Sunday, January 29, 2012

The Mind's Own Physician: A Scientific Dialogue with the Dalai Lama on the Healing Power of Meditation

By inviting the Dalai Lama and leading researchers in medicine, psychology, and neuroscience to join in conversation, the Mind & Life Institute set the stage for a fascinating exploration of the healing potential of the human mind. The Mind’s Own Physician presents in its entirety the thirteenth Mind and Life dialogue, a discussion addressing a range of vital questions concerning the science and clinical applications of meditation: How do meditative practices influence pain and human suffering? What role does the brain play in emotional well-being and health? To what extent can our minds actually influence physical disease? Are there important synergies here for transforming health care, and for understanding our own evolutionary limitations as a species?
Edited by world-renowned researchers Jon Kabat-Zinn and Richard J. Davidson, this book presents this remarkably dynamic interchange along with intriguing research findings that shed light on the nature of the mind, its capacity to refine itself through training, and its role in physical and emotional health.  Click here to buy from Amazon

Freedom in Exile: The Autobiography of The Dalai Lama

In this astonishingly frank autobiography, the Dalai Lama reveals the remarkable inner strength that allowed him to master both the mysteries of Tibetan Buddhism and the brutal realities of Chinese Communism.

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Insight from the Dalai Lama: 2012 Day-to-Day Calendar

For more than sixty years, His Holiness the Dalai Lama has been the spiritual leader of Tibet and a champion of human rights and nonviolence. Known worldwide for his views on compassion, self-discipline, and meditation, the Dalai Lama inspires millions of people to live according to his teachings. The Insight from the Dalai Lama 2012 Day-to-Day Calendar offers a meaningful quote from the Dalai Lama on each page, revealing that true altruistic enlightenment is attainable to all of us. Click here to buy from Amazon

The Dalai Lama's Little Book of Inner Peace: The Essential Life and Teachings

His Holiness the Dalai Lama offers powerful, profound advice on how to live a peaceful and fulfilling life amidst all the conflicts of the modern world.
In this distillation of his life and teachings, the Dalai Lama paints a compelling portrait of his early life, reflecting on the personal and political struggles that have helped to shape his understanding of our world. Offering his wisdom and experience to interpret the timeless teachings of the Buddha, The Dalai Lama's Little Book of Inner Peace is fresh and relevant to our troubled times. He explains in a simple and accessible way how each of us can influence those around us by living with integrity. And he holds out hope that, through personal transformation, we can all contribute to a better world. Click here to buy from Amazon

The Path to Tranquility: Daily Wisdom (Compass)

The Dalai Lama serves as a living symbol of holiness and selfless triumph over tribulation for people of all religious traditions-as well as those with no religious affiliation at all. This collection of daily quotations drawn from His Holiness's own writings, teachings, and interviews offers words of guidance, compassion, and peace that are as down to earth as they are rich in spirit. Suffused with endearing informality, warmth, and practicality, they cover almost every aspect of human life, secular and religious--from loneliness, suffering, anger, and everyday insecurities to happiness, intimacy, and responsibility to others. With a special foreword by His Holiness on the power of meditation and personal responsibility, The Path to Tranquility is a fresh and accessible spiritual treasure to return to day after day, year after year. Click here to buy from Amazon

Beyond Religion: Ethics for a Whole World

A stirring call to move beyond religion for the guidance to improve human life on individual, community, and global levels—including a guided meditation practice for cultivating key human values
Ten years ago, in his best-selling Ethics for a New Millennium, His Holiness the Dalai Lama first proposed an approach to ethics based on universal rather than religious principles. Now, in Beyond Religion, the Dalai Lama, at his most compassionate and outspoken, elaborates and deepens his vision for the nonreligious way. Transcending the mere "religion wars," he outlines a system of secular ethics that gives tolerant respect to religion—those that ground ethics in a belief in God and an afterlife, and those that understand good actions as leading to better states of existence in future lives. And yet, with the highest level of spiritual and intellectual authority, the Dalai Lama makes a claim for what he calls a third way. This is a system of secular ethics that transcends religion as a way to recognize our common humanity and so contributes to a global human community based on understanding and mutual respect.
Beyond Religion is an essential statement from the Dalai Lama, a blueprint for all those who yearn for a life of spiritual fulfillment as they work for a better world.  Click here to buy from Amazon

Saturday, January 28, 2012

The Dalai Lama's Little Book of Wisdom

This gem, the sequel to The Dalai Lama's Little Book of Inner Peace, contains the essence of the Dalai Lama's teachings on life and death. Think of this as the essential guide to both living and dying well from one of the most important spiritual teachers of the 20th and 21st centuries.

