Welcome, Guest
Username: Password: Remember me

TOPIC: The truth of dukkha

The truth of dukkha 09 Jun 2016 18:10 #103576

Hello Kenneth,
hello everyone.
It's nice to be here. You can read my introduction in the Welcome section.
I'm new here and a late comer to this discussion which I'm aware ended a year ago! But it really caught my attention (and enjoyed reading the posts) because this is a discussion I've had quite a few times before and something I've reflected a lot on. And maybe some of you might still read here so here's my opinion on the topic. First, from my understanding of the suttas (I've read most of the Sutta-Pitakas), it really supports the view that dukkha is a universal characteristic of all formations, meaning of everything that has for nature to arise and pass away, which basically means all experiences. A frequent saying of the Buddha of the Pali canon is "whatever is impermanent is dukkha." Another is "all formations are dukkha." In the vedana-samyutta section of the Samyutta-Nikaya, the Buddha says that "whatever is felt is included in dukkha." That pretty much includes all experiences. So Kenneth, what you say here has strong canonical support.
Now, I see the question is asking of our opinion and not canonical support, but I thought it would be interesting anyway to make that observation from the Pali canon. In my opinion, it seems that in order to generate the dispassion necessary for "the mind to turn away from the formations" as the Buddha of suttas would say, and enter cessation (nirodha), one would need to consider all formations as dukkha. Though I could be wrong: I'm still pre-path. I think perhaps many resist to the idea that all experiences are dukkha because they understand dukkha as meaning pain. I understand it to mean all shades of frustrations, unsatisfactoriness, and also to the fact that all experiences can't fullfil us. No experience can be maintained satisfactory for too long. For example, a pleasant meditative state slips away and is replaced by an unpleasant one. What I imagine an Arahant to be like is that they still consider all formations as dukkha, but they don't identify with it as "I" or "mine" anymore, which would create lots of inner room for peace.
I hope I don't come off as arrogant with all my thoughts here as an unenlightened newbie. I realize many here are way ahead of me in this path. I'm still an unenlightened one working my behind off for first path!

Regards,

Benoit
The administrator has disabled public write access.
The following user(s) said Thank You: shargrol, Kenneth Folk, Kacchapa, Laurel Carrington

The truth of dukkha 10 Jun 2016 08:39 #103578

Thanks, Benoit.

Just to chime in with you: I agree. all experiences include some element of dukkha. All of them.
The administrator has disabled public write access.
The following user(s) said Thank You: Kate Gowen, Kenneth Folk, Benoit Santerre

The truth of dukkha 19 Jun 2016 18:30 #103651

I now tend to agree with what Benoit wrote and Chris seconded.
The administrator has disabled public write access.
The following user(s) said Thank You: Chris Marti, Kate Gowen, Andy, Benoit Santerre

The truth of dukkha 16 Feb 2019 16:38 #110432

Another resurrected topic, this time from the KFD (Kenneth Folk Dharma) message boards.
The administrator has disabled public write access.

The truth of dukkha 17 Feb 2019 11:35 #110458

The original topic post, by Kenneth Folk:

As long as you draw breath, there is dukkha. It's not because you are doing it wrong. To misunderstand this is to misunderstand Buddhism.
Last Edit: 17 Feb 2019 11:37 by Chris Marti.
The administrator has disabled public write access.

The truth of dukkha 18 Feb 2019 10:24 #110466

I think we need to carefully specify what is meant by "dukkha" because people use the term in a lot of different ways.

Not so long ago, someone told me that one Buddhist translator/author (maybe it was Stephen Batchelor?) had said that a better translation of "dukkha" would be "struggle" rather than "suffering" and I liked that a lot. We can stop struggling with our experience, but it will always be inherently painful. This translation works especially well with the parable of the two darts.
The administrator has disabled public write access.

The truth of dukkha 18 Feb 2019 11:56 #110467

Do you agree with Kenneth Folk's premise, Andromeda?
The administrator has disabled public write access.

The truth of dukkha 18 Feb 2019 13:03 #110468

So much for the end of suffering? :dry:
Chris Marti wrote:
The original topic post, by Kenneth Folk:

As long as you draw breath, there is dukkha. It's not because you are doing it wrong. To misunderstand this is to misunderstand Buddhism.

But more sympathetically, enormous numbers of people I know who are/were spiritual seekers seem to be driven by a misery/anxiety/fearfulness/depression/angst that they hope will be relieved by some kind of practice. That said, others in the same context seek relief in drugs, sports, or whatever. Perhaps the relief comes in giving up seeking relief? I don't know really. There's a guy at church I've known for several years, and he's reached that point in his practice where suffering isn't something that bothers him. I know this because he is in constant pain from a bad leg/hip, but is cheerful and uncomplaining. And he suffered a setback in his hopes for a monastic life last year, and that, too, he has taken in stride. There's a resilience in him that wasn't there four years ago. I've also met people who have a deep contemplative practice that develops from an early age (8, 10, 12 years old) without it being tangled up in the kind of intensive spiritual seeking or radical conversion experience I have been more familiar with from contexts like DhO, AN, etc. I find this fascinating.

