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Thread: The second noble truth

  1. #1

    The second noble truth

    I had to reflect a bit on dukkha the other day; I had chest pains and very high blood pressure, and had to go to the hospital emergency room. Everything's fine; I have a compressed nerve in my back, and that's what was causing the pain, and my blood pressure's been spiking because, it seems, a new asthma inhaler I'm using raises blood pressure.

    But that got me thinking about dukkha, and the way it's presented in the four noble truths. I copied this from Wikipedia, and it's from Thich Nhat Hanh:


    “Brothers, [...the first truth] is the existence of suffering. Birth, old age, sickness, and death are suffering. Sadness, anger, jealousy, worry, anxiety, fear, and despair are suffering. Separation from loved ones is suffering. Association with those you hate is suffering. Desire, attachment, and clinging to the five aggregates are suffering.

    “Brothers, the second truth is the cause of suffering. Because of ignorance, people cannot see the truth about life, and they become caught in the flames of desire, anger, jealousy, grief, worry, fear, and despair.

    “Brothers, the third truth is the cessation of suffering. Understanding the truth of life brings about the cessation of every grief and sorrow and gives rise to peace and joy.

    “Brothers, the fourth truth is the path which leads to the cessation of suffering. It is the Noble Eightfold Path, which I have just explained. The Noble Eightfold Path is nourished by living mindfully. Mindfulness leads to concentration and understanding which liberates you from every pain and sorrow and leads to peace and joy. I will guide you along this path of realization.”

    So, sickness is part of dukkha; no surprise there. But the second noble truth says that "ignorance" - or, often, craving, grasping, etc. - is the cause of dukkha. Yet sickness and death don't arise from ignorance, craving or grasping.

    I'd never considered this, and I assume there's some addendum to the four noble truths that explains this, but I'm curious to know how sickness and death are seen in terms of the second noble truth.

    Gassho,

    Kirk
    流文

    I know nothing.

  2. #2
    The way I was first taught about dukkha has stood up well with what I've been taught here. Suffering and dissatisfaction have their root in misunderstanding or misapprehending a quality of reaching/incompleteness that is an inherent part of living... growing, learning, time, movement. There is dis-equilibrium endlessly seeking equilibrium.. flowers grow, rivers run down hill, there is always something left undone, things fall apart. There is change. It can be felt in the bones underneath the heavy dukkha as a really subtle tipping or off-balance that is just living. It doesn't need to be suffering. If it isn't there at all, there is no dog on my lap, or morning pot of coffee..

    That's my own experience anyway.

    Gassho
    Daizan
    Last edited by RichardH; 10-25-2014 at 12:35 PM.

  3. #3
    Physical Pain is actually your friend. It tells you what needs care and healing. Old age and death is something you know will happen in the future but it's not real right now. All of the thirsting and dukka is what we are stepping back from.

    Kind regards. /\
    _/_
    Rich
    MUHYO
    無 (MU, Emptiness) and 氷 (HYO, Ice) ... Emptiness Ice ...

    https://instagram.com/notmovingmind

  4. #4
    My too simple take ...

    Sickness and death do not arise from craving and the divisive thoughts of ignorance. However, resistance to and dissatisfaction in the face of sickness and death are another story ...

    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 perfection,” or “frustration” — terms that wonderfully convey a subtlety of meaning.

    In a nutshell, 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, if we are attached to those things.

    ...

    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 …

    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 content” differ from”the way things are.” Your “self” wishes this world to be X, yet this world is not X. That wide gap of “self” and “not self” is the source of Dukkha.
    .
    Our Practice closes the gap; not the least separation.
    Buddha-Basics (Part I) — Scooby Dooby Dukkha
    http://www.treeleaf.org/forums/showt...y-Dooby-Dukkha
    Buddha-Basics (Part II) — Noble Truths
    http://www.treeleaf.org/forums/showt...7-Noble-Truths

    As well, in Emptiness, just who is there to become sick and die? As Myosha quoted today from the Vimalakirti Nirdesa Sutra ...

    A bodhisattva should regard all living beings as a wise man
    Regards the reflection of the moon in water,
    As magicians regard men created by magic.
    As being like a face in a mirror,
    like the water of a mirage;
    like the sound of an echo;
    like a mass of clouds in the sky;
    like the appearance and disappearance of a bubble of water;
    like the core of a plantain tree;
    like a flash of lightning;
    ...
    Gassho, J
    Last edited by Jundo; 10-25-2014 at 02:17 PM.
    ALL OF LIFE IS OUR TEMPLE

  5. #5
    No suffering, no cause of suffering, no cessation of suffering and no path to the cessation of suffering. It's only suffering if it is suffering.

