Advayavada Study Plan – week 17

[Advayavada Study Plan – week 17] Man is basically prone to existential suffering (dukkha, duhkha) because he wrongly strives after and tries to hold on to things, concepts and situations which he believes to be permanent, but are not. His mistaken view of things is produced by a thirst, craving or clinging (tanha in Pali, trishna in Sanskrit) which is in turn caused by his fundamental ignorance (avijja in Pali, avidya in Sanskrit) or disbelief of the true nature of existence, especially its changeability and selflessness or emptiness. This is the second noble truth of Buddhism, and this thirst, craving or clinging can moreover easily take on a more unwholesome form: already as sensuous desire, ill-will, laziness, impatience or distrust will it seriously hinder the individual’s efforts to better his or her circumstances, as well as contaminate the efforts of others to improve theirs. (from advayavada.org/#plan)

Advayavada Study Plan – week 16

[Advayavada Study Plan – week 16] Dukkha (Pali) or duhkha (Sanskrit) means suffering, sorrow, dissatisfaction, frustration, anxiety, or stress; it is the first of the four noble truths of Buddhism and also the third of the three, in Advayavada Buddhism, four signs or marks or basic facts of being. In Advayavada Buddhism, it furthermore does not include emotional grief nor physical pain, and is, above all, not seen as a permanent feature of reality; it is chiefly understood as the existential distress and distrust of life non-liberated human beings are prone to, and which is essentially caused by the unhealthy and socially infectious feeling that reality does not conform to their desires and mistaken expectations. The unremitting persistency of human distress, alienation and conflict is undeniably due to the very many everywhere not knowing or not understanding or simply disbelieving the true nature of existence. (from advayavada.org/#plan)

Advayavada Study Plan – week 4

[week 4] Man is prone to existential suffering (dukkha or duhkha) because he wrongly strives after and tries to hold on to things, concepts and situations which he believes to be permanent, but are not. His mistaken view of things is produced by a thirst, craving or clinging (tanha in Pali, trishna in Sanskrit) which is caused in turn by his fundamental ignorance (avijja in Pali, avidya in Sanskrit) or disbelief of the true nature of existence, i.e. its changeability and selflessness or emptiness. This is the second noble truth of Buddhism, and this thirst, craving or clinging can moreover easily take on a more unwholesome form: already as sensuous desire, ill-will, laziness, impatience or distrust will it seriously hinder the individual’s efforts to better his or her circumstances, as well as contaminate the efforts of others to improve theirs. (from advayavada.org/#plan)

Advayavada Study Plan – week 3

[week 3] Dukkha (Pali) or duhkha (Sanskrit) means suffering, sorrow; dissatisfaction; frustration; stress; gnawing unease; and is the first of the four noble truths of Buddhism. In Advayavada Buddhism, dukkha or duhkha is more essentially the existential distress and distrust of life non-liberated human beings are prone to, does not include emotional grief nor physical pain and is, above all, not seen as a permanent feature of reality; it is rather understood as an existential suffering in the sense of a basic frustration, even suffocation, caused by the unhealthy and socially infectious feeling that reality does not conform to the person’s desires and expectations. The unremitting persistency of human distress, alienation and conflict is undeniably due to the very many everywhere not knowing or not understanding or simply disbelieving the true nature of existence; this makes it the third of the so-called three, in Advayavada Buddhism, four signs or marks or basic facts of being, the other three being the impermanence or changeability of everything, the selflessness of all existents, and evolution or, in human terms, progress. (from advayavada.org/#plan)

Duhkha in Advayavada

Dukkha (Pali) or duhkha (Sanskrit) means suffering, sorrow; dissatisfaction; frustration; stress; gnawing unease; the existential distress and distrust of life non-liberated human beings are prone to. In Advayavada Buddhism, dukkha or duhkha is the third of the four signs or marks or basic facts of being and the first of the four noble truths of Buddhism; it does not include emotional grief nor physical pain and is, above all, not seen as a permanent feature of reality; it is rather understood as an existential suffering in the sense of a basic frustration, even suffocation, caused by the unhealthy and socially infectious feeling that reality does not conform to the person’s desires and expectations. The unremitting persistency of human distress, alienation and conflict is undeniably due to the very many everywhere not knowing or not understanding or simply disbelieving the true nature of existence.

Why are the Five Aggregates of Grasping Dukkha? (Y. Karunadasa)

Why are the Five Aggregates of Grasping Dukkha? (from Early Buddhist Teachings, The Middle Position in Theory and Practice, by Y. Karunadasa, Hong Kong 2013)

Why are the five aggregates of grasping suffering? What we need to remember here is that it is not the five aggregates (pañca-khanda), but the five aggregates of grasping (pañca-upadanakkhandha) that are described as suffering. This distinction should show that although the five aggregates in themselves are not a source of suffering, they constitute suffering when they become objects of grasping (upadana). Strictly speaking, therefore, what Buddhism calls the individual in its samsaric dimension is not the five aggregates, but the five aggregates when they are grasped, appropriated, and clung to. That which is called individual existence can thus be reduced to a causally conditioned process of grasping. It is this process of grasping that Buddhism describes as suffering.

A yet another question that arises here is by whom are the five aggregates grasped? The answer to this question is that besides the process of grasping, there is no agent who performs the act of grasping. This answer may appear rather enigmatic; nevertheless it is understandable in the context of the Buddhist doctrine of not self and the Buddhist doctrine of dependent arising. What both doctrines seek to show is that the individual is a conditioning and conditioned process, without an agent either inside or outside of the process. The grasping-process manifests in three ways. This is mine (etam mama), this I am (eso’ham asmi), and this is my self (eso me atta). The first is due to craving (tanha), the second to conceit (mana), and the third is due to the mistaken belief in a self-entity (ditthi). It is through this process of the three-fold self-appropriation that the idea of “mine”, “I am” and “my self” arises. If there is a phenomenon called individuality in its samsaric dimension, it is entirely due to the superimposition of these three ideas on the five aggregates.

A this juncture, another question arises: why and how does the process of grasping lead to suffering? In answering this question, it is important to note here that the five aggregates that become the object of self-appropriation and grasping are in a state of constant change, in a state of continuous flux with no persisting substance. Their nature is such that they do not remain in the way we want them to remain. As such, the aggregates are not under our full control. Thus by identifying ourselves with what is impermanent (anicca), with what does not come under our full control (anatta), we come to suffering [dukkha]. This should explain why Buddhism traces the fact of suffering to the fact of impermanence (yad aniccam tam dukkham). When the process of self-appropriation and self-identification is terminated [by following the Noble Eightfold Path], suffering too comes to an end. As long as this process persists, there is suffering. The moment it stops, the samsaric process also ceases to be, and together with it all suffering comes to an end.