The Second Noble Truth, Part 1, Craving and Clinging

This talk focuses on the factors that produce dukkha–craving and clinging.  Peter describes the traditional Buddhist terms for craving and clinging, along with how contemporary neurological research supports the validity of this understanding of the human condition.  After his descriptions, participants in the group asked questions and shared observations about the topic.

Here are the notes prepared for this talk:  The Second Noble Truth

Next week’s talk will continue to review the Second Noble Truth, emphasizing the core Buddhist concept of paticca samuppada, translated as dependent origination, as a way to understand how the self is formed and how to change karmic influences in ways that support the realization of the Third Noble Truth, liberation from dukkha.


Reviewing The Second Noble Truth

This review of the Second Noble Truth is presented by Lili Fernandez, one of the teachers who are being introduced to the Orlando Insight Meditation Group.  During this talk Lili describes the characteristics of craving and clinging, the two interactive elements that create the experience of dukkha, the First Noble Truth.  She also describes how cultivating mindfulness of breathing meditation can provide relief from craving and clinging using examples from her experiences as the mother of two preschool boys.

The topic for the next talk will be a review of the Third Noble Truth, which is the process of Awakening from dukkha, and will be presented by Peter Carlson.


The Nature Of Craving

During this talk, Peter reviewed the classic Buddhist concepts of craving and clinging in the context of the Second Noble Truth.  Special emphasis was placed on the insights of modern neuropsychological research that relates Buddhist notions of craving to the experience of addictive craving.  The three aspects of spiritual progress were reviewed as well: craving and clinging are to be understood conceptually, brought directly into mindful awareness, and noting and renouncing craving and clinging is to be mastered.  Next week, Peter will continue to explore the nature of the Second Noble Truth as regards clinging.

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Wanting and Hating

In this talk, the neurological underpinnings of the Second Noble Truth, tanha (craving) and upadana (clinging) were explored to emphasize the importance of being clearly and immediately aware of the felt sense of urgency and the “enchantment” of internal narrative experience.  This clarity is crucial for setting the conditions for the realization of the Third Noble Truth, through the action of the Noble Eightfold Path.  In this as well as future discussions, the relevance to current cultural and economic crises is established, with an encouragement to find a “Middle Way” between consumerism and ideological purity and material denial and skeptical withdrawal from society.  How can we as a spiritual community support each other in finding this Middle Way?