moJoe, the fourth noble truth has nothing to do with self-sacrifice. Quite the contrary. Please read the story of Gautama Buddha to see that he opposed self-denial.

The four noble truths are patterned after the medical practice of the time (and perhaps even today), as the Buddha saw himself as the spiritual physician:

  • First step: Diagnose the problem (there is suffering in the world).
  • Second step: Find the cause of the problem (suffering is caused by craving).
  • Third step: Identify a solution (cessation of craving stops suffering).
  • Fourth step: Prescribe a treatment (the eightfold path).

By the way, it is good to think of Buddhism as a prescription rather than a teaching. The Buddha says, "this will help" but he is not forcing you to do it. If you suffer, it is not because some God is mad at you, but because you are violating laws of nature and suffering natural consequences (see Law of Karma).

Your proposal, by the way, will not work. The craving the Buddha was talking about is compared to the desire of a fish on dry land for a drop of water: Something that is not possible to satiate. The fish must return to the pond, its thirst will never be satisfied on dry land.

Want an example: Bill Gates. His thirst for money is insatiable, yet he has enough of it even if he lived for a kalpa. If he just let go, his suffering (e.g., all his mess with the DOJ would stop.