    Gassho, Jishin

  6. #6
    Quote Originally Posted by kirkmc View Post
    I had to reflect a bit on dukkha . . . to know how sickness and death are seen in terms of the second noble truth.

    Gassho,

    Kirk
    Hello,

    Taken with salt: It's mind over matter. If you don't mind, it doesn't matter.

    Hope healing helps. Metta.


    Gassho,
    Myosha
    "Recognize suffering, remove suffering." - Shakyamuni Buddha when asked, "Uhm . . .what?"

  7. #7
    Hi.

    I too have have wondered at this.

    Honest question:

    Isn't that a little bit of a cop-out answer? You only suffer because you in ignorance identify with it or have a "should be"? Of course suffering is greatly amplified by your identification with it! To be sure! But I'd say being burned alive would still hurt a lot whether you were a fully realized Buddhist or not. Are we not realistically talking the reducing of pain and distress here? Even though it's sometimes possible to reduce into none at all. I think Jundo said in one video something akin to "Not necessarily OK...but a bit more OK" ?

    ---

    Same thing goes with 3rd truth about the ceasing of Dukkha. I looked up "cease" in a dictionary. It means "come to an end" or "to stop". Not "reduce" or "turn down" or "temporarily shut down".

    What's that about? It's not like all your distress or desire/craving will suddenly stop even if you're Dogen. But I imagine you'd be pretty cool with most of it and know how to handle it.

    On the other hand "cease" does not say anything about the stopping or ending being irrevocable either.

    So where exactly does that leave us? I would really like to know. There's so much truth and wonderful insight. But from here it also looks like there is need of a rewording or an addendum. At least a substantial explanation that clears up what looks to be mistakes. It just that we have to supplant in our mind this traditional listing with a more realistic one without really stating it explicitly?

    It's not like everything comes to halt because of this. It only bothers me because these tenets are so central.

    Anyone? (Especially Jundo!)

    Gassho
    Aske
    Last edited by Meikyo; 10-26-2014 at 06:23 PM.
    ~ Please remember that I am very fallible.

    Gassho
    Meikyo

  8. #8
    Quote Originally Posted by Aske View Post
    Hi.

    I too have have wondered at this.

    Honest question:

    Isn't that a little bit of a cop-out answer? You only suffer because you in ignorance identify with it or have a "should be"? Of course suffering is greatly amplified by your identification with it! To be sure! But I'd say being burned alive would still hurt a lot whether you were a fully realized Buddhist or not. Are we not realistically talking the reducing of pain and distress here? Even though it's sometimes possible to reduce into none at all. I think Jundo said in one video something akin to "Not necessarily OK...but a bit more OK" ?
    Honest answer

    When my wife went through breast cancer, she had surgery and radiation. The radiation quickly followed the surgery while it was still raw, and it was brutal. She was burned alive..blistering cooked. While in that state of pain..pain without let up. There was no escape.. not moving hurt.. moving hurt.
    She said to me "i am a bug pinned to a wall. I can either wiggle or be the wall" ..So she was the wall. Then who is in pain? She was free of suffering, with humor and rest. It only makes sense to lessen pain .. but in the end if my practice does not go right to the bottom like that, it's just a day trip. I don't see a choice. Can't speak for anyone else though. BTW she is way wiser than I.

    Gassho
    Daizan
    Last edited by RichardH; 10-26-2014 at 07:04 PM.

  9. #9
    Quote Originally Posted by Aske View Post
    So where exactly does that leave us? I would really like to know. There's so much truth and wonderful insight. But from here it also looks like there is need of a rewording or an addendum. At least a substantial explanation that clears up what looks to be mistakes. It just that we have to supplant in our mind this traditional listing with a more realistic one without really stating it explicitly?
    The trouble I have with being realistic is that it's at best an approximation of being real. If you supplant the ideal with the realistic, you've still got a facade. Suffering ends because it is a mark of conditioned things and all conditioned things cease when their conditions have been exhausted. In a sense, suffering ends of its own accord. So why not let it?

  10. #10
    Kyotai
    Guest
    Quote Originally Posted by Daizan View Post
    Honest answer

    When my wife went through breast cancer, she had surgery and radiation. The radiation quickly followed the surgery while it was still raw, and it was brutal. She was burned alive..blistering cooked. While in that state of pain..pain without let up. There was no escape.. not moving hurt.. moving hurt.
    She said to me "i am a bug pinned to a wall. I can either wiggle or be the wall" ..So she was the wall. Then who is in pain? She was free of suffering, with humor and rest. It only makes sense to lessen pain .. but in the end if my practice does not go right to the bottom like that, it's just a day trip. I don't see a choice. Can't speak for anyone else though. BTW she is way wiser than I.

