Author Topic: The Second Noble Truth: The cause of suffering is craving? Is that all?  (Read 707 times)

Offline Rahul

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"And this, monks is the noble truth of the origination of dukkha: the craving that makes for further becoming — accompanied by passion & delight, relishing now here & now there — i.e., craving for sensual pleasure, craving for becoming, craving for non-becoming."

— SN 56.11

How does craving cause physical suffering? For the mental suffering, I can understand that if there's nothing to crave for, there won't be dissatisfaction, stress, anxiety, fear, the fire of desires... But suffering isn't just mental. What's the connection between physical suffering - birth, death, aging, illness - and craving?

Offline VisuddhiRaptor

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Re: The Second Noble Truth: The cause of suffering is craving? Is that all?
« Reply #1 on: December 18, 2017, 03:51:24 am »
There is no such thing as physical suffering. You seem to take one misunderstanding & then apply it to something as straightforward as the 2nd noble truth to create another misunderstanding. Birth , death, aging & illness are self-views. They mean "I was born, I am sick, I am old, I will die, my mother, father, son , daughter have died"". These self-views arise from craving that leads to new becoming. For suffering to arise, two things are required, namely, craving & self-view becoming. The suttas say:
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The tides of conceiving do not sweep over one who stands upon these foundations, and when the tides of conceiving no longer sweep over him he is called a sage at peace.’ So it was said. And with reference to what was this said?

“Bhikkhu, ‘I am’ is a conceiving; ‘I am this’ is a conceiving; ‘I shall be’ is a conceiving; ‘I shall not be’ is a conceiving; ‘I shall be possessed of form’ is a conceiving; ‘I shall be formless’ is a conceiving; ‘I shall be percipient’ is a conceiving; ‘I shall be non-percipient’ is a conceiving; ‘I shall be neither-percipient-nor-non-percipient’ is a conceiving. Conceiving is a disease, conceiving is a tumour, conceiving is a dart. By overcoming all conceivings, bhikkhu, one is called a sage at peace. And the sage at peace is not born, does not age, does not die; he is not shaken and does not yearn. For there is nothing present in him by which he might be born. Not being born, how could he age? Not ageing, how could he die? Not dying, how could he be shaken? Not being shaken, why should he yearn?

“So it was with reference to this that it was said: ‘The tides of conceiving do not sweep over one who stands upon these foundations, and when the tides of conceiving no longer sweep over him he is called a sage at peace.’

https://suttacentral.net/en/mn140

 :namaste:

Offline VisuddhiRaptor

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Re: The Second Noble Truth: The cause of suffering is craving? Is that all?
« Reply #2 on: December 18, 2017, 03:52:47 am »
There is no such thing as physical suffering. You seem to take one misunderstanding (about the 1st noble truth) & then apply it to something as straightforward as the 2nd noble truth to create another misunderstanding. Birth , death, aging & illness are self-views. They mean "I was born, I am sick, I am old, I will die, my mother, father, son , daughter have died"". The 1st noble truth summarised all suffering as "attachment to the five aggregates" (as I, me & mine). These self-views arise from craving that leads to new becoming. For suffering to arise, two things are required, namely, craving & self-view becoming. The suttas say:
Quote

The tides of conceiving do not sweep over one who stands upon these foundations, and when the tides of conceiving no longer sweep over him he is called a sage at peace.’ So it was said. And with reference to what was this said?

“Bhikkhu, ‘I am’ is a conceiving; ‘I am this’ is a conceiving; ‘I shall be’ is a conceiving; ‘I shall not be’ is a conceiving; ‘I shall be possessed of form’ is a conceiving; ‘I shall be formless’ is a conceiving; ‘I shall be percipient’ is a conceiving; ‘I shall be non-percipient’ is a conceiving; ‘I shall be neither-percipient-nor-non-percipient’ is a conceiving. Conceiving is a disease, conceiving is a tumour, conceiving is a dart. By overcoming all conceivings, bhikkhu, one is called a sage at peace. And the sage at peace is not born, does not age, does not die; he is not shaken and does not yearn. For there is nothing present in him by which he might be born. Not being born, how could he age? Not ageing, how could he die? Not dying, how could he be shaken? Not being shaken, why should he yearn?

“So it was with reference to this that it was said: ‘The tides of conceiving do not sweep over one who stands upon these foundations, and when the tides of conceiving no longer sweep over him he is called a sage at peace.’

https://suttacentral.net/en/mn140

 :namaste:

Offline IdleChater

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Re: The Second Noble Truth: The cause of suffering is craving? Is that all?
« Reply #3 on: December 18, 2017, 04:32:25 am »
There is no such thing as physical suffering.

