My take on the 4 Noble truths and 8 Noble paths in essence.
1 Noble truth
What is suffering?
It is mental suffering we face in our daily lives not physical suffering.
2 Noble truth
Causes of sufferings.
Suffering the Buddha is talking about is due to hatred, greed and illusion.
3 Noble truth
Ways to overcome suffering.
In all there about 84,000 ways to overcome suffering. Different traditions adopted different approach to overcome suffering.
Mindfulness meditation, breathing meditation, Metta meditation, Vipassana meditation, Chanting meditation, Zen through "Koans", simple walking meditation etc
4 Noble truth
Ceasation of suffering.
Ultimate goal is achieving Nibbana or the unborn state.
8 Noble paths.
Before you can successfully gain peaceful state of the mind you must have some kind of discipline like good conduct, good speech, good bodily health etc
This first and the most important sermon gave by the Buddha to his 5 disciples who gained enlightenment on each day of the sermon. On the last day, the Buddha proclaimed," Today the world has 6 Arhats". And hence the holy Sangha was formed.
( Today you need at least 5 disciples to form a Sangha in any tradition)
From this sutta we find that Buddha spent 45 years teaching the people the 3 Noble truth in various ways, the path to overcome suffering.
I like this Zen approach to ending suffering in us.
Our sensory perceptions like sight, sound, taste, touch and smell are inputting our mind constantly everyday.
Things we like is stored in our memory and it manifests as greed, we want more of the good stuff.
Things we don't like is stored in our memory and it manifests as hatred we want to get rid of.
Things we fear is stored in our mind as illusion, we want less of it by believing more of the illusion.
We constantly keep them in our mind greed, hatred and illusion as if they are permanent.
This whole thing will make us suffer. Buddha shows us to realise that we need not suffer as these are not real
and is an illusion and impermanent. We can achieve permanent peace here and now.
"The mind of wisdom is like a mirror.
It graps nothing. It expect nothing
It reflects but does not hold"
Quoted from Chuang Tzu.
Every time whenever anger, greed or illusion arises in us, we just have to keep reflecting that it is impermanent and letting the thought go.If you have to do it many times per day so be it.