Christianity specializes in the embrace of suffering, sometimes in unusual ways, such as (rare) contemplatives who share in Christ's suffering in supernatural ways (ie Padre Pio or others with stigmata), as well as in the old traditions of penance (it is still common to see pilgrims walking on their knees at sacred sites, offering that suffering on behalf of a sick family member). The misery of human life is on display here around me, too, in ways that are more hidden from sight in the US. The poverty, the illness, the poor conditions are so visible that when one does see material wealth it, too, seems a kind of misery.

The question might be, why was there an understanding on my part, back when I first started looking for something to help me fix my mess, that pragmatic dharma offered an end of suffering? I swear I remember that being The Big Reason everyone was into it. But I might well have been misunderstanding or ignoring the parts I didn't want to hear at the time. Or everyone finally actually learned something and changed the sales pitch. :blink:
The administrator has disabled public write access.
The following user(s) said Thank You: Laurel Carrington

The truth of dukkha 18 Feb 2019 14:14 #110471

Chris Marti wrote:
Do you agree with Kenneth Folk's premise, Andromeda?

It depends on what he means by the word "dukkha," Chris. I do believe that life is inherently painful and have been trying to understand and come to terms with this since my first encounter with the dukkha nanas at age 10 or 12. No small wonder I've generally gravitated toward the more morbid types of spiritual practice.

Edit: I went through and found that he defined dukkha as the usual "unsatisfactoriness, stress, suffering" and so yes, I agree with this premise.

Edit 2: And actually, I was a morbid, death-obsessed child even prior to the dukkha nanas. So my answer to this question should probably be taken with a grain of salt!
Last Edit: 18 Feb 2019 16:40 by Andromeda.
The administrator has disabled public write access.

The truth of dukkha 18 Feb 2019 19:01 #110473

You know what struck me, rereading the first few pages of the original thread? How often Kate participated with really interesting comments, and how much she was ignored. I miss her. I hope she's well.
The administrator has disabled public write access.
The following user(s) said Thank You: Kacchapa, Laurel Carrington

The truth of dukkha 18 Feb 2019 19:32 #110475

Kate was very, very helpful to me way back the day. I went to see her once upon a time, and we had a nice dinner together. We disagree on a lot of things, but speaking her mind is one of the coolest things about Kate. I will always be grateful to her for introducing me to Aro Buddhism.
Last Edit: 18 Feb 2019 19:34 by Chris Marti.
The administrator has disabled public write access.
The following user(s) said Thank You: Ona Kiser, Kacchapa, Laurel Carrington

The truth of dukkha 18 Feb 2019 20:36 #110478

The definition I’ve always kept in mind is that dukkha equals pain plus resistance, so insofar as a person is not resisting, there is no dukkha. That works for me. It’s probably true that no one is awakened to the point of never experiencing resistance, taking into account that when someone shouts at us or we’re hit on the thumb with a hammer there’s an initial, reptilian brain response of “NO!” to the whole thing. But certainly it can be greatly, almost entirely, reduced. Trivial personal anecdote: I am working on a novel, and today made the mistake of deleting permanently about 5 pages of stuff I’d written yesterday. I tried different ways of recovering it and then shrugged. There was no emotion involved. I think a lot of little things can become much easier to take as time goes on, but there will always be something that gets us, depending on one’s individual personal history and patterns.
The administrator has disabled public write access.
The following user(s) said Thank You: Kacchapa

The truth of dukkha 18 Feb 2019 22:26 #110480

Chris Marti wrote:
The original topic post, by Kenneth Folk:

As long as you draw breath, there is dukkha. It's not because you are doing it wrong. To misunderstand this is to misunderstand Buddhism.

When Kenneth posted this I wondered if he had moved on to a newer understanding than the "happiness beyond conditions". What I've remembered from KFD days was the frequently referenced goal of a happiness beyond conditions. Is that at odds with the fact of dukkha?
The administrator has disabled public write access.

The truth of dukkha 19 Feb 2019 07:00 #110486

Building on what Laurel said, I go with

dukka =
pain * avoidance
or
pleasure * clinging
or
fantasy * ignorance

No avoidance, clinging, or ignorance = no dukka

And I think it's okay for a human to "round down", in other words, sure you could argue that somewhere in your experience a little skin cell that is slightly itchy so there is a tiny bit of discomfort that you would sorta prefer to go away so there is a tiny bid of avoidance, so therefore there is a microscopic amount of dukka ---- and the dukka police would go "aha! admit it, you have dukka, admit it!!!". To which I would reply, get a real job dukka police. :)
The administrator has disabled public write access.
The following user(s) said Thank You: Kacchapa

The truth of dukkha 19 Feb 2019 07:06 #110487

My theory is that Kenneth Folk was reacting to the pervasive idea in pragmatic dharma circles that one can rid themselves of all suffering in all forms. We can't, so in typical Kenneth fashion, he made the issue a metaphysical challenge.
The administrator has disabled public write access.
The following user(s) said Thank You: shargrol, Kacchapa

