Here is my simple, yet totally effective and fulproof, teaching on "Dukkha
No one English word captures the full depth and range of the Pali term Dukkha
. It is sometimes rendered as 'suffering', as in 'life is suffering'. But perhaps it's better expressed as 'dissatisfaction', 'anxiety', 'disappointment' 'unease at imperfection' or 'frustration', terms that wonderfully convey a subtlety of meaning.
Your 'self' wishes this world to be X, yet this world is not X. The mental state that may result to the 'self' from this disparity is Dukkha
Shakyamuni Buddha gave many examples ... sickness (when we do not wish to be sick), old age (when we long for youth), death (if we cling to life),loss of a loved one (as we cannot let go), violated expectations, the failure of happy moments to last (though we wish them to last). Even joyous moments ... such as happiness and good news, treasure or pleasant times ... can be a source of suffering if we cling to them, are attached to those things. Wishing and clingin to X when life will become Y.
In ancient stories, Dukkha
is often compared to a chariot's or potter's wheel that will not turn smoothly as it revolves. The opposite, Sukkha
, is a wheel that spins smoothly and noiselessly, without resistance as it goes.
In life, there's sickness, old age, death and loss ... other very hard times ...
But that's not why 'Life is Suffering'. Not at all, said the Buddha.
Instead, it's sickness, but only when we refuse the condition ...
...old age, if we long for youth ...
... death, because we cling to life ...
... loss , when we cannot let go ...
... violated expectations, because we wished otherwise ...
In other words, when your "self" wants and clings to X, but life hands you Y.
So, for example, we might imagine this world and our lives as a garden of flowers and weeds. "Suffering" arises when we cannot close the gap between the world "as-it-is" and the world we dream "should be" or "we wish to be" in order for us to be happy and content. Our Buddhist practice allows us to be at one with this garden, both its flowers and weeds just as they are ... no gap, no resistance (accepting and "merging with" the weeds even as we do not accept the weeds ... we can still go ahead and nurture the flowers, and pull the weeds. We can do both at once, it is not an either/or proposition).
http://www.zenforuminternational.org/vi ... 826#p24826
Our 'dissatisfaction', 'disappointment', 'unease' and 'frustration' ... Dukkha
... arises as a state of mind, as our demands and wishes for how things 'should be
' or 'if only would be for life to be happy
' differ from 'the way things are
'. The gap is the source of Dukkha
. Our Practice closes the gap
What's more, even happiness can be a source of Dukkha
if we cling to the happy state, demand that it stay, are attached to good news, material successes, pleasures and the like ... refusing the way life may otherwise go.
Our Zen practice closes the gap between how things go and how we would wish them to go ...
And how do we do that, in our Shikanataza
practice? How do we weaken the grip of the "self" which is that source of the gap of judgments and views between "how things are
" and "how the self selfishly wishes they would be
Why, "Just Sit", dropping all thought of "good" and "bad" , "right" , "wrong" , "just" and "unjust" , experiencing a world that just is-what-it-is
without gap or separation. It goes-the-way-it-goes, even if that way is not the way we personally might desire. Letting aside both "cruel" and "gentle" , "ugly" and "kind" , we no longer resist, do not judge, and embrace it all ... even the most terrible.
Then the "self" loses its fuel, is put out of a job ... Dukkha
is extinguished in a flash.