Among the topics covered are:

   Contentment, Joy and Living Well
   Facing Death and Dying
   Dealing with Anger and Emotion
   Compassion--the Basis for Human Happiness
   Giving and Receiving

This charming packaged is designed for the busy person who is always on the go: a small format, flapped paperback that will easily fit in a purse, backpack, or briefcase.
                                                                        Click here to buy from Amazon

The Art of Happiness, 10th Anniversary Edition: A Handbook for Living

An updated edition of a beloved classic, the original book on happiness, with new material from His Holiness the Dalai Lama and Dr. Howard Cutler.

Nearly every time you see him, he?s laughing, or at least smiling. And he makes everyone else around him feel like smiling. He?s the Dalai Lama, the spiritual and temporal leader of Tibet, a Nobel Prize winner, and a hugely sought-after speaker and statesman. Why is he so popular? Even after spending only a few minutes in his presence you can?t help feeling happier.

If you ask him if he?s happy, even though he?s suffered the loss of his country, the Dalai Lama will give you an unconditional yes. What?s more, he?ll tell you that happiness is the purpose of life, and that ?the very motion of our life is toward happiness.? How to get there has always been the question. He?s tried to answer it before, but he?s never had the help of a psychiatrist to get the message across in a context we  
                                                         can easily understand.

The Art of Happiness is the book that started the genre of happiness books, and it remains the cornerstone of the field of positive psychology.

Through conversations, stories, and meditations, the Dalai Lama shows us how to defeat day-to-day anxiety, insecurity, anger, and discouragement. Together with Dr. Howard Cutler, he explores many facets of everyday life, including relationships, loss, and the pursuit of wealth, to illustrate how to ride through life?s obstacles on a deep and abiding source of inner peace. Based on 2,500 years of Buddhist meditations mixed with a healthy dose of common sense, The Art of Happiness is a book that crosses the boundaries of traditions to help readers with difficulties common to all human beings. After being in print for ten years, this book has touched countless lives and uplifted spirits around the world.  Click here to buy from Amazon

Ethics for the New Millennium

Here is a moral system based on universal rather than religious principles. Its ultimate goal is happiness for every individual regardless of religious belief. Though the Dalai Lama is himself a practicing Buddhist, his approach to life and the moral compass that guides him can lead each and every one of us-Muslim, Christian, Jew, or Atheist-to a happier, more fulfilling life. Click here to buy from Amazon

The Art of Happiness in a Troubled World

Blending common sense and modern psychiatry, The Art of Happiness in a Troubled World applies Buddhist tradition to twenty-first-century struggles in a relevant way. The result is a wise approach to dealing with human problems that is both optimistic and realistic, even in the most challenging times.

How can we expect to find happiness and meaning in our lives when the modern world seems such an unhappy place?

His Holiness the Dalai Lama has suffered enormously throughout his life, yet he always seems to be smiling and serene. How does he do it? In The Art of Happiness in a Troubled World, Dr. Cutler walks readers through the Dalai Lama's philosophy on how to achieve peace of mind and come to terms with life's inherent suffering. Together, the two examine the roots of many of the problems facing the world and show us how we can approach these calamities in a way that alleviates suffering, and helps us along in our personal quests to be happy. Through stories, meditations, and in-depth conversations, the Dalai Lama teaches readers to identify the cultural influences and ways of thinking that lead to personal unhappiness, making sense of the hardships we face personally, as well as the afflictions suffered by others.  Click here to buy from Amazon

Healing Anger: The Power of Patience from a Buddhist Perspective

Buddhist traditions unanimously state that compassion and love are the foundation of all paths of practice. To cultivate the potential for compassion and love inherent within us, it is crucial to counteract their opposing forces of anger and hatred. The Dalai Lama shows how patience and tolerance overcome the obstacles of anger and hatred. His Holiness presents the practice of the Six Perfections, the central role of bodhichitta, the twelve links of dependent origination, and offers a clear road map for the practitioner to achieve the goal of liberation. The techniques and methods are relevant for everyone—the Dalai Lama shows the power that patience and tolerance have to heal anger and to generate peace in the world.  Click here to buy from Amazon

