The purpose of the teachings and practice is freedom, the “sure heart’s release.” It is the cooling and extinguishing of the fires of greed, hatred and delusion that rage in the heart. Knowing the genuine possibility of freedom for every being, the Buddha taught that the heart can be free and loving in every circumstance. And he assured us that if it were not possible, he would not ask us to realize and embody it. This is the Third Noble Truth—suffering can cease and that sure heart’s release must be, and has been, realized: freedom, right here, in the midst of the 10,000 joys and the 10,000 sorrows known in every human life.
Seeing the inevitability of pleasure and pain, light and dark, gain and loss, praise and blame, all appearing for a time and changing from their own karmic momentum, we understand everything as process—thoughts constantly appearing and disappearing, feelings changing, bodies aging, transforming, shifting and moving. This is how it is—no solid self, nothing permanent or irretrievably, unchangeably me or mine—like bubbles in a stream. This understanding mandates letting go, not clinging inwardly or outwardly.
It is important that the notion of liberation not be made a thing or place that one gets or gets to at some point. It’s not in Burma, Tibet or elsewhere. And if you think you’ve got “it,” there’s “it,” you, and the reassertion of clinging, disconnection.
Inexorable and inevitable freedom is thus the essence of the Third Noble Truth. In the words of Martin Luther King, “Let freedom ring.”