    Gassho
    Daizan
    Thank you for sharing Daizan.

    Gassho, Shawn

  11. #11
    Quote Originally Posted by Daizan View Post
    Honest answer

    When my wife went through breast cancer, she had surgery and radiation. The radiation quickly followed the surgery while it was still raw, and it was brutal. She was burned alive..blistering cooked. While in that state of pain..pain without let up. There was no escape.. not moving hurt.. moving hurt.
    She said to me "i am a bug pinned to a wall. I can either wiggle or be the wall" ..So she was the wall. Then who is in pain? She was free of suffering, with humor and rest. It only makes sense to lessen pain .. but in the end if my practice does not go right to the bottom like that, it's just a day trip. I don't see a choice. Can't speak for anyone else though. BTW she is way wiser than I.

    Gassho
    Daizan
    Thank you Daizan ... I too know that path you speak of, as my mother also went through breast cancer and the following treatments. Love and metta to you both!

    Gassho
    Shingen

  12. #12
    Quote Originally Posted by Aske View Post
    Hi.

    I too have have wondered at this.

    Honest question:

    Isn't that a little bit of a cop-out answer? You only suffer because you in ignorance identify with it or have a "should be"? Of course suffering is greatly amplified by your identification with it! To be sure! But I'd say being burned alive would still hurt a lot whether you were a fully realized Buddhist or not. Are we not realistically talking the reducing of pain and distress here? Even though it's sometimes possible to reduce into none at all. I think Jundo said in one video something akin to "Not necessarily OK...but a bit more OK" ?

    ---

    Same thing goes with 3rd truth about the ceasing of Dukkha. I looked up "cease" in a dictionary. It means "come to an end" or "to stop". Not "reduce" or "turn down" or "temporarily shut down".

    What's that about? It's not like all your distress or desire/craving will suddenly stop even if you're Dogen. But I imagine you'd be pretty cool with most of it and know how to handle it.

    On the other hand "cease" does not say anything about the stopping or ending being irrevocable either.

    So where exactly does that leave us? I would really like to know. There's so much truth and wonderful insight. But from here it also looks like there is need of a rewording or an addendum. At least a substantial explanation that clears up what looks to be mistakes. It just that we have to supplant in our mind this traditional listing with a more realistic one without really stating it explicitly?

    It's not like everything comes to halt because of this. It only bothers me because these tenets are so central.

    Anyone? (Especially Jundo!)

    Gassho
    Aske
    Hi Aske,

    As Daizan so sadly-beautifully relates, Buddhist "suffering" (Dukkha) is not the same as physical "pain". The Buddha never found a cure for physical pain (nor old age and death) while in this body, given the fact that he grew old, fell sick and was regularly in pain before he died, for example this depiction of the historical Buddha's last days from the Maha-Parinibbana Sutta ...

    "Now I am frail, Ananda, old, aged, far gone in years. This is my eightieth year, and my life is spent. Even as an old cart, Ananda, is held together with much difficulty, so the body of the Tathagata is kept going only with supports. It is, Ananda, only when the Tathagata, disregarding external objects, with the cessation of certain feelings, attains to and abides in the signless concentration of mind, that his body is more comfortable.

    http://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipit....1-6.vaji.html
    What is the difference between Buddhist "Dukkha/suffering" and "pain"? Well, pain is the physical sensation you feel. However, "suffering" is the self's psychological reaction to the pain which consists of such judgments as "I hate having this pain" "my life now is hopeless because of this illness" "I wish things were some other way" "this is not a good way to be" etc. etc. Pain is condition "Y", your “self” wishes this world to be X, yet this world is not X and is Y instead. The mental state that may result to the “self” from this disparity is Dukkha.

    That does not mean that, like the Buddha, one might not find a deep place to escape the pain or, in modern terms, seek a doctor, a pain management specialist, a hypnotist, morphine or other pain killers, various forms of meditation based on directing the mind away from the pain. One may and should if possible (I believe I would accept morphine if in a terminal condition, and I accept lesser pain killers for even a dental procedure!). As I often say ...