The Middle Way: Faith Grounded in Reason

For nearly 2,000 years, Nagarjuna's teachings have occupied a central position in Mahayana Buddhism. An essential part of the study and practice in the great Indian Buddhist monastic universities, these teachings were later incorporated into the Tibetan monastic programs that modeled their curricula on their Indian predecessors. In The Middle Way, the Dalai Lama offers a brief, brilliant, and complete presentation of the ultimate view of reality in the Mahayana tradition of Buddhism. The teachings are about the Buddhist view, yet the Dalai Lama presents them in a way that allows any interested reader to grasp this profound outlook on life. Like his many books on compassion, The Middle Way is vitally important and universally applicable. With its release, the Dalai Lama adds his wisdom teachings to the already established recognition of his incomparable compassion. Click here to buy from Amazon

Becoming Enlightened

In Becoming Enlightened, His Holiness the Dalai Lama draws from traditional Buddhist meditative practices to present step-by-step contemplative exercises designed to expand the reader’s capacity for spiritual growth, along with clear milestones to mark progress. By following the spiritual practices outlined in Becoming Enlightened, readers can learn how to replace negative feelings with positive attitudes and embark on the path to achieving an exalted state within ourselves and within the larger world.
Complete with personal anecdotes and intimate accounts of the Dalai Lama’s experiences as a life-long student, meditator, political leader, Nobel Laureate, bestselling author, and revered international figure, Becoming Enlightened gives readers all the wisdom, support, guidance, and inspiration they need to become successful in their spiritual lives. This remarkable and empowering guide can be read and enjoyed by spiritual seekers of all faiths, as readers are captivated by His Holiness the Dalai Lama’s loving and direct teaching style. Click here to buy from Amazon

How to Be Compassionate: A Handbook for Creating Inner Peace and a Happier World

Each one of us is responsible for all of humankind, and for the environment in which we live. . . . We must seek to lessen the suffering of others. Rather than working solely to acquire wealth, we need to do something meaningful, something seriously directed toward the welfare of humanity as a whole. To do this, you need to recognize that the whole world is part of you. —from How to Be Compassionate
The surest path to true happiness lies in being intimately concerned with the welfare of others. Or, as His Holiness the Dalai Lama would say, in compassion.
In How to Be Compassionate, His Holiness reveals basic mistakes of attitude that lead us to inner turmoil, and how we can correct them to achieve a better tomorrow. He demonstrates precisely how opening our hearts and minds to other people is the best way to overcome the misguided ideas that are at the root of all our problems. He shows us how compassion can be a continuous wellspring of happiness in our own lives and how our newfound happiness can extend outward from us in ever wider and wider circles.
As we become more compassionate human beings, our friends, family, neighbors, loved ones—and even our enemies—will find themselves less frequently in the thrall of destructive emotions like anger, jealousy, and fear, prompting them to become more warmhearted, kind, and harmonious forces within their own circles. With simple language and startling clarity, His Holiness makes evident as never before that the path to global harmony begins in the hearts of individual women and men. Enlivened by personal anecdotes and intimate accounts of the Dalai Lama’s experiences as a student, thinker, political leader, and Nobel Peace Prize Laureate, How to Be Compassionate gives seekers of all faiths the keys to overcoming anger, hatred, and selfishness— the primary obstacles to happiness—and to becoming agents of positive transformation in our communities and the world at large. Click here to buy from Amazon

The Meaning of Life

In The Meaning of Life the Dalai Lama presents the basic worldview of Buddhism while answering some of life's most profound and challenging questions: Why are we in this situation? Where are we going? How should we live our lives? Do our lives have any meaning? Basing his explanation on the twelve links of dependent-arising as depicted in the Buddhist image of the Wheel of Life, His Holiness vividly describes how human beings become trapped in a counterproductive prison of selfishness and suffering, and shows how to reverse the process, changing the limiting prison into a source of help and happiness for others. Suffused with the Dalai Lama's intelligence, wit, and kindness, these teachings address such issues as how to deal with aggression from within and without; how to reconcile personal responsibility with the doctrine of selflessness; how to face a terminal illness; how to help someone who is dying; how to reconcile love for family with love for all beings; and how to integrate this practice into everyday life. Click here to buy from Amazon

The Good Heart: A Buddhist Perspective on the Teachings of Jesus

In this landmark book of interreligious dialogue, the Dalai Lama provides an extraordinary Buddhist perspective on the teachings of Jesus, commenting on well-known passages from the four Christian Gospels including the Sermon on the Mount, the parable of the mustard seed, the Resurrection, and others. Click here to buy from Amazon

