First Noble Truth - dukkha?

An open and inclusive investigation into Buddhism and spiritual cultivation

First Noble Truth - dukkha?

Postby acinteyyo » Fri Oct 02, 2009 8:28 am

Maha-satipatthana Sutta wrote: (DN22)"Now what is the noble truth of stress? Birth is stressful, aging is stressful, death is stressful; sorrow, lamentation, pain, distress, & despair are stressful; association with the unbeloved is stressful; separation from the loved is stressful; not getting what one wants is stressful. In short, the five clinging-aggregates are stressful."

The question is WHY are these things dukkha?
Pubbe cāhaṃ bhikkhave, etarahi ca dukkhañceva paññāpemi, dukkhassa ca nirodhaṃ. (M.22)
Both formerly, monks, and now, it is just suffering that I make known and the ending of suffering.
Pathabyā ekarajjena, saggassa gamanena vā sabbalokādhipaccena, sotāpattiphalaṃ varaṃ. (Dhp 178)
Sole dominion over the earth, going to heaven or lordship over all worlds: the fruit of stream-entry excels them.

:anjali:
User avatar
acinteyyo
 
Posts: 993
Joined: Mon Jun 01, 2009 9:48 am
Location: Neuburg/Donau, Germany

Re: First Noble Truth - dukkha?

Postby appicchato » Fri Oct 02, 2009 9:16 am

acinteyyo wrote:The question is WHY are these things dukkha?


See Noble Truth #2...
User avatar
appicchato
 
Posts: 1560
Joined: Wed Dec 31, 2008 12:47 am
Location: Bridge on the River Kwae

Re: First Noble Truth - dukkha?

Postby Sanghamitta » Fri Oct 02, 2009 9:35 am

acinteyyo wrote:
Maha-satipatthana Sutta wrote: (DN22)"Now what is the noble truth of stress? Birth is stressful, aging is stressful, death is stressful; sorrow, lamentation, pain, distress, & despair are stressful; association with the unbeloved is stressful; separation from the loved is stressful; not getting what one wants is stressful. In short, the five clinging-aggregates are stressful."

The question is WHY are these things dukkha?

Perhaps the first question is, are they indeed stressful ? If they are then how does that stressed reaction occur ? What does it look and feel like ?
The going for refuge is the door of entrance to the teachings of the Buddha.

Bhikku Bodhi.
Sanghamitta
 
Posts: 1614
Joined: Wed Jul 29, 2009 9:21 am
Location: By the River Thames near London.

Re: First Noble Truth - dukkha?

Postby acinteyyo » Fri Oct 02, 2009 10:23 am

appicchato wrote:
acinteyyo wrote:The question is WHY are these things dukkha?

See Noble Truth #2...

Excuse me venerable sir but the second noble truth tells us what the origin of dukkha is. It does not tell us why things like birth, aging, death, sorrow, lamentation, pain, distress, & despair, association with the unbeloved, separation from the loved, not getting what one wants; In short, the five clinging-aggregates are dukkha.
Maha-Satipatthana Sutta wrote:"And what is the noble truth of the origination of stress? The craving that makes for further becoming — accompanied by passion & delight, relishing now here & now there — i.e., craving for sensuality, craving for becoming, craving for non-becoming.

It is the craving that leads to birth, aging, death, sorrow, lamentation, pain, distress, despair, association with the unbeloved, separation from the loved, not getting what one wants; In short, the five clinging-aggregates. It is the craving that leads to dukkha. But why is birth, aging, death, sorrow, lamentation... and so on dukkha?
Last edited by acinteyyo on Fri Oct 02, 2009 12:29 pm, edited 1 time in total.
Pubbe cāhaṃ bhikkhave, etarahi ca dukkhañceva paññāpemi, dukkhassa ca nirodhaṃ. (M.22)
Both formerly, monks, and now, it is just suffering that I make known and the ending of suffering.
Pathabyā ekarajjena, saggassa gamanena vā sabbalokādhipaccena, sotāpattiphalaṃ varaṃ. (Dhp 178)
Sole dominion over the earth, going to heaven or lordship over all worlds: the fruit of stream-entry excels them.