The truth of dukkha 19 Feb 2019 07:15 #110490

shargrol wrote:
Building on what Laurel said, I go with

dukka =
pain * avoidance
or
pleasure * clinging
or
fantasy * ignorance

No avoidance, clinging, or ignorance = no dukka

And I think it's okay for a human to "round down", in other words, sure you could argue that somewhere in your experience a little skin cell that is slightly itchy so there is a tiny bit of discomfort that you would sorta prefer to go away so there is a tiny bid of avoidance, so therefore there is a microscopic amount of dukka ---- and the dukka police would go "aha! admit it, you have dukka, admit it!!!". To which I would reply, get a real job dukka police. :)

One usually has a dukkha-police force living in ones head, no? Until they quit, get fired, or go on vacation, at least.
The administrator has disabled public write access.
The following user(s) said Thank You: shargrol

The truth of dukkha 19 Feb 2019 08:16 #110493

shargrol wrote:
Building on what Laurel said, I go with

dukka =
pain * avoidance
or
pleasure * clinging
or
fantasy * ignorance

No avoidance, clinging, or ignorance = no dukka

And I think it's okay for a human to "round down", in other words, sure you could argue that somewhere in your experience a little skin cell that is slightly itchy so there is a tiny bit of discomfort that you would sorta prefer to go away so there is a tiny bid of avoidance, so therefore there is a microscopic amount of dukka ---- and the dukka police would go "aha! admit it, you have dukka, admit it!!!". To which I would reply, get a real job dukka police. :)

But if we're to continue in the process of uprooting reactivity, don't we need something akin to "dukkha police" being aware of that stuff?
The administrator has disabled public write access.
The following user(s) said Thank You: shargrol, Ona Kiser

The truth of dukkha 19 Feb 2019 10:50 #110499

So in this context, what I'm calling dukka police is the little voice that says: "hey, that cold breeze made me shiver a little. oh no, was that aversion? have I lost my enlightenment? is the entire realm of dharma a fantasy and we're all just naked chimpanzees? or do i need to become a monastic to fix this? aaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaah!"

It could also be a little voice on the internet which says: "you mistyped the second to last sentence in your reply and used an adjective that seems like wrong speech to me. clearly you really don't know anything about meditation. and your good advice which cut right to the heart of the problem I talked about can be ignored because you are not perfect. I'm not listening to you lalalalalalalalalalala!"

So dukka police in the way I'm using it is over-sensitivity or over indulgence in the idea of dukka. Of course we need to be aware of aversion, clinging, and ignorance. But below a certain threshold, it's okay to let things self liberate as they arise :)
The administrator has disabled public write access.
The following user(s) said Thank You: Ona Kiser, Laurel Carrington, Andromeda

The truth of dukkha 19 Feb 2019 11:21 #110501

Ah, ok, gotcha. I had a martial arts teacher who called that the "inner sensei" and he said you should kill him. It sounds like this is what you mean here. Basically, the inner critic?
The administrator has disabled public write access.

The truth of dukkha 19 Feb 2019 13:34 #110502

Chris Marti wrote:
My theory is that Kenneth Folk was reacting to the pervasive idea in pragmatic dharma circles that one can rid themselves of all suffering in all forms. We can't, so in typical Kenneth fashion, he made the issue a metaphysical challenge.

And how did this idea get to be pervasive?
The administrator has disabled public write access.

The truth of dukkha 19 Feb 2019 17:53 #110507

And how did this idea get to be pervasive?

From my perspective, it got its start with Actual Freedom. Then the idea spread like a virus. Several prominent pragmatic dharma aficionados adopted it for a while, including the aforementioned Kenneth Folk. That was the cause of one of shargrol's schisms.

:P
Last Edit: 19 Feb 2019 17:53 by Chris Marti.
The administrator has disabled public write access.
The following user(s) said Thank You: shargrol, Ona Kiser, Andy, Andromeda

The truth of dukkha 20 Feb 2019 12:13 #110513

I have a deep horror of emotional repression, but especially of fear and anger. Gives me the howling fantods. Which I try to embrace rather than repress, of course.
The administrator has disabled public write access.
The following user(s) said Thank You: Chris Marti, Ona Kiser

The truth of dukkha 20 Feb 2019 14:30 #110518

Andromeda wrote:
Gives me the howling fantods.

Props to anyone using DFW references. :P
The administrator has disabled public write access.
The following user(s) said Thank You: Chris Marti

The truth of dukkha 20 Feb 2019 17:08 #110521

The administrator has disabled public write access.

The truth of dukkha 20 Feb 2019 19:21 #110522

Russell wrote:
Andromeda wrote:
Gives me the howling fantods.

Props to anyone using DFW references. :P

Infinite Jest was brilliant. I was saddened but not surprised when DFW committed suicide--his descriptions of despair rang all too true.

Howling fantods: a serious case of the heebie jeebies; an attack of extreme uneasiness.
The administrator has disabled public write access.
Moderators: Kenneth Folk
Time to create page: 0.231 seconds
Powered by Kunena Forum