How to See Yourself As You Really Are

According to His Holiness the Dalai Lama, we each possess the ability to achieve happiness and a meaningful life, but the key to realizing that goal is self-knowledge. In How to See Yourself As You Really Are, the world's foremost Buddhist leader and recipient of the Nobel Peace Prize shows readers how to recognize and dispel misguided notions of self and embrace the world from a more realistic -- and loving -- perspective. Through illuminating explanations and step-by-step exercises, His Holiness helps readers to see the world as it actually exists, and explains how, through the interconnection of meditative concentration and love, true altruistic enlightenment is attained.
Enlivened by personal anecdotes and intimate accounts of the Dalai Lama's own life experiences, How to See Yourself As You Really Are is an inspirational and empowering guide that can be read and enjoyed by anyone seeking spiritual fulfillment. Click here to buy from Amazon

In My Own Words: An Introduction to My Teachings and Philosophy

His Holiness the Dalai Lama is celebrated as Buddhism’s preeminent spiritual master and teacher, embodying the highest aspirations of this rich tradition that is more than 2,500 years old. With both profundity and simplicity, he has carried the nuanced teachings of the Buddha to the far corners of the globe, and in the process has touched and transformed millions of lives. Like the Buddha himself, the Dalai Lama, with his ever-smiling face, reaches out to people in ways that connect to their individual mental dispositions, abilities, and everyday realities. Buddhism, which never seeks to proselytize, has been made accessible by the Dalai Lama to both non-Buddhists and Buddhists alike so that we may all learn from one of the most valuable strands of our shared heritage.
This fascinating book brings together extracts from some of His Holiness’s most powerful writings and talks. As he explains the elements of the Buddha’s teachings and the basic practices of meditation, he also engages and reconciles the innovations of modern science with Buddhist perspectives. Ultimately, His Holiness calls for the celebration of diversity and the recognition of interdependence that breeds a sense of Universal Responsibility—which must govern all of our relationships in this increasingly fragmented world. Serving as the perfect introduction to the Dalai Lama’s philosophy, both Buddhist and secular, In My Own Words is just the book for gleaning insights into the mind of one of the world’s greatest spiritual icons. Click here to buy from Amazon

How to Practice : The Way to a Meaningful Life

As human beings, we all share the desire for happiness and meaning in our lives. According to His Holiness the Dalai Lama, the ability to find true fulfillment lies within each of us. In this very special book, the spiritual and temporal leader of Tibet, Nobel Prize winner, and bestselling author helps readers embark upon the path to enlightenment with a stunning illumination of the timeless wisdom and an easy-access reference for daily practice.
Divided into a series of distinct steps that will lead spiritual seekers toward enlightenment, How to Practice is a constant companion in the quest to practice morality, meditation, and wisdom. This accessible book will guide you toward opening your heart, refraining from doing harm, and maintiaining mentaltranquility as the Dalai Lama shows you how to overcome everyday obstacles, from feelings of anger and mistrust to jealousy, insecurity, and counterproductive thinking. Imbued with His Holiness' vivacious spirit and sense of playfulness, How to Practice offers sage and practical insight into the human psyche and into the deepest aspirations that bind us all together. Click here to buy from Amazon

My Land and My People: The Original Autobiography of His Holiness the Dalai Lama of Tibet

Schooled behind ancient palace walls to become the leader of Tibet, the Dalai Lama has become a spiritual leader to the world and a leading civil rights advocate. My Land and My People tells the story of his life.

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My Spiritual Journey

In His Own Words
The Compelling Personal Story of the Spiritual Life of the Dalai Lama

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Friday, January 27, 2012

Toward a True Kinship of Faiths: How the World's Religions Can Come Together

"A must read." -The Huffington Post

"May the effort of this book be of benefit to the emergence of a genuine understanding between the world's great religions, and may it foster in us deep reverence toward each other." The Dalai Lama

?In perhaps his most important book, the Dalai Lama shares his hopeful yet realistic views on how humanity must step into the future.  In our daily lives today no one is untouched by what happens in the rest of the world.  New technology, environmental problems, economic gain and loss, nuclear weapons, and instant communication have all created unprecedented familiarity among the world's many cultures. With this historic development, the Dalai Lama understands that the essential task of humanity in the twenty-first century is to cultivate peaceful coexistence.