:anjali:
User avatar
acinteyyo
 
Posts: 993
Joined: Mon Jun 01, 2009 9:48 am
Location: Neuburg/Donau, Germany

Re: First Noble Truth - dukkha?

Postby acinteyyo » Fri Oct 02, 2009 10:26 am

Sanghamitta wrote:
acinteyyo wrote:
Maha-satipatthana Sutta wrote: (DN22)"Now what is the noble truth of stress? Birth is stressful, aging is stressful, death is stressful; sorrow, lamentation, pain, distress, & despair are stressful; association with the unbeloved is stressful; separation from the loved is stressful; not getting what one wants is stressful. In short, the five clinging-aggregates are stressful."

The question is WHY are these things dukkha?

Perhaps the first question is, are they indeed stressful ? If they are then how does that stressed reaction occur ? What does it look and feel like ?

"Are they indeed stressful?" I say for the puthujjana they are stressful but not for the arahant. For the puthujjana e.g. death is dukkha but for the arahant death is just death.
Therefore why are these things mentioned in the first noble truth dukkha?
Pubbe cāhaṃ bhikkhave, etarahi ca dukkhañceva paññāpemi, dukkhassa ca nirodhaṃ. (M.22)
Both formerly, monks, and now, it is just suffering that I make known and the ending of suffering.
Pathabyā ekarajjena, saggassa gamanena vā sabbalokādhipaccena, sotāpattiphalaṃ varaṃ. (Dhp 178)
Sole dominion over the earth, going to heaven or lordship over all worlds: the fruit of stream-entry excels them.

:anjali:
User avatar
acinteyyo
 
Posts: 993
Joined: Mon Jun 01, 2009 9:48 am
Location: Neuburg/Donau, Germany

Re: First Noble Truth - dukkha?

Postby Jechbi » Fri Oct 02, 2009 4:08 pm

Dukkha is one of those words that has lots of different shades of meaning in different contexts. That's why you see it used so often without an English translation.

In my personal opinion, the answer to your question is that these things are dukkha because of ignorance. Others may have better answers.
Rain soddens what is kept wrapped up,
But never soddens what is open;
Uncover, then, what is concealed,
Lest it be soddened by the rain.
User avatar
Jechbi
 
Posts: 1268
Joined: Thu Jan 01, 2009 3:38 am

Re: First Noble Truth - dukkha?

Postby Zack » Fri Oct 02, 2009 4:55 pm

acinteyyo wrote:
Maha-satipatthana Sutta wrote: (DN22)"Now what is the noble truth of stress? Birth is stressful, aging is stressful, death is stressful; sorrow, lamentation, pain, distress, & despair are stressful; association with the unbeloved is stressful; separation from the loved is stressful; not getting what one wants is stressful. In short, the five clinging-aggregates are stressful."

The question is WHY are these things dukkha?


Craving is why; craving leads to Greed, Hate and delusion. = stress= etc., etc.
I am of nature to decay, I have not gone beyond decay.
I am of the nature to be diseased, I have not gone beyond disease.
I am of the nature to die, I have not done beyond death.
All that is mine, dear and delightful, will change and vanish.
I am the owner of my kamma, heir to my kamma, born of my kamma, related to
my kamma, abide supported by my kamma. Whatever kamma I shall do,
whether good or evil, of that I shall be the heir.
Thus we should frequently recollect.
- Upajjhatthana Sutta, Anguttara Nikaya v.57
User avatar
Zack
 
Posts: 26
Joined: Wed Mar 25, 2009 2:05 am
Location: Texas

Re: First Noble Truth - dukkha?

Postby vinasp » Fri Oct 02, 2009 5:12 pm

Hi everyone,

Not getting what one wants is stressful. Why ? Because when you want something , you are saying "I will not be happy until I get it". You are making yourself unhappy now, so that you can be happy when you get what you want. But what if you do not get it ? Then you have just made yourself unhappy for no good reason. The more desires you have, the more unhappy you will be.
Its brain chemistry, its a motivational mechanism which has evolved, and has survival value. Our present culture makes things worse. Prozac anyone ? This is way beyond anything in the five nikaya's. A modern way of saying it perhaps ?

