Chapter 34. The Equation of Nirodha (cessation)



The Four Noble Truths is one of the key Buddhist teachings.  According to the Four Noble Truths, there are four true natures of the cycle of rebirth (samsara) as follows:

     (1)   Dukkha or suffering which occurs along birth, aging, illness, and death.  Dukkha can be classified into the mental and the physical. Commoners usually experience both, but the fully enlightened ones like Lord Buddha and Buddhist Saints do not have mental suffering, but they can still experience physical suffering when their bodies get sick as well as having the difficulty from death. 

    (2)   Samudaya is the causes of suffering which stem from craving (tanha) caused by fetters (samyojana).  Thus, samudaya mainly involves the mental sufferings caused by negative mental on-goings including emotion and feeling which bear craving thought, speech, and action.

     (3)   Nirodha or cessation means the cessation of suffering when the causes of sufferings or (samudaya) are eliminated by way of uprooting mental fetters, either lower or higher ones.   Once the mental fetters are removed, the mental craving automatically ceases, more or less, depending on the diminishing of lower and/or higher fetters.  After the cessation of suffering occurs, the mind is freed (vimutti) and mental suffering is replaced by happiness.  Especially, when it is in the meditative cessation (nirodha-samapatti), the nirodha state of mind can lead to sublime bliss as the mind advances into the middle-way, leaving the external sphere and entering the internal sphere further.  Meditative cessation (nirodha-samapatti) is achievable only when the mental fetters are mostly or totally eliminated; otherwise, the craving and clinging mind will prevent one’s mind from entering the meditative cessation.

     (4)   Magga is the path leading to nirodha which comprises of (a) morality or sila, (b) concentration or samadhi, and (c) wisdom or panna.  Physically, these three are the practices, but mentally they are the states of mind.  As one practices these three and cultivates them in mind, the three paths (magga) can unify in one’s mind (unification of magga) either with wisdom (panna vimutti) and/or meditation (ceto vimutti).  Thus, the mental state of magga unification can unlock and uproot the fetters, from lower to higher ones.  Thereafter, the mental sufferings caused by fetters will eventually cease (nirodha).  Upon the elimination of fetters, one attains enlightenment, either partially or fully, depending on the elimination of lower and/or higher fetters.

Equation of Nirodha:

The concept of the Four Noble Truths, which comprise of the interrelated suffering (dukkha), causes of suffering (samudaya), cessation of suffering (nirodha), and path towards cessation of suffering (magga) can be summarised as the aforesaid, and they can be expressed in the form of a Dhammonomic equation as follows:

Nirodha = [(Maggamiddle path) unification – (Samudayadukkha)]+[Accumulated Merit]+[Expertise in Meditation]

To clarify, when the causes of sufferings (samudaya) originated from mental fetters are partially or totally superseded and eliminated by the unification of magga along the middle way, this gives rise to the cessation (nirodha) as well as meditative cessation (nirodha-samapatti) where it can be empowered additionally by accumulated merit and expertise gained over practice and cultivation over one’s lifetimes.

By Pirajak S. (formerly Pittaya Wong)

11 November 2020