    Zazen is -NOT- a cure for many things ... it will not fix a bad tooth (just allow you to be present with the toothache ... you had better see a dentist, not a Zen teacher), cure cancer (although it may have some healthful effects and make one more attune to the process of chemotherapy and/or dying), etc. Zen practice will not cure your acne on your face, or fix your flat tire. All it will do is let one "be at one, and whole" ... TRULY ONE ... with one's pimples and punctured wheel, accepting and embracing of each, WHOLLY WHOLE with/as each one.
    And, although Zazen is not a form of pain management, dropping all the excess focusing, negativity, wallowing, mental judging might actually take our attention away from the pain, make us less prisoners of the pain or even shrink its size as it becomes less important as the central focus of our lives! So, in fact, Zazen may be a kind of pain management technique too!

    Awhile back, we had a good thread on "open awareness" meditation like Zazen and pain management.

    http://www.treeleaf.org/forums/showt...-Physical-Pain

    But that is not the end (nor the beginning either! ) of what Buddhism teaches us about pain:

    Buddhism teaches that it is only our separate sense of "self" which feels it grows old, sick, feels pain and dies. Beyond and right through the separate "self" there is such not born or growing old or dying, neither healthy nor sick, without self to feel pain. Nonetheless, so long as we ... even a Buddha ... lives in this world in a body of flesh, we grow old, sometimes are sick and in pain, and die. One can "cease" suffering, but not so many other painful aspects of being human and this world of Samsara. On the Buddha's "Para-nirvana" he attained what is know as "Nirvana without Remainder", meaning that he left this physical body and "non-returned" to the former where all suffering "ceases", although "ceases" for never arisen.

    Something like that.

    Gassho, J
    Last edited by Jundo; 10-27-2014 at 09:08 AM.
    ALL OF LIFE IS OUR TEMPLE

  13. #13
    By the way, the rather corny-lovely movie of Dogen has his death scene from the 1:48:00 mark here ... Dogen never escaped pain ...



    The little talk I posted yesterday on non-resistance, "sound" vs. "noise" also contains a moment when Suzuki is coughing and in pain (2:15 mark), probably due to the liver cancer which killed him. That was more than a movie, as real as real can be ... yet in Emptiness, no more real than a movie which is our lives. Nonetheless, as Dogen wrote in the Genjo ...

    As all things are buddha-dharma, there are delusion, realization, practice, birth and death, buddhas and sentient beings. As myriad things are without an abiding self, there is no delusion, no realization, no buddha, no sentient being, no birth and death. The buddha way, in essence, is leaping clear of abundance and lack; thus there are birth and death, delusion and realization, sentient beings and buddhas. Though all this may be true, flowers fall even if we love them, and weeds grow even if we hate them, and that is all.

    Daizan's wife and my mother in her breast cancer, felt great pain and suffering.



    Gassho, J
    Last edited by Jundo; 10-27-2014 at 04:59 AM.
    ALL OF LIFE IS OUR TEMPLE

  14. #14
    Quote Originally Posted by Daizan View Post

    ...She said to me "i am a bug pinned to a wall. I can either wiggle or be the wall" ..So she was the wall. Then who is in pain? She was free of suffering, with humor and rest. It only makes sense to lessen pain .. but in the end if my practice does not go right to the bottom like that, it's just a day trip.

    Gassho
    Daizan

    Yes, that's it.

    Gassho
    Lisa

  15. #15
    Hi everyone.
    Thank you so much for the responses.

    I understand now. I mistook Dukkha for a catch-all term referring to all of life's maladies rather then only the existential-mental born ones. Most likely due the prevalence of "suffering"-translation. Makes much more sense now.

    Thanks again wise Teacher & Sangha

    Gassho
    Aske
    ~ Please remember that I am very fallible.

    Gassho
    Meikyo

  16. #16
    Hi guys,

    I have been thinking just about this on the past weeks after my little accident.

    I won't bore you with details, just suffice to say that even if I was in extreme pain for days, I didn't suffer at all. I was at peace with pain. Did not rejected it and did not fight it.

    I was impressed how my mind worked then. I was aware of the pain, of course. I could feel it every single time I moved. But just being mindful of it and understanding that pain was necessary for the healing process, made me be at one with it. Sometimes I was even able to forget about it all.

    My take on this is that physical pain doesn't equals suffering.

    Suffering comes when you reject and fight against any condition you don't like.

    Now, it's not that I liked the pain I was feeling. It was just that life was just that and I was contempt with that, regardless of how difficult it was.

    Today I got back to running and I am almost near normal.

    Gassho,

    Kyonin
    Hondō Kyōnin
    奔道 協忍

  17. #17
    Hello


    "Suffering comes when you reject and fight . . . ."

    Thank you for your practice.


    Gassho,
    Myosha
    "Recognize suffering, remove suffering." - Shakyamuni Buddha when asked, "Uhm . . .what?"

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