Laughable at best.

I'll tell you what.  Go to the nearest door and slam it, real hard, on your fingers.

Then come back to your keyboard and tell us how there is no pysical suffering.

OK.

Offline ground

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Re: The Second Noble Truth: The cause of suffering is craving? Is that all?
« Reply #4 on: December 18, 2017, 04:10:55 pm »
Causality is stupidity.  :fu:

Offline IdleChater

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Re: The Second Noble Truth: The cause of suffering is craving? Is that all?
« Reply #5 on: December 18, 2017, 06:02:51 pm »
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"And this, monks is the noble truth of the origination of dukkha: the craving that makes for further becoming — accompanied by passion & delight, relishing now here & now there — i.e., craving for sensual pleasure, craving for becoming, craving for non-becoming."

— SN 56.11

How does craving cause physical suffering? For the mental suffering, I can understand that if there's nothing to crave for, there won't be dissatisfaction, stress, anxiety, fear, the fire of desires... But suffering isn't just mental. What's the connection between physical suffering - birth, death, aging, illness - and craving?

Have you thought to look at what some well-known teachers have to say on the matter?  While they may be teaching on the 4NT, they may also be using different source materials (translations, etc) and different perspectives which will bring with it different insights that may offer better answers to your questions.

In addition I would disregard what VR wrote:

Quote
There is no such thing as physical suffering.

This is dismissive of your question as well as, relatively speaking, innacurate, or just plain wrong.

Relatively speaking there is physical pain.  As in the example I presented to VR, the physical pain you experience is very real.  Now, your question is about craving being a cause of physical pain, is kinda tricky.  Slamming a door on your fingers may not be the result of craving - I mean, who actually craves having a door slammed on their fingers.  No one I know.  In the other hand there is, without a doubt, serious aversion to having a door slam on your fingers.  IN the parlance of the Dharma, craving and aversion are opposite extremes.  Some philosophical schools within the Mahayana would on that basis see them as the same thing.  Still, in practical terms it's nearly impossible to see craving/aversion as the cause of physical pain.  You can, however see attachment to craving/aversion to pain - yes some people are really into physical pain - will give rise to dukkha.

So physical pain isn't caused by craving.  Pain is caused by painful experiences, like slamming a door on your fingers, a dry socket, a burst appendix, passing a kidney stone or reading ground's egregious nonsense.  It's very real, too.  If you don't think so, let me introduce you to my first wife.



Offline Anemephistus

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Re: The Second Noble Truth: The cause of suffering is craving? Is that all?
« Reply #6 on: December 18, 2017, 06:09:48 pm »
Hello Rahul!

I'm kinda old (just a bit) , I get sick and I get hurt. I get worried I am going to get hurt at work sometimes, sometimes I worry I am going to get hurt at work while I am at home and I let my mind wander off without staying in the moment. I worry for others too, I am responsible for a lot of people and trying to keep them safe from harm is a very multifaceted struggle on many fronts. I worry sometimes for other beings as well, and try to have compassion for them.

When I don't think about how it will effect me, sometimes I wish I still had my hair ( I really liked my hair) , a better immune system (Mine sucks), I miss people who are gone, or (often :) ) that I had a different job. I think that it would be nice to be younger again. Then I go to work, if I let that wish build it makes me crave a different circumstance. That craving applied to any of this stuff hurts. It builds vanity and all manner of foolish thoughts and wishes which become uncomfortable.

Yes, this is all mental, but it bridges the two points. Sitting around wishing all day due to craving makes us live in a state where we stress about whats good enough or not good enough, it builds false expectations which create disappointment and the stress and disappointment is hard on the body, its also a hard state to be happy in and our relationships and the things we have which are lovely become invisible in the delusion it creates.

Damaging our relationships this way and letting craving form our perception distorts our lives and leads down paths over time which are unhealthy and can physically harm us. Escaping the pain of the delusion which is made by craving has been the cause of more than one physical harm. It can be subtle and what we crave can be insidious, cloying and difficult to detect.  I physically did a lot of things which made my body damaged because I craved. I wanted to be happy, I failed to recognize that would require effort and so I just did drugs because my emphasis on craving happiness made me do things which made me feel happy. It was not as good for my body, and my physical circumstances were really bad at several points. Many years later this is clear to me, at the time, not so much.

https://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitaka/an/an04/an04.049.olen.html

These four, O Monks, are distortions of perception, distortions of thought distortions of view...
Sensing no change in the changing,
Sensing pleasure in suffering,
Assuming "self" where there's no self,
Sensing the un-lovely as lovely —

Gone astray with wrong views, beings
Mis-perceive with distorted minds.
Bound in the bondage of Mara,
Those people are far from safety.
They're beings that go on flowing:
Going again from death to birth.