Many believe in the inevitability of an escalating “clash of civilizations”.  Peaceful coexistence has long been problematic between religions, and while previous conflicts over religious differences may have been significant and regrettable, they did not threaten the very survival of humanity. Now, when extremists can persuade followers with the immense emotional power of faith and have access to powerful technological resources, a single spark could ignite a powder keg of frightening proportions.

Yet the Dalai Lama shows how the challenges of globalization can also move us in another direction, to a deeper plane where nations, cultures, and individuals connect through their shared human nature.  All major religions confront the same perennial questions; each have distinct forms of expression. But this marvelous diversity of insight has the potential for inspiring dialogue which can enrich everyone’s pursuit of wisdom.

In Toward a True Kinship of Faiths, the Dalai Lama also explores where differences between religions can be genuinely appreciated instead of becoming sources of conflict. Creating genuine harmony does not depend on accepting that all religions are fundamentally the same or that they lead to the same place.  Many fear that recognizing the value of another faith is incompatible with having devotion to the truth of one’s own.  Nevertheless, the Dalai Lama shows how a sincere believer can, with integrity, be a pluralist in relation to other religions without compromising commitment to the essence of the doctrinal teachings of their own faith.

An issue of central importance for the Dalai Lama personally and for the entire world in general, Toward a True Kinship of Faiths offers a hopeful yet realistic look at how humanity must step into the future.
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The Universe in a Single Atom: The Convergence of Science and Spirituality

Galileo, Copernicus, Newton, Niels Bohr, Einstein. Their insights shook our perception of who we are and where we stand in the world, and in their wake have left an uneasy coexistence: science vs. religion, faith vs. empirical inquiry. Which is the keeper of truth? Which is the true path to understanding reality?

After forty years of study with some of the greatest scientific minds, as well as a lifetime of meditative, spiritual, and philosophic study, the Dalai Lama presents a brilliant analysis of why all avenues of inquiry—scientific as well as spiritual—must be pursued in order to arrive at a complete picture of the truth. Through an examination of Darwinism and karma, quantum mechanics and philosophical insight into the nature of reality, neurobiology and the study of consciousness, the Dalai Lama draws significant parallels between contemplative and scientific examinations of reality.

This breathtakingly personal examination is a tribute to the Dalai Lama’s teachers—both of science and spirituality. The legacy of this book is a vision of the world in which our different approaches to understanding ourselves, our universe, and one another can be brought together in the service of humanity.   Click here to buy from Amazon

An Open Heart: Practicing Compassion in Everyday Life

Compassion-sympathy for the suffering of others and the desire to free them from it-is wrestled with in all spiritual traditions. Yet how does one actually become a compassionate person? What are the mechanisms by which a selfish heart is transformed into a generous heart? In this acclaimed bestseller, His Holiness the Dalai Lama writes simply and powerfully about the everyday Buddhist practice of compassion, offering a clear, practical, inspiring introduction to the Buddhist path to enlightenment.  Click here to buy from Amazon

Sunday, December 4, 2011

The Power of Proper Motivation

When serving society or others in general, it is very important to set a proper motivation at the start of each day. When we wake up each morning, we reflect, 'Today I am not going to come under the power of either attachment or hostility. Today I am going to be of benefit and help to others.' Thus we consciously set the tone for the entire day so that we go through it within the context of a pure, altruistic motivation and attitude."--H.H. the Dalai Lama, excerpted from The Gelug/Kagyu Tradition of Mahamudra, published by Snow Lion Publications
--from Dalai Lama Heart of Wisdom Calendar 2012

 Dalai Lama Heart of Wisdom Calendar 2012

Monday, September 12, 2011

There Is No Way We Can Please Others

The activities of this degenerate age are like a madman's performance of dance.
No matter what we do, there is no way to please others.
Think about what is essential.
This is my heart's advice.
--Bhande Dharmaradza

In any group of people, there is always some misunderstanding. You cannot satisfy everyone, no matter what you do. The Bodhicaryavatara says that every individual has a different way of thinking. Thus, it is very difficult to please everyone. Even the Buddha could not do it, so how can we? Instead of trying to please others, please yourself by applying yourself fully to bodhicitta.

Investigate your situation carefully, according to the Dharma. For us, it is more important to know what is best than to know how to please everyone. Know what is right, and on the basis of your own wisdom and skill, just do it. Don't expect that other people will be pleased with you or that they will be happy about what you do. Rather, do what's best, what's helpful for yourself and for others. If they are happy about it, that's fine. If they are not happy, what can you do?

