So – last week we talked about Suffering, and how it is universal. Like it or not, everyone will feel some suffering some time in their life. Suffering is the first of the Four Noble Truths that the Buddha talked about during his first sermon after reaching enlightenment.
1. Dukkha: There is suffering. Suffering is an intrinsic part of life also experienced as dissatisfaction, discontent, unhappiness, impermanence.
2. Samudaya: There is a cause of suffering, which is attachment and desire (tanha).
3. Nirodha: There is a way out of suffering, which is to eliminate attachment and desire.
4. Magga: The path that leads out of suffering is called the Noble Eightfold Path.
Having the stage set, this week we explore Why? Why is suffering universal? What causes it? Now that we know that the sickness exists, what is it’s cause?
The clinging to desire comes from our experience that short-term satisfaction comes from following desire. We ignore the fact that satisfying our desires doesn’t bring an end to them.
I think that those questions can be summed up as Attachment and Desire. We become unhappy when things in the illusory external universe, things which are impermanent, fail us. When we invest ourselves into a relationship, and the other person cheats, lies, or just up and leaves, we become unhappy. When we are attached to our physical possessions, and they are stolen or lost in a flood, we become hurt.
there is an origin of suffering and that the origin of suffering is attachment to the three kinds of desire: desire for sense pleasure (kama tanha), desire to become (bhava tanha) and desire to get rid of (vibhava tanha). This is the statement of the Second Noble Truth, the thesis, the pariyatti
This is the point where Buddhist philosophy and psychology leaves most people behind. They think that the 4th truth is about severing all ties to everything. Being a buddhist in the real world is not about being a cold or uncaring person. It is not about being unconnected from everything.
In emptiness, things are just what they are. When we are aware in this way, it doesn’t mean that we are indifferent to success or failure and that we don’t bother to do anything. We can apply ourselves. We know what we can do; we know what has to be done and we can do it in the right way. Then everything becomes Dhamma, the way it is. We do things because that is the right thing to be doing at this time and in this place rather than out of a sense of personal ambition or fear of failure.
When you exist in the now, and you have no delusions about the outside universe, you can make your choices from a much more informed point then if you are trying to unravel everything about you. For example, if you were talking to a person, and you were trying to figure out what they were thinking about you, about what you were saying you probably would act a certain way. Would that person be you?
We interact with a world that does not exist. We make large portions of it up in our minds, and then become confused when things do not work exactly like we want them to. We assign feelings to people that might or might not have them, and then act as if they did.
Buddhism is about penetrating that veil of illusion and seeing the world as it really it. In my mind, enlightenment means seeing clearly. Buddhism is more then just a religion, more then just a philosophy. It’s a psychology, a way of learning to live in harmony with the real world. It is very pragmatic. In Buddhism, you are instructed to think for your self – to investigate and learn. Nothing should be taken on faith.