I think what got me interested in the dharma was the simple understanding of dukkha, that I first read about some 25 years ago. Realizing that the stress/dissatisfaction of dukkha is, well, stressful and dissatisfying, changed the way I look at the world. It's something I've held with me over the years, and it's helped me - I think - be more detached about the good and bad things that happen.
I've been reading a book recently - Turning the Wheel of Truth, buy Ajahn Sucitto, an English Theravadan - which looks at the all-important first teaching of the Buddha where he explained the four noble truths. The bit about dukkha is very interesting, and I thought it would be a good thing to bring up the subject, which is something that I don't often see on the forum.
First, here's Jundo's brief, yet precise discussion of the subject:
I've wondered about keeping a "dukkha diary," where I would note moments in my life where I feel dukkha. I think doing this might - rather than seem like a pessimistic way of recording my life - help me understand the myriad moments of dukkha, both small and large, and understand just how much dukkha there is, but also to accept them for what they are.
So, today, here are some moments of dukkha I've had:
At around 6:00 am, a bird started chirping outside my window. "Cheep! Cheep! Cheep!" He was most likely sitting under the eaves, and the sun's early rays prompted him to call out: was it a mating call, or just the joy of seeing the sun again. But for me, it was loud and disturbing. Yet I didn't want to prevent the bird from doing what was natural, so I lay on my side, and put a pillow on my top ear to quiet the bird. I fell back to sleep again, perhaps 20 minutes later.
When I ate breakfast - just a piece of toast and a glass of milk, as I'm trying to lose weight - Titus the cat came and sniffed out the milk, and was very, very interested in it. I couldn't eat in peace, but I know Titus was just doing what cats do: looking for food, finding something, and wanting to get his share. It was frustrating and annoying, but I accepted that Titus was being a cat, so I just picked up the glass, and held it as I ate.
I know; these are both tiny moments of dukkha, and ones that are easily identifiable. I have no big-picture dukkha to share today: no insecurity, pain, sickness, anxiety or doubt. But there were other small moments of dukkha this morning:
The annoyance that a grocery store had not applied a £25 discount to my last online order, and I had already called twice. Since they still haven't called back, I have to waste time to either call them again, or just contest the payment with my bank. It's taken too much time already, and there's a lot of annoyance there: dukkha.
Hearing Miles Davis' tone sounding bitter and acerbic on a live recording from 1965. All the reviews of the Live at the Plugged Nickel set were ecstatic, but I think Mile's tone was just terrible. The music doesn't sound to me as it should.
My frustration at the rain outside: I wanted to go for a walk today, but it's going to rain all day.
A bit of gut discomfort, and wondering what I could have eaten yesterday to cause it. A cup of chamomile tea is making it feel a bit better.
Just realizing that it's 12:15 and that I haven't accomplished much yet today.
There will be many more. Perhaps others would like to share moments of dukkha...?