The third preliminary subject of this first quarter of 2023 is again dukkha (Pali) or duhkha (Sanskrit), which means suffering, sorrow, dissatisfaction, frustration, anxiety, or stress; it is the first of the Buddha’s four noble truths or four truths for the noble ones, and also the third of the, in Advayavada Buddhism, four signs or marks or basic facts of being (duhkhalakshana), the other three being the impermanence or changeability of everything (anityalakshana, see week 1), the selflessness and emptiness of all things (anatmalakshana, see week 2), and evolution or progress (possibly pragatilakshana or simply caturtha lakshana, see next week, week 4).
The basic causes of suffering are known traditionally as the ‘three poisons’ (three kleshas): greed, ignorance and hatred, which are often represented as a rooster, a pig and a snake. In Advayavada Buddhism, dukkha or duhkha does not include, in the context of the four truths, emotional grief nor physical pain, which are part and parcel, if not necessary constituents, of sentient existence, and it is, above all, not seen as a permanent or inevitable feature of reality; it is chiefly understood as the existential distress and distrust of life non-liberated human beings are prone to and which are essentially caused by the unhealthy and socially infectious sentiment that reality does not conform to their petty desires and mistaken expectations. The ubiquity and unremitting persistency of human dissatisfaction and alienation is, in our view, particularly due to the very many everywhere not being taught or not comprehending or simply disbelieving and often dogmatically denying the basically interrelated, impermanent and finite nature of their short individual existence of about 4,000 weeks; note in this context the inevitable further ‘devaluation of actual life due to the malignant (Pinker) belief in an afterlife’.
This might again be as good a place as any to mention that for many people social drinking is a potential source of much future suffering. Bear in mind in this context most specially the persistent irrational taboo about admitting to alcohol abuse by ourselves or those close to us. Can one beat alcoholism? One can certainly fully neutralize alcohol addiction by ceasing to drink alcoholic beverages altogether, one day at the time, with the help of (a) our GP, (b) a personal psychological coach or counsellor, and (c) by joining a reputable support group to help us develop the necessary emotional counterpunch. This ASP provides an appropriate overall regular training to further help us undo the harm and trauma caused by this costly and disruptive biopsychosocial (bps) disease.
Feel free to share this post: these systematic and straightforward teachings are, particularly in these challenging times, beneficial for anyone (also non-Buddhists), and those who are interested can follow this weekly ASP themselves on, for instance, advayavadabuddhism dot org and/or by joining our research network on Facebook. Our recently updated website advayavada dot org contains comprehensive information about the Advayavada understanding of Buddhism and has a handy search box at the bottom of each page.
The savage Russian invasion of Ukraine, which of course flagrantly contravenes all that we stand for and is the external cause of much duhkha in our times, continues to weigh heavily on our minds and hearts (see e.g. facebook dot com/advayavadastichting and also advayavada dot org/stichting.htm).