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To: soc.religion.eastern
From: Kapila (
Date: Unknown
Subj: Dukkha (0000.dukkha-.k)

Quoting: |"Kris"

|I've got a problem with the 4 Noble Truths.
|I think that 'suffering' as a basis of spirituality has no relevance in
|Western culture.

The original word that was translated as "suffering" was
"dukkha".  A more accurate translation (according to what
I belive is right) would be "the nature of deterioration"
that is inherent in anything that is a formation ("sankara").
In day to day conversation the word "dukkha" (or its dervatives)
are used in my mother-tongue (Sinhalease) to indicate "suffering"
but this is only a subset of phenomena.  

|I am not suffering. I am wealthy, healthy, in touch with my
|surroundings and those around me. Further, I am happy and optimistic.

As far as material possesions go Prince Siddharta
(who later became Gotama Buddha) must have had more than 
enough to keep him happy.  The grelling six years of