--from A Complete Guide to the Buddhist Path, edited by Khenmo Trinlay Chodron, published by Snow Lion Publications

A Complete Guide to the Buddhist Path

Saturday, August 27, 2011

Why Should We Help Our Enemies

Why should we want to help our enemies or to give them happiness? Here are various useful ideas to consider. One approach is to think that the harm they have done us is, in fact, the result of our own past negative actions through which we have set ourselves up as a target for their harm. We could also consider how those who harm us are totally driven by their disturbing emotions.
If someone in our family, someone we love dearly, becomes insane and tries to harm us, we wouldn't think of taking revenge but would try to help them regain a normal state of mind. Living beings, our mothers, are crazed by their disturbing emotions. Those who harm us are in particular need of our love and compassion.
--from The Bodhisattva Vow by Geshe Sonam Rinchen, translated and edited by Ruth Sonam, published by Snow Lion Publications

The Bodhisattva Vow

Our True Enemy

Do you understand who the enemy is? You do not need to beat anyone up, and you do not need a weapon to kill your enemy. You do not need money to buy a weapon. It is all very easy.
How is liberation accomplished? The offering of liberation is accomplished by abandoning the dualistic mind of discursive thoughts. The sharp weapon of primordial wisdom, which completely annihilates the dualistic mind, is the means for achieving this separation. This "weapon" has been part of your continuum for a long time now. With this weapon you can completely devastate the dualistic mind, leaving not even a trace behind, thus liberating the mind into the sphere of unborn truth. The enemy will never return. This is called great liberation.
I must emphasize that primordial wisdom is not something you can buy, get from your best friend or have handed to you by a buddha in heaven. It is not something that someone else has but you do not. Abandon such concepts. Primordial wisdom does not come from an external source. It is simply your true nature. It is something that you and everyone else have as the very essence of your mind.
You should know what your qualities and capabilities are.
--from The Generation Stage in Buddhist Tantra by Gyatrul Rinpoche, published by Snow Lion Publications

The Generation Stage in Buddhist Tantra

Sunday, July 31, 2011

Our Dualistic Nature

When the root of duality--dualistic clinging, dualistic perceptions, deluded perceptions--is severed, all the leaves, the branches, and even the tree trunk of samsara and nirvana naturally wither on their own and topple in their own time. Then this great spreading tree of samsara and nirvana, of duality, of worldliness, of conditioned being, does not need to be chopped down: it is already as if dead. We can relax; done is what had to be done, as the Buddha sang.
This is the whole point of the Dharma, of spiritual awakening, of Buddhahood; this is its ultimate evolution or unfolding. If we aspire to experience such an awakening, there is nothing else to do except recognize the true nature of our primordial awareness, our own essential being, our own birthright, which is within. This is the intrinsic nature of our own heart-mind, also known as bodhicitta or bodhi-mind. It is our own being, our own nature, this renowned buddha-nature. It is not a Buddha anywhere else.
--from Natural Great Perfection: Dzogchen Teachings and Vajra Songs by Nyoshul Khenpo Rinpoche and Lama Surya Das, published by Snow Lion Publications

Natural Great Perfection: Dzogchen Teachings and Vajra Songs

The Essence of the Four Noble Truths

Shortly after attaining enlightenment under the bodhi tree, the Buddha gave a sermon in Varanasi sharing the fruits of his realization. This sermon is referred to as the "first turning of the wheel of Dharma." The word Dharma here refers to the Buddha's teachings themselves. It was this sermon in which the Buddha developed what would become the framework for the entirety of his teachings: the four noble truths.
These four truths are the truth of suffering, the truth of its origin, the truth of the possibility of its cessation, and the truth of the path that leads to that cessation. In essence, the four noble truths say that we all naturally desire happiness and do not wish to suffer--and that the suffering we wish to avoid comes about as a result of a chain of causes and conditions begun even before our birth. If we are to pursue our aspiration to gain freedom from suffering, we need to clearly understand the causes and conditions that give rise to suffering and strive to eliminate them. Additionally, we must clearly understand the causes and conditions that give rise to happiness as well, and actively practice them. This is the essence of the four noble truths.
--from Essence of the Heart Sutra: The Dalai Lama's Heart of Wisdom Teachings by H.H. the Dalai Lama, translated & edited by Geshe Thupten Jinpa

Essence of the Heart Sutra: The Dalai Lama's Heart of Wisdom Teachings