Author Topic: The First Noble Truth: Life has inevitable suffering. Why?  (Read 2034 times)

Offline Rahul

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The First Noble Truth: Life has inevitable suffering. Why?
« on: November 30, 2017, 12:31:40 am »
The First Noble Truth says: Life has inevitable suffering. Many people misquote this as 'life is suffering'. But saying that would not be true, because life has happiness, too. But nobody's life can be free from suffering, i.e. suffering is unavoidable, inevitable. Four forms of physical suffering are: birth (janm), death (mrityu), aging (jara), illness (vyadhi). Two forms of mental suffering are: association with the things one doesn't like, dissociation with the things one likes.

One reason for the existence of suffering is the existence of happiness. Right can't exist without left. Light can't exist without darkness. How do you define right without left, or light without darkness? So happiness can't exist without suffering. Everybody wants happiness, but in the process of defining happiness, we are implying the misery/dissatisfaction/suffering. If I define happiness as sipping a cup of coffee while lying on my cozy couch and watching TV in winter evenings, I am implying that being out in cold with no coziness and having to do work without coffee is misery. If I define happiness as being in the company of my love, I am implying that separation from her is misery.

In our quest of defining happiness, we are defining the misery, too. The things/circumstances that we define as happiness will then become the source of the misery. As long as you haven't got that thing/circumstance, you will be on fire, or sad, or frustrated, or angry... etc. i.e. miserable. When you have got it, you may feel happy for a while. New car, for example! But with time passing, your experience of happiness (driving the new car) becomes common, you start taking it for granted. And then it no longer is your happiness as it used to be. But you still want that feeling, and so now you define something higher to be your happiness... bigger car, more luxurious car, maybe a private yacht... And the cycle of misery continues.

Both physical and mental suffering are thus unavoidable in life... Share your thoughts. Let us try to realize the truth of suffering in life... Amitabha!

Offline VincentRJ

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Re: The First Noble Truth: Life has inevitable suffering. Why?
« Reply #1 on: December 02, 2017, 04:52:46 am »
One way of looking at this, from a purely practical aspect, is that suffering in all its manifestations is a necessary biological and psychological signal that something is wrong (in our body or mind) and needs attending to.

If we didn't have the capacity to suffer we'd get into all sorts of serious trouble. Children would stick their hand in a fire just for fun. Whenever we developed  any  medical condition, we'd likely not be aware of it because we wouldn't experience any pain or discomfort and the condition could  gradually become so severe that it would progress beyond any remedy and we'd die unnecessarily.

However, the suffering described in Buddhism is not just pain but includes all types of discomfort, dissatisfaction and dis-ease. When we feel hungry, we feel a sense of discomfort, which is a signal that we should eat. Without the capacity to experience the dissatisfaction of hunger, we wouldn't know when to eat, and without the discomfort of feeling full or satiated we wouldn't know when to stop eating, and we'd become obese.  :wink1:

Offline Ron-the-Elder

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Re: The First Noble Truth: Life has inevitable suffering. Why?
« Reply #2 on: December 02, 2017, 05:22:50 am »
Hi, Rahul.

One of the underlying aspects of "dukkha" ( Birth, aging, disease, death & dissatisfaction with what exists ) is impermanence:

The cause Buddha pointed out:  "Our attachment and clinging to that which is "impermanent".  The root cause is our ignorance of this fact.  That is why he cited "ignorance" as the cause of suffering.

Now, you don't agree that all life is suffering, but what you forgot to mention is that "everything" in life is impermanent, including life itself.  Evidence of this fact are the biological strategies developed by literally every living thing.  Why?  Because our universe is harmful, harsh, unforgiving, and always deadly in the end.  Therefore, a generational approach to allow the continuance of life has been adopted:  "reproduction, and rebirth." :r4wheel:
What Makes an Elder? :
A head of gray hairs doesn't mean one's an elder. Advanced in years, one's called an old fool.
But one in whom there is truth, restraint, rectitude, gentleness,self-control, he's called an elder, his impurities disgorged, enlightened.
-Dhammpada, 19, translated by Thanissaro Bhikkhu.

