"When understood, the Buddha’s universe..is anything but alien and inhibiting. It is a world full of hope, where everything we need to do can be done and everything that matters is within human reach. It is a world where kindness, unselfishness, non-violence, and compassion achieve what self-interest and arrogance cannot. It is a world where any human can be happy in goodness and the fullness of giving." ❦ Eknath Easwara

September 18, 2011

What the heck is this "dukkha" Buddhists talk about?

The use of the word "suffering" for what the Buddha meant by the Pali word dukkha can be misleading.  You hear that the Buddha taught that "life is suffering" but he never actually said that.  Clearly, much of life is not miserable suffering, but can be, in the conventional sense, very pleasant and enjoyable.

What the Buddha did say was about the nature of life was much more subtle and insightful.  Understanding dukkha is foundation of the First Noble Truth:  There is suffering.  And understanding dukkha is the key to understanding the causes of suffering and how to bring to an end all forms of suffering, from the most blatant to the most refined.   As the Thai forest teacher AJahn Chah explains:
"Dukkha refers to the implicit unsatisfactoriness, incompleteness, imperfection, insecurity of all conditioned phenomena, which, because they are always changing, are always liable to cause suffering. 
Dukkha refers to all forms of unpleasantness from gross bodily pains and the suffering implicit in old age, sickness and death, to subtle feelings such as being parted from what we like or associated with what we dislike, to refined mental states such as dullness, boredom, restlessness, agitation, etc. 
This is one of the most misunderstood concepts and one of the most important for spiritual development."   Ajahn Chah
For more in-depth dharma articles and instruction, visit:  METTA REFUGE

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