Best wishes, Vincent.
vinasp
 
Posts: 1191
Joined: Tue Aug 18, 2009 7:49 pm
Location: Bristol. United Kingdom.

Re: First Noble Truth - dukkha?

Postby acinteyyo » Fri Oct 02, 2009 7:01 pm

Jechbi wrote:Dukkha is one of those words that has lots of different shades of meaning in different contexts. That's why you see it used so often without an English translation.
In my personal opinion, the answer to your question is that these things are dukkha because of ignorance. Others may have better answers.

you're indirectly right. ignorance (avijja) leads to these things which are called dukkha by the Buddha. But what I am trying to point out is why are specially those things well-defined by the Buddha as dukkha. The Buddha did surely not just show us that those things are dukkha by accident. ignorance is one of the reasons for the origination of dukkha, that's kind of clear.
I'm not interessted in the meaning of the word dukkha. Let's say stress, unpleasant, unsatisfactory are examples for the meaning of dukkha. So why did the Buddha say that these things mentioned in the first noble truths are dukkha? What if I say they're only dukkha when there are particular circumstances?
In other words, I could also ask: Why/When are things unsatisfactory? We know from the Buddha that they are, but why? I'm repeating myself, now I don't know how to make myself more clear.
best wishes
Zack wrote:
acinteyyo wrote:
Maha-satipatthana Sutta wrote: (DN22)"Now what is the noble truth of stress? Birth is stressful, aging is stressful, death is stressful; sorrow, lamentation, pain, distress, & despair are stressful; association with the unbeloved is stressful; separation from the loved is stressful; not getting what one wants is stressful. In short, the five clinging-aggregates are stressful."

The question is WHY are these things dukkha?

Craving is why; craving leads to Greed, Hate and delusion. = stress= etc., etc.

sorry Zack but you did not get what I'm really asking. I already explained it here
best wishes
vinasp wrote:Hi everyone,
Not getting what one wants is stressful. Why ? Because when you want something , you are saying "I will not be happy until I get it". You are making yourself unhappy now, so that you can be happy when you get what you want. But what if you do not get it ? Then you have just made yourself unhappy for no good reason. The more desires you have, the more unhappy you will be. Its brain chemistry, its a motivational mechanism which has evolved, and has survival value. Our present culture makes things worse. Prozac anyone ? This is way beyond anything in the five nikaya's. A modern way of saying it perhaps ?
Best wishes, Vincent.

you made some good points. I underlined interessting points.
best wishes
Pubbe cāhaṃ bhikkhave, etarahi ca dukkhañceva paññāpemi, dukkhassa ca nirodhaṃ. (M.22)
Both formerly, monks, and now, it is just suffering that I make known and the ending of suffering.
Pathabyā ekarajjena, saggassa gamanena vā sabbalokādhipaccena, sotāpattiphalaṃ varaṃ. (Dhp 178)
Sole dominion over the earth, going to heaven or lordship over all worlds: the fruit of stream-entry excels them.

:anjali:
User avatar
acinteyyo
 
Posts: 993
Joined: Mon Jun 01, 2009 9:48 am
Location: Neuburg/Donau, Germany

Re: First Noble Truth - dukkha?

Postby alan » Sat Oct 03, 2009 1:54 am

Acinteyyo, I've often thought that the difference between a religious Buddhist--one who gladly does the work of study/contemplation/meditation, as opposed to just having Buddhism as a preferred ideology, to be pulled out from time to time when desired or needed, is just this very question of understanding dukkha. So how to go about that? Well,first look at the way you put the question. Maybe it is best to focus not on the list, but on the conclusion--the five clinging/aggregates themselves are dukkha.
Why? Well we know they are impermanent, inconstant, subject to change. We know they are not ours, beyond our control, never to be depended on--and yet we think and act as if this is not applicable to us!
Buddha tells us there is no lasting happiness to be found here, in these aggregates of clinging, and points to a way out.
Also keep in mind here he was coming from a state of bliss, of unrestricted awareness, beyond all viewpoints, released. How to teach a way to get there? First of all, it would make sense to let your students know that although they may think they are happy and doing well, they are in fact suffering and deluded. Comprehending this truth is the point of entry to the path. Welcome!
alan
 
Posts: 2508
Joined: Wed Sep 30, 2009 12:14 am
Location: Miramar beach, Fl.