Online IdleChater

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Re: The First Noble Truth: Life has inevitable suffering. Why?
« Reply #3 on: December 02, 2017, 05:52:15 am »
Hi, Rahul.

One of the underlying aspects of "dukkha" ( Birth, aging, disease, death & dissatisfaction with what exists ) is impermanence:

The cause Buddha pointed out:  "Our attachment and clinging to that which is "impermanent".  The root cause is our ignorance of this fact.  That is why he cited "ignorance" as the cause of suffering.

Quite right.

My guru once taught that, in a practical sense, our attachments arise from fear.  When we are happy we cling to that feeling because we are afraid that the happiness will end.  When we are sad, we cling to our aversion to it, because we are afraid that the sadness will not end.  And so on.

On another practical note, as a very young man of 11 years old, I developed what would become a passion for sports cars after seeing a late-model Robin-egg blue, Jaguar XK120 drophead in a used car lot near my home.  I spent nearly 50 years lusting after such cars and clung to a dream of having one of my own.  As I got older, I began to fear I would never have one.  This caused immeasurable suffering.  Finally, about  6 years ago, I managed to get a 1999 Miata with really low miles.  Suffering ceased.  Later, when between jobs, I was afraid that I would have to let my Dream Car go.  Suffering gain.

Then, one day I realized that no matter what might happen, I had still lived The Dream.  It wasn't the car, it was the dream of owning one and it was no longer a dream.  It was over.  Nothing left to cling too.  Enlightenment.  Of a sort.  The car sits under it's blanket clean and shiney, gassed and oiled, covered with autumn leaves, ready and waiting peacefully for it's next call to adventure.  It's enough.  I am content.

Offline Solodris

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Re: The First Noble Truth: Life has inevitable suffering. Why?
« Reply #4 on: December 02, 2017, 11:31:50 am »
From an experimental standpoint, after throwing most of my recreational property away and doing an actual Samana walk, I felt like just having a bed was a blessing when it was over, and I keep telling myself: "I will never complain over having a bed." Most people take their beds for granted, they don't even think about it. I've also suffered for 10 years in heavy drug addiction and finally getting treatment made me appreciate the small things, like reading the newspaper or having the ability to use a computer and even having internet. We inherit most of the conditional values as there is not much else than our parents environment to grow from.

Conditioning represents who we are, we grow together and our understanding shifts as we move forward. When I went to do group meditation I thought to myself: "This is the place of conditioning, home is the place of practicing the conditioned." From there, I started to meditate at home thinking I was at the group meditation, just doing the same thing and it worked well. Adopting the conditioned by understanding the value behind it.

Offline VisuddhiRaptor

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Re: The First Noble Truth: Life has inevitable suffering. Why?
« Reply #5 on: December 02, 2017, 01:42:15 pm »
The First Noble Truth says: Life has inevitable suffering.
No it doesn't. At least what is correct here is this thread has been started on the Beginners Zone.  :teehee:

Offline ground

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Re: The First Noble Truth: Life has inevitable suffering. Why?
« Reply #6 on: December 02, 2017, 03:27:13 pm »
Both physical and mental suffering are thus unavoidable in life...
That is no truth. It is utterly wrong. Just accept life as life and there is no suffering. There is only life.  :fu:

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Re: The First Noble Truth: Life has inevitable suffering. Why?
« Reply #7 on: December 02, 2017, 04:01:31 pm »
The First Noble Truth says: Life has inevitable suffering.
No it doesn't. At least what is correct here is this thread has been started on the Beginners Zone.  :teehee:

Buzzkill

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Re: The First Noble Truth: Life has inevitable suffering. Why?
« Reply #8 on: December 02, 2017, 04:01:56 pm »
Both physical and mental suffering are thus unavoidable in life...
That is no truth. It is utterly wrong. Just accept life as life and there is no suffering. There is only life.  :fu:

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Offline Rahul

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Re: The First Noble Truth: Life has inevitable suffering. Why?
« Reply #9 on: December 03, 2017, 10:48:31 pm »
It's ok if my way of stating the first noble truth is deemed incorrect to some people. It would be better if they give the right statement instead of just refuting mine.

