Hi Dhamma Follower,
Perhaps to rephrase what you are saying, "dukkha" can be applied both as a characteristic and also to conceptual objects. It also occurs to me that dukkha is the
central problem pointed to by the Buddha, so it wouldn't be very useful to his teaching if the word only occurred in the more technical suttas.
However, I think it's interesting that I've never seen similar statements using the other characteristics. This may be my lack of good Pali skills, but I don't see statements like: "association with the loathed is anicca".
Interestingly, some modern teachers do
use such examples in their talks, along the lines of "bad things will pass soon", etc.
Not really, Mike. What I was having in mind was that when talking about aging, sickness, being separated from the loved ones, the Buddha was refering to dukkha vedana. From that there can arise a understanding about the nature of impermanence, that things change, and what ever arises will pass away is not worth clinging to.
However, I doubt that as such it goes beyond intellectual understanding. Perhaps, for those who have practiced a lot in many lives and have accumulated a great deal of wisdom, it can lead to a subsequent direct experience of the five khandas as empty of a substantial self and is released instantly.
Even in that case, the direct experience of the five khandas should occur before the experience of Nibbana. Anyway, its how I understand it. If one doesn't see through the five khandas, how can sakkaya ditthi be removed , since sakkaya ditthi is the belief in a self in the combination of the five aggregates.
Similarly, concepts can be perfectly understood as impermanent, but whether it goes beyond intellectual level is another thing. To better illustrate this idea, lets take the example bellow
When we think about how much we have changed from childhood to now, we might think «yes, its anicca« but its only thinking.
But when we become clearly aware of the arising of a thought and simultanously understand without words «this is just a thought, nobody it's there«, then it goes a bit further than intellectual understanding.
When our sati-sampajana becomes sharper, we might directly experience the rapid ceasing of a thought as soon as it arises as well as the awarenessthat knows it, a simultanous intuitive understanding arises knowing anicca as the nature of all things that have arised.
Clearly it is another level.
I don't know whether there is any sutta that goes more into the details of this process than simply asking and answering...but from my experience so far, the difference between the intellectual level and intuitive level is worth mentioning.