The Four Noble Truths of Love | Susan Piver

Summary of: The Four Noble Truths of Love: Buddhist Wisdom for Modern Relationships
By: Susan Piver


In ‘The Four Noble Truths of Love: Buddhist Wisdom for Modern Relationships’, Susan Piver presents a fresh perspective on relationships through the lens of Buddhist teachings. The book explores the Four Noble Truths that encompass the heart of Buddhist philosophy, applying their wisdom to modern-day love and relationships. By dissecting these fundamental truths, Piver dives into the concept of attachment, the destabilizing influence of unrealistic expectations, and the true significance of embracing instability in love. The author also outlines practical techniques to strengthen intimacy and enhance direct communication between partners, fostering healthier connections.

The Basis of Buddhist Philosophy

The Four Noble Truths are at the heart of Buddhism, taught by the Buddha over 2,500 years ago. After renouncing his life of luxury, the Buddha achieved enlightenment under a Bodhi tree, at which point he returned to share his teachings. The First Noble Truth states that life is suffering, stemming from the fact that everything in life is transient. The Second Noble Truth points out that the cause of suffering is attachment. The Third Noble Truth reveals that it is possible to end suffering by accepting reality. Finally, the Fourth Noble Truth lists the Noble Eightfold Path as a means to transcend suffering, emphasizing the various components of the Buddhist’s moral life.

Relationship Problems are Normal

Relationship issues are not temporary and can never be fully eliminated. Rather, it is an integral part of any loving relationship.

We often assume that the turbulence we experience in our relationships is only temporary and can easily be solved with a solution. However, problems are an essential component of relationships, and they can never be fully eradicated. Regardless of how well we plan for the future, how much we love our partner, or how hard we work at it, there will always be some issue that needs to be addressed. The essence of the First Noble Truth of Love is that relationships will never entirely settle, and some level of discomfort is simply an ever-present reality.

The mistake we make is assuming that there is a perfect place of happiness and stability waiting for us on the other side of these problems. In reality, the little pleasures we have right here, right now, in the midst of everything is what we need to embrace.

It’s okay to face problems in a relationship, and it’s part and parcel of any loving union. Every problem allows us to come together, discuss and resolve issues, which in turn strengthens our bond and deepens our intimacy. We need to stop seeing problems as something negative or temporary but rather adopt a positive outlook and accept the normalcy of facing relationship issues.

Relationship Advice from Movies

Many people confuse love affairs with relationships, causing unrealistic expectations and pressure on their partners. The movie industry often perpetuates this misconception by portraying a fairy-tale version of love that ends in happily-ever-after. However, genuine connections require more than just the initial passion and euphoria, and relationships go through natural fluctuations of emotions and desires. By accepting and softening our expectations, we can appreciate our relationships for what they are, flaws and all. The Second Noble Truth of Love states that expecting love to be stable only increases dissatisfaction and instability in relationships.

Letting Go of Attachment

Attachment to feelings, experiences, and stories can cause dissatisfaction in relationships. Understanding the difference between attachment and love and being able to let go gracefully is essential. Additionally, becoming too attached to unfounded stories and blaming our loved ones for how we feel can create unnecessary divides. The key is to feel the feeling and drop the story.

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