Offline ground

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Re: The First Noble Truth: Life has inevitable suffering. Why?
« Reply #10 on: December 03, 2017, 11:28:12 pm »
No basis.  Boundless meaninglessness.   :fu:

Offline Rahul

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Re: The First Noble Truth: Life has inevitable suffering. Why?
« Reply #11 on: December 03, 2017, 11:34:18 pm »
So, in one of the suttas (https://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitaka/sn/sn45/sn45.165.wlsh.html) I came across this interesting thing:

Quote
"Monks, there are these three kinds of suffering. What three? Suffering caused by pain, suffering caused by the formations (or conditioned existence), suffering due to change. It is for the full comprehension, clear understanding, ending and abandonment of these three forms of suffering that the Noble Eightfold Path is to be cultivated..."

Anyone has links to suttas that elaborate on this one? Or any examples/thoughts? Can't we say that 'pain' is caused by the 'sankhara' (formations) itself? Why suffering caused by pain is listed separate from that caused by formations?

And isn't it that the suffering caused by formation is basically the suffering caused by the change? Because formations are bound to age and change (vayadhamma sankhara).
« Last Edit: December 03, 2017, 11:44:34 pm by Rahul »

Offline VisuddhiRaptor

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Re: The First Noble Truth: Life has inevitable suffering. Why?
« Reply #12 on: December 04, 2017, 03:58:45 am »
Quote
"Monks, there are these three kinds of suffering. What three? Suffering caused by pain, suffering caused by the formations (or conditioned existence), suffering due to change. It is for the full comprehension, clear understanding, ending and abandonment of these three forms of suffering that the Noble Eightfold Path is to be cultivated..."

Anyone has links to suttas that elaborate on this one?

The above sutta is a mistranslation. The sutta should read:

1. Suffering about/due to pain.

2. Suffering about/due to change.

3. Suffering due to mental constructing.

Many suttas say pain is not suffering, example: https://suttacentral.net/en/sn36.6

Many suttas say change is not suffering, example: https://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitaka/sn/sn22/sn22.001.than.html

All suffering is caused by craving & attachment; including craving & attachment towards pain and craving & attachment towards change. Pain & change do not cause suffering, which is why pain & change are not mentioned in the 2nd noble truth.

 :namaste:


Offline VisuddhiRaptor

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Re: The First Noble Truth: Life has inevitable suffering. Why?
« Reply #13 on: December 04, 2017, 04:06:49 am »
It's ok if my way of stating the first noble truth is deemed incorrect to some people. It would be better if they give the right statement instead of just refuting mine.

The 1st noble truth summarises all suffering as attachment to the five aggregates - saṃkhittena pañcu­pādā­nak­khan­dhā dukkhā.

The other types of suffering mentioned in the 1st noble truths are types of attachment, such as the ideas "my birth", "my sickness", "my aging", "my death", "my sorrow", "my lamentation", "my separation", "my loss" & "my want".

Before the Buddha, people believed birth, aging, sickness, death, sorrow, lamentation, separation, loss, etc, where suffering but the Buddha revealed these are states of attachment (upadana) and what is real suffering is attachment (upadana).

Quote
Then, when the Blessed One had passed away, some bhikkhus, not yet freed from passion, lifted up their arms and wept; and some, flinging themselves on the ground, rolled from side to side and wept, lamenting: "Too soon has the Blessed One come to his Parinibbana! Too soon has the Happy One come to his Parinibbana! Too soon has the Eye of the World vanished from sight!"

But the bhikkhus who were freed from passion, mindful and clearly comprehending, reflected in this way: "Impermanent are all compounded things. How could this be otherwise?"

DN 16

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Re: The First Noble Truth: Life has inevitable suffering. Why?
« Reply #14 on: December 04, 2017, 08:26:30 am »
Quote
"Monks, there are these three kinds of suffering. What three? Suffering caused by pain, suffering caused by the formations (or conditioned existence), suffering due to change. It is for the full comprehension, clear understanding, ending and abandonment of these three forms of suffering that the Noble Eightfold Path is to be cultivated..."

Anyone has links to suttas that elaborate on this one?

The above sutta is a mistranslation.

Really?  On you do you base that assessment on?  I know you aren't a recognized translator of Pali, so, whose judgement are you relying on?

 


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