The Four Noble Truths Of Storytelling


The four key tenets that Buddhists adhere to are collectively known as the four noble truths. Storytelling has given rise to many elements of religious tales and are as valid today as when religions, in terms of the spiritual exploration of humanity rather than organized religion, began.

PAIN IS UNIVERSAL

Although difficult to translate from its original intention, suffering is universal. It’s a part of life that can’t be stopped, only dealt with, as we embark on our journey towards bliss. In storytelling terms, this can be defined as a the central conflict and how it influences the main character’s goal. It’s their nightmare which forces them to act.

THE REASON FOR SUFFERING IS DESIRE

We are attracted to material things, or follow the wrong goal and pay an emotional, physical and financial toll. We drink when we are not thirsty. In storytelling terms, the main character has a dream, an ambition; not to become a better person, but to acquire or achieve an object. This has been referred to as the inner and outer need by some story theorists.

THERE CAN BE AN END TO SUFFERING

Once we end our worldly attachment to materialistic desires, the cycle of pain will end. The stakes are high and we really have to want the suffering to end, not just to make the pain go away. This is referred to as the resolution of a story. The main character has made conscious decisions to reach a natural conclusion to a story.

THERE IS A PATH TO END SUFFERING

This is referred to as the hero’s journey and character arc. There have been numerous obstacles which nurture our psyches. There has been a metamorphosis in the main character’s attitudes, circumstances, beliefs or personal relationships. Nirvana has been attained. Your story has ended, but the cycle of life continues.

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One Comment Add yours

  1. Miranda says:

    I’ve never considered these aspects in my writing and they actually make a lot of sense. Thanks for explaining this.

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