Suffering in Buddhism

The standard summary of the Buddha’s teaching can be given in four categories, the so called Four Noble Truths.

2. The Truth of Suffering (Dukkha)
* The Arising of Suffering (Samudaya)
* The Cessation of Struggling (Nirodha)
* The Truth of the Way (Mrga) that leads to the cessation of suffering.

Some say that if you understand the Truth of Suffering you understand all of the Four Noble Truths by implication.

The truth of suffering is indicated in the simple claim that All is Suffering. This phrase, the first doctrinal assumption that we will discuss have a problem for us. It’s not easy to interpret.

If you know Buddhist people, if you are the Buddhist person, you know that the Buddhist tradition is not filled with sadness. Difficult a depressive downbeat tradition. In many respects, it has a kind of lightness.

Buddhism is light, is buoyant, is simple. It almost floats as a religious tradition through the complexity of this entire world. The basic assertion in the Four Respectable Truths, the assertion that all is definitely suffering poses an interpretative problem for us.

How do you get from this claim, the claim that all is suffering, towards the buoyancy and lightness of Buddhist experience?

The first way to start to solution this question is to note that the particular ancient tradition of Buddhist training interprets the phrase “all is usually suffering” in three separate methods. Everything is suffering in one or more of three ways.

The Three Types of Suffering

The first of these types of struggling is called Dukkha-dukkha. Suffering-suffering. The obvious struggling in situations where things result in you physical or mental pain.

The second kind of suffering is called Viparinama-dukkha. Suffering due to transformation or change. This means that even the most pleasurable points can cause you suffering when they start to change and pass away.

The third type of suffering is Sankhara-dukkha. Suffering due to conditioned states. This category of dukkha is associated with pleasurable things that can cause pain even in the midst from the pleasure, if that pleasure is based in an illusion about the nature from the object, or even about the nature of the self.

When I’m speaking about these types of three kinds of suffering, I attempt to illustrate them by constructing the parable that may sound contemporary, yet I think is related to Buddhist examples that are often used to explain the nature of suffering.

This is a parable about a vehicle. I try to imagine scenarios where the car might cause some kind of suffering. To begin with, you got a guy in the automobile driving down the street, he sees his sweetheart on the sidewalk, he waves to her and runs into the back of a tour bus.

There is a huge crash and what he or she feels is Dukkha-dukkha. The palpable physical suffering of an automobile accident. That’s easy to understand.

The second kind of suffering comes if you are attached to that car. Many people relate to this, they have automobiles which they love. They don’t have a very good period during the winter. The winter is vicious. There is a lot of ice. People vandalize automobiles. Rust creeps into parts of the vehicle, the front end becomes out of balance.

As you see, the car begins to disintegrate. It causes you suffering in relation to the pleasure, to the attachment that you have invested in that object, as it starts to slip away from you.
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That is also pretty clear. Viparinama-dukkha, the struggling that comes from change is a pretty easy concept to grasp.

The third concept is a bit more difficult. And I’m not so certain much of the time that I’m really capable to convey it with this example. The way in which I do it is to imagine person in the car, fully invested, with all associated with his ego in this powerful item. Roaring up and down the avenue, feeling the pleasure and energy from being in this powerful embodiment associated with his manhood.

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