Wednesday, June 8, 2011

The Inescapability of Dukkha

Many moments today, I found myself surrounded, imbibed even, with great unpleasantness. First was the pain in the neck, down the right shoulder, the arm, the forearm, the wrist, the fingertips. A pinched nerve awaiting release . . . Then, a general malaise from difficult conditions, outside. I could (can still) feel the tightness in the stomach, the bitter taste in the mouth, the ball in the throat, the tiredness from fighting so much what could not be done away with. At least not now. 

Body and mind mirroring each other in endless ways. Acting out Ayya Khema's insight:
The Buddha also taught a supermundane, transcendental(lokuttara) series of cause and effect. That one starts with unsatisfactoriness (dukkha). Dukkha needs to be seen for what it really is, namely the best starting point for our spiritual journey. Unless we know and see dukkha, we would have little reason to practice. If we haven't acknowledged the over-all existence of dukkha, we wouldn't be interested in getting out of its clutches.
The transcendental-dependent-origination starts out with the awareness and inner knowledge of the inescapable suffering in the human realm. When we reflect upon this, we will no longer try to find a way out through human endeavor, nor through becoming more informed or knowledgeable, or richer, or owning more or having more friends. Seeing dukkha as an inescapable condition, bound up with existence, we no longer feel oppressed by it. It's inescapable that there is thunder and lightning, so we don't try to reject the weather. There have to be thunder, lightning and rain, so we can grow food.
Dukkha is equally inescapable. Without it, the human condition would not exist. There wouldn't be rebirth, decay and death. Having seen it like that, one loses one's resistance to it. The moment one is no longer repelled by dukkha, suffering is greatly diminished. It's our resistance which creates the craving to get rid of it, which makes it so much worse.
~ Ayya Khema, Dukkha for Knowledge and Vision ~  
It's my resistance which creates the craving to get rid of 'it', which makes it so much worse. I know, I know . . . in my head.

And when I am really honest with myself, deep down, the delusion still holds for the promise of more pain free states. At the root is sensual desire and the wanting to feel good.


2 comments:

  1. Hello! I absolutely agree - as much as I try to TRULY accept suffering, yuckiness and general 'dukkha', I stil mainly want to accept it to feel better, and I still grasp at peacefulness/happiness when I feel it, which makes me scared it's going to disappear, which makes it disappear! *sigh* All good wishes to you though, thankyou for the quote, and I do hope that you feel better...

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  2. Thank you Faye. The good news about dukkha is that it is one of most formidable teachers I know . . . right here, right now.

    May you too, find within yourself the wisdom, and resolve to skillfully be with dukkha. And may it transform in the process.

    Metta.

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