Re: First Noble Truth - dukkha?

Postby Ben » Sat Oct 03, 2009 2:29 am

Hi Alan
alan wrote:First of all, it would make sense to let your students know that although they may think they are happy and doing well, they are in fact suffering and deluded. Comprehending this truth is the point of entry to the path. Welcome!


I'm looking at teaching some students some fundamentals of Buddhism in a couple of weeks as part of a unit on 'death and dying'. I've given the approach some thought and have concerns with reagards to how one would communicate the above without generating disbelief and negativity from your audience. I am inclined to present material that will lead them to the conclusion that dukkha is all pervasive even in the most joyful of (mundane) experiences. And I think you can do that quite well by the use of examples of recent events so that they can, see it for themselves. such examples as the Samoan tsunami, the Indonesian earthquakes, images of people in old age, illness, prevalence of mental disease, substance abuse, obesity, losing loved ones and being associated with the undesirable (bullying, etc), and statistics on divorce. And so by degree the dukkha in happiness or pleasure in the form of its inherent impermanence. You could then make some statement about how we live our lives as though we are invincible and will live forever, yet we are constantly reminded of the salutory facts of life that everything, internal or external, is inherently transitory, void of any substantial core or of an abiding self, and when we form an attachment to it - a cause of misery(dukkha).
kind regards
ben
"One cannot step twice into the same river, nor can one grasp any mortal substance in a stable condition, but it scatters and again gathers; it forms and dissolves, and approaches and departs."

- Hereclitus


Compassionate Hands Foundation (Buddhist aid in Myanmar) • Buddhist Global ReliefUNHCR
Buddhist Life Stories of Australia

e: ben.dhammawheel@gmail.com
User avatar
Ben
Site Admin
 
Posts: 15960
Joined: Wed Dec 31, 2008 12:49 am
Location: Land of the sleeping gods

Re: First Noble Truth - dukkha?

Postby alan » Sat Oct 03, 2009 2:45 am

Hi Ben.
If you are asking my opinion about how to teach that class, I would say it is much better not to do it for now. Better to do the hard work of comprehending dukkha, making that realization part of your life, and then following and living the path. When you get to the point where you can teach from your life, and have the presence that your students will respect, go ahead.
alan
 
Posts: 2508
Joined: Wed Sep 30, 2009 12:14 am
Location: Miramar beach, Fl.

Re: First Noble Truth - dukkha?

Postby Ben » Sat Oct 03, 2009 3:11 am

No Alan.
I am not asking your opinion. And yes, I am confident in my ability to teach that class and have the respect of the students.
The point is, I think its counter-productive to tell people they're deluded and that's why they suffer. There's a better way to get people to accept a potentially uncomfortable reality rather than saying something which could be interpreted as a value judgement and thus dismissed.
kind regards

Ben
"One cannot step twice into the same river, nor can one grasp any mortal substance in a stable condition, but it scatters and again gathers; it forms and dissolves, and approaches and departs."

- Hereclitus


Compassionate Hands Foundation (Buddhist aid in Myanmar) • Buddhist Global ReliefUNHCR
Buddhist Life Stories of Australia

e: ben.dhammawheel@gmail.com
User avatar
Ben
Site Admin
 
Posts: 15960
Joined: Wed Dec 31, 2008 12:49 am
Location: Land of the sleeping gods

Re: First Noble Truth - dukkha?

Postby alan » Sat Oct 03, 2009 3:37 am

What is that better way?
alan
 
Posts: 2508
Joined: Wed Sep 30, 2009 12:14 am
Location: Miramar beach, Fl.

Re: First Noble Truth - dukkha?