But when in the world of darkness
Buddhas arise to make things bright, T
hey present this profound teaching
Which brings suffering to an end.

When those with wisdom have heard this,
They recuperate their right mind:

They see change in what is changing,
Suffering where there's suffering,
"Non-self" in what is without self,
They see the un-lovely as such.
 By this acceptance of right view,
They overcome all suffering.

 :buddha:

I am not in full possession of the recognition described.  but I can see some of it in my life when I look and I work to keep it in my perception. Where craving took me, where it almost killed me. It's all there. Sometimes it's just a rough day, other times its been a real test.

Conceptual looking doesn't reveal some of these connections, that's why meditation and reflection and evaluation through discernment is so important.  Being open and kind to yourself but really looking at what is real and has happened, we can see these things. My path will be different in subjective form, but the effect is the same, there is a limited range of feelings and by a certain time which may vary we have felt most of what there is on offer with this experience as humans. Discerning what caused us to suffer, there we find our craving, and the truth of the possibility of our cessation and the path that leads to it.

Conceptually we can say simple things, but they do not account for the whole ordeal of being human. I like that when I push a button it causes a letter to appear for instance. I would be less favorable to my keyboard if it were broken and using it did not cause this effect. Then it might be proper to get a new keyboard, even if this is s subtle craving, but life has a way of putting these things into context where intellect over cognition and realization tends to over simplify the truth of them.

As a last note, I have seen people physically hurt each other over cravings. Especially craving with regards as to how one wishes to been seen by others, or with cravings for what the other person has or has taken. This has been a theme in the prison I work in over many years, and I would say it is a valid manifestation of physical harm caused by craving.
 
« Last Edit: December 18, 2017, 09:05:24 pm by Anemephistus »

Offline Rahul

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Re: The Second Noble Truth: The cause of suffering is craving? Is that all?
« Reply #7 on: December 18, 2017, 11:56:15 pm »
Some cravings result in excessive indulgence or addictions, which in turn can cause physical pain. Some other cravings result in disputes of various intensity and may result in people harming each other: wars, fights, conspiracies... Yet these are not the only sources of physical pain. What about aging? What about disease? People do get sick or injured without any addictions or without being subjected to wars/fights.

Physical pain is real, we can't deny that. It would be too naive to say it doesn't exist.

I will keep looking for explanations from Buddhist teachers and will share here if I find any.

Offline ground

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Re: The Second Noble Truth: The cause of suffering is craving? Is that all?
« Reply #8 on: December 19, 2017, 12:29:35 am »
Thoughts and perceptions are useless.

The Great Ease does neither come nor go and is spontaneously present.

Self and other, thoughts and perceptions naturally dissolve
in the interval between acceptance and rejection, in the interval between affirmation and negation.

Effort corrupts. Deliberate action misleads.

 :fu:

Offline meez

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Re: The Second Noble Truth: The cause of suffering is craving? Is that all?
« Reply #9 on: December 19, 2017, 10:59:33 am »
Ground:  What on earth are you talking about?

Offline Anemephistus

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Re: The Second Noble Truth: The cause of suffering is craving? Is that all?
« Reply #10 on: December 19, 2017, 02:47:16 pm »
Some cravings result in excessive indulgence or addictions, which in turn can cause physical pain. Some other cravings result in disputes of various intensity and may result in people harming each other: wars, fights, conspiracies... Yet these are not the only sources of physical pain. What about aging? What about disease? People do get sick or injured without any addictions or without being subjected to wars/fights.

Physical pain is real, we can't deny that. It would be too naive to say it doesn't exist.

I will keep looking for explanations from Buddhist teachers and will share here if I find any.

There are those far wiser than me who will have answered this much better no doubt. I am not a sage or a layperson or a guru or monk. I would say something,  it is based on reasoning and not much on my personal experience and so it's full realization is beyond me at this point and to elaborate on it much would be difficult as I am not a being in possession of full enlightenment and so I must take some of the what I hope is understanding on faith:

I think that some of this teaching works on the understanding that being caught in the cycle of birth, death, and rebirth is the result of Dukka which at it's heart is the result of craving . If one is not reborn then they do not suffer they do not have cancer or illness or aging, they abide in another state which is defined in several ways by different traditions.

I am unable to see the full cycle and cannot say that I know this line of thinking is true, but I think it is true for several reasons which despite being very open on the forum I must decline to share. I will say that for me it is a matter of faith and experience, but far more faith than experience on this point.

