The term “dukkha” in Buddhism (Law)

The term “dukkha” in Buddhism (from Concepts of Buddhism, by Bimala Churn Law, Amsterdam 1937) The term dukkha is taken in Buddhism in a most comprehensive sense so as to include in it danger, disease, waste and all that constitutes the basis or cause of suffering. In the terminology of one of the earliest thinkers of Buddha’s time, sukha (pleasure) and dukkha (pain) were conceived as two distinct principles, one of attraction, integration or concord and the other of repulsion, disintegration or discord. Considered in this light, sukha was taken to be the principle of harmony and dukkha, that of discord. In the medical texts roga or disease which is just an instance of dukkha is defined as that condition of the self, the physical self, when the different organs do not function together in harmony and which are attended with a sense of uneasiness. And arogya or health, the opposite of disease, is defined as that condition of the self when all the organs function together in harmony and are attended with a sense of ease. Thus the problem of dukkha is essentially rooted in the feeling of discord or disparity. Birth, decay, or death is not in itself dukkha or suffering. These are only a few contingencies in human experience which upset the expectations of men. From the point of view of mind, dukkha is just a vedana or feeling which is felt by the mind either in respect of the body or in respect of itself, and as a feeling, it is conditioned by certain circumstances. In the absence of these circumstances there is no possibility of its occurrence. Whether a person is affected by dukkha or not depends on the view he takes of things. If the course of common reality be that being once in life, one can not escape either decay or death, and if the process of decay sets in or death actually takes place, there is no reason why that person should be subject to dukkha by trying to undo what cannot be undone. Thus dukkha is based upon misconstruction of the dhammata or law of things or the way of happening in life. If the order of things cannot be changed, two courses are open to individuals to escape from dukkha: (1) to view and accept the order as it is, and (2) to enquire if there is any state of citta or consciousness, on attaining to which an individual is no longer affected by the [common] vicissitudes of life. The Buddhist answer to this enquiry is that there is such a state of consciousness.