DUKKHA IN DEPTH
The pages so far are an introduction to panoramic sensing, and how it neutralises wanting. I hope that now the reader will return to Chapter One and try panoraming for themsleves.
The following sections are intended only for people with a deeper interest in the origins and development of the word Dukkha.
Buddha's central teachings are the Four Noble Truths. The Mahāsatipaṭṭhāna is the most detailed version of the Four Noble Truths in the Pali scriptures. My ideas are based on this text.
The first Three Truths are about Dukkha, its beginnings, and endings. The Fourth Truth is the Eightfold Path which is a list of eight instructions. In the Mahāsatipaṭṭhāna the first of these instructions is specifically: "The Right Understanding of Dukkha". This understanding is central to Buddhism.
In Buddha's time Dukkha described when the turning of a wheel was problematic, when it was not running smoothly.
Modern suggestions for the interpretation of Dukkha are : suffering, anxiety, distress, unsatisfactory, frustration, unease, stress (ref); – but all these are the results of Dukkha. In the first place they all were caused by things not running smoothly, not turning well, of there being a problem.
Buddha's First, Second, and Third Noble Truth discuss spiritual suffering, and the dissociation of an individual from their true Dharma.
The proof of this interpretation lies in the Second and Third Truths, which are concerned exclusively with a discussion of the Aggregates. These Truths are pure cognitive psychology, with a touch of philosophy, and there is absolutely no mention of any examples of worldly suffering.
But in the First Truth "What is Dukkha?", there is only one small piece of evidence to support this metaphysical idea. The First Truth emphasises various forms of common worldly suffering: illness, old age, death, sorrow, lamentation, pain, grief and distress, and the suffering of not getting what you want, and getting what you don't want.
I can well believe that later in his teaching, Buddha developed compassion for everyday worldly suffering, old age and illness. But he gave us the Four Noble Truths and The Middle Way directly after his enlightenment, in the Sermon of Bernares. These teachings were about the most sublime aspects of his spiritual teaching.
I believe the main reason the original sense of dukkha was adapted in the First Truth, was because it didn't catch the popular imagination. It didn't speak to the common suffering in the everyday lives of normal people.
Most people converting to religions do so when they actually feel suffering – they seek some hope, understanding, or at least a sense of identity with their own suffering – rather than seeking for truth.
It is important to remember: Buddha found the truth about fulfillment in life – not just the truth about worldly suffering, clinging and craving.
And the texts were subject to multiple translations and written more than 400 years after Buddha spoke.
Buddhism is a remarkably versatile religion, and this is because it has very simple, but far reaching truths.
These truths have been clouded over with the years.
This has confused countless generations of Buddhists.
For me, the crucial point is finding people who want "Right Understanding"; who are willing to study the texts, think for themselves and check my ideas.
In the following pages i discuss the original meaning and usage of the word Dukkha, and then analyse the First Noble Truth.
Please continue with The History of Rotary Motion
Back to Chapter Four : Buddhism and Wheels
Back to THE PANORAMA SENSES Priority Pages