Postby pink_trike » Sat Oct 03, 2009 3:49 am

Ben wrote:No Alan.
I am not asking your opinion. And yes, I am confident in my ability to teach that class and have the respect of the students.
The point is, I think its counter-productive to tell people they're deluded and that's why they suffer. There's a better way to get people to accept a potentially uncomfortable reality rather than saying something which could be interpreted as a value judgement and thus dismissed.
kind regards

Ben

Agreed, Ben. The surest way to close someone's mind is to tell them they're deluded. Gently and directly pointing at dissatisfaction in their own life encourages them to discover their own blinders and arrive at their own aha! moments. You sound like a darned good teacher.
Vision is Mind
Mind is Empty
Emptiness is Clear Light
Clear Light is Union
Union is Great Bliss

- Dawa Gyaltsen

---

Disclaimer: I'm a non-religious practitioner of Theravada, Mahayana/Vajrayana, and Tibetan Bon Dzogchen mind-training.
User avatar
pink_trike
 
Posts: 1038
Joined: Wed Dec 31, 2008 7:29 am

Re: First Noble Truth - dukkha?

Postby alan » Sat Oct 03, 2009 4:04 am

When I talked about "your students" it was in reference to the Buddha, after his enlightenment. How would he, from this state of bliss, teach people who were in a normal state, a state of dukkha?
What would be his priorities? How would he motivate people?
alan
 
Posts: 2508
Joined: Wed Sep 30, 2009 12:14 am
Location: Miramar beach, Fl.

Re: First Noble Truth - dukkha?

Postby BlackBird » Sat Oct 03, 2009 4:43 am

Ben wrote:The point is, I think its counter-productive to tell people they're deluded and that's why they suffer. There's a better way to get people to accept a potentially uncomfortable reality rather than saying something which could be interpreted as a value judgement and thus dismissed.
kind regards

Ben


Hi Ben.

I would have to agree. Going in "all guns blazing" is something many agnostics have an aversion to, even when the truth of suffering is broken to people softly, it's quite likely to be rejected, because most would rather believe that life isn't suffering at all... I'm reminded of how that guy "Cypher" in The Matrix wants to be re-plugged in, because the reality of life is too harsh for him.

I think this is reflected in the Canon also, the Buddha didn't straight out teach the Four Noble Truths to everyone he met, because some people weren't ready to hear it, for example the Kalamas.

I guess it depends whether people are attracted by the carrot or the stick. In my experience - In the West: They tend to resent the stick. So it's all about highlighting the brilliance of that delicious carrot.

Metta
Jack
"For a disciple who has conviction in the Teacher's message & lives to penetrate it, what accords with the Dhamma is this:
'The Blessed One is the Teacher, I am a disciple. He is the one who knows, not I." - MN. 70 Kitagiri Sutta
User avatar
BlackBird
 
Posts: 1860
Joined: Fri Apr 17, 2009 12:07 pm
Location: New Zealand

Re: First Noble Truth - dukkha?

Postby appicchato » Sat Oct 03, 2009 5:18 am

alan wrote:How would he, from this state of bliss, teach people who were in a normal state, a state of dukkha?

It's not a question of how would he...he did...
User avatar
appicchato
 
Posts: 1560
Joined: Wed Dec 31, 2008 12:47 am
Location: Bridge on the River Kwae

Re: First Noble Truth - dukkha?

Postby alan » Sat Oct 03, 2009 5:34 am

It is a question of how he would teach. That is the whole point of this thread. He taught dukkha first. Why?
alan
 
Posts: 2508
Joined: Wed Sep 30, 2009 12:14 am
Location: Miramar beach, Fl.

Re: First Noble Truth - dukkha?

Postby Jechbi » Sat Oct 03, 2009 6:04 am

Thanks, acinteyyo.
acinteyyo wrote:So why did the Buddha say that these things mentioned in the first noble truths are dukkha?

Perhaps because in the context of this passage, the teaching has to do with contemplation, and specifically (from the translation by Maurice Walshe) --
... a monk abides contemplating mind-objects as mind-objects in respect of the Four Noble Truths. How does he do so?
Followed by instructions to understand mind objects in respect of the Four Noble Truths. Maybe that's why those particular things were mentioned, because they are helpful for this particular contemplation.
Rain soddens what is kept wrapped up,
But never soddens what is open;
Uncover, then, what is concealed,
Lest it be soddened by the rain.
User avatar
Jechbi
 
Posts: 1268
Joined: Thu Jan 01, 2009 3:38 am

Next

Return to Open Dhamma

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 7 guests