Preface

This small booklet was compiled and edited from talks given by Venerable Ajahn Sumedho on the central teaching of the Buddha: that the unhappiness of humanity can be overcome through spiritual means.

The teaching is conveyed through the Buddha's Four Noble Truths, first expounded in 528 BC in the Deer Park at Sarnath near Varanasi and kept alive in the Buddhist world ever since.

Venerable Ajahn Sumedho is a bhikkhu (mendicant monk) of the Theravada tradition of Buddhism. He was ordained in Thailand in 1966 and trained there for ten years. He is currently the Abbot of Amaravati Buddhist Centre as well as teacher and spiritual guide to many bhikkhus, Buddhist nuns and lay people.

This booklet has been made available through the voluntary efforts of many people for the welfare of others.

Note on the Text:

The first exposition of the Four Noble Truths was a discourse (sutta) called Dhammacakkappavattana Sutta — literally, 'the discourse that sets the vehicle of the teaching in motion.' Extracts from this are quoted at the beginning of each chapter describing the Four Truths. The reference quoted is to the section in the books of the scriptures where this discourse can be found. However, the theme of the Four Noble Truths recurs many times, for example in the quotation that appears at the beginning of the Introduction.

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