What I do know is this: Applying the understanding of how craving is a part of interconnected experience, understanding abstractly, is good. It is also very good to look for our own cravings and how they create volition, to observe them and consider them, and to consider the impact they have on others.     

At the risk of exceeding the scope of the question:

It is my understanding that properly understanding craving is central to working on the four sublime states.

It hard to maintain equanimity without understanding craving, harder to feel compassion when we fail to observe what drives others and recognizing it within our own lives, Love can be effected by craving and attachment and turned into jealousy and fear and depression, and sympathetic joy is hard when we crave joy for ourselves instead and build expectations about what we need in order to have joy.



 



Offline IdleChater

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Re: The Second Noble Truth: The cause of suffering is craving? Is that all?
« Reply #11 on: December 19, 2017, 05:06:11 pm »
Some cravings result in excessive indulgence or addictions, which in turn can cause physical pain. Some other cravings result in disputes of various intensity and may result in people harming each other: wars, fights, conspiracies... Yet these are not the only sources of physical pain. What about aging? What about disease? People do get sick or injured without any addictions or without being subjected to wars/fights.

Physical pain is real, we can't deny that. It would be too naive to say it doesn't exist.

I will keep looking for explanations from Buddhist teachers and will share here if I find any.


That's good.

If you're interested in how one thing leads to another with regards to suffering, I'd suggest you look into teachings on the 12 Nidannas or Links of Dependent Origination.  Thse explain a lot of what you seem to be interested in.

Here's a site that might help:
http://www.abuddhistlibrary.com/Buddhism/B%20-%20Theravada/Teachers/Piyadissi%20Thera/Dependant%20Origination/Dependant%20Origination.htm

Offline Anemephistus

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Re: The Second Noble Truth: The cause of suffering is craving? Is that all?
« Reply #12 on: December 19, 2017, 08:44:38 pm »
Some cravings result in excessive indulgence or addictions, which in turn can cause physical pain. Some other cravings result in disputes of various intensity and may result in people harming each other: wars, fights, conspiracies... Yet these are not the only sources of physical pain. What about aging? What about disease? People do get sick or injured without any addictions or without being subjected to wars/fights.

Physical pain is real, we can't deny that. It would be too naive to say it doesn't exist.

I will keep looking for explanations from Buddhist teachers and will share here if I find any.


That's good.

If you're interested in how one thing leads to another with regards to suffering, I'd suggest you look into teachings on the 12 Nidannas or Links of Dependent Origination.  Thse explain a lot of what you seem to be interested in.

Here's a site that might help:
http://www.abuddhistlibrary.com/Buddhism/B%20-%20Theravada/Teachers/Piyadissi%20Thera/Dependant%20Origination/Dependant%20Origination.htm


That's a really good link, thank you for sharing it.

Offline ground

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Re: The Second Noble Truth: The cause of suffering is craving? Is that all?
« Reply #13 on: December 19, 2017, 11:00:37 pm »
A cause cannot be directly perceived, so how could a cause ever exist?

It is a scenario of a diversity of directly perceptible existents upon which thought constructs a cause due to conditioning.


An effect cannot be directly perceived, so how could an effect ever exist?

It is a scenario of a diversity of directly perceptible existents upon which thought constructs an effect due to conditioning.


And the directly perceptible existents do have spacio-temporal extension and thus they have parts.

But what has parts cannot possibly exist inherently but exists only through imputation depending on parts.

And what exists only through imputation is itself a construction of conditioned thought.


So it boils down to the uselessness of perceptions and thoughts.

Nothing has ever existed as truth inherently.

Nothing has ever existed as a phenomenon inherently.

Nothing has ever existed as cause or effect inherently.


Everything naturally dissolves in the interval between acceptance and rejection, in the interval between affirmation and negation.

The Great Ease has been spontaneously present from the outset.


 :fu:

Offline ground

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Re: The Second Noble Truth: The cause of suffering is craving? Is that all?
« Reply #14 on: December 19, 2017, 11:10:39 pm »
Quote
The Blessed One said, "What is the All? Simply the eye & forms, ear & sounds, nose & aromas, tongue & flavors, body & tactile sensations, intellect & ideas. This, monks, is called the All. [1] Anyone who would say, 'Repudiating this All, I will describe another,' if questioned on what exactly might be the grounds for his statement, would be unable to explain, and furthermore, would be put to grief. Why? Because it lies beyond range."
https://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitaka/sn/sn35/sn35.023.than.html

 :fu:

 


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