulness, concentration

    Interesting is the commentary of where things went a bit wrong when Zen first came to America and ran into the counter-culture at the time.  Distortion of “do what feels authentic to you”… Nope! « What Zen really says is “show some humility towards your life, make real effort moment to moment, and get over yourself” »