BUD100 The Four Noble Truths

Course Description

This course provides an in-depth study of “The Turning of the Wheel of the Dharma Sutra.”  This sutta, the ​Four Noble Truths​, is thought to the first teaching given by Shakyamuni Buddha after his enlightenment. The booklet is from a dharma talk given by Ajahn Sumedho.

Course Objectives: The students will
  • Have a general understanding of the text’s historical context.
  • Have an in depth understanding of each noble truth and its three aspects.
  • Be able to understand what stress is and its causes.
  • Learn how to apply the Four Noble Truths and the Eightfold Path in their life.

This is a pass/fail class. The student is expected to write their own essays. The essays are evaluated on the merits of its content, the student’s ability to understand the reading material and to write. Each assignment will include short answer questions and an essay question.  The essays can be three to five pages long (handwritten). If possible, please use MLA or APA style and include a bibliography in your citations (though this is not required). Upon completion, the student will receive chrono and a certificate earning 1.2 CEUs (Continuing Education Units).

Please include your name, CDC number, and location in the prison (cell number). If you mail your essay, PLEASE MAKE A COPY FOR YOUR RECORD in case it gets lost in the mail.​​The mailing address below is a PO box on the University of the West campus, NOT a private mailing address:

1409 Walnut Grove Ave.
Rosemead, CA 91770

Assignment One
  1. What are the different meanings of the word “Dukkha”?
  2. What are the three aspects of the First Noble Truth?
  3. What is the process of insight?
  4. What are the five types of suffering discussed in the First Noble Truth?

The First Noble Truth presents several types of suffering, discuss at least three types of suffering that you have experienced?


Assignment Two
  1. What are the three aspects of the Second Noble Truth?
  2.  What are the three kinds of desire?
  3. Why is craving the functional cause of suffering?

The Second Noble Truth addresses the source of suffering which is attachment or craving, have you experienced craving in your life (either substance or relationship)? If so, please write about the experience and how you overcome that craving. If not, you can discuss from own witness.

Assignment Three
  1. What are the three aspects of the Third noble truth?
  2. What is cessation of suffering?
  3. Define realization in your words.

The Third Noble Truth is the cessation of suffering where the meditator no longer suffers. Discuss an occasion where you have been free of suffering through realization of desire and let it be. How often do you experience that?


Assignment Four
  1. What are the three aspects of the Fourth Noble Truth?
  2.  What are the eight limbs of the Noble Eightfold Path?
  3. What is the threefold training?
  4. How do you differentiate rationality from emotion?
Essay #1

Discuss briefly what the Eightfold Path is and how it can be applied in your life.

Essay #2: Feedback

What was the most (or least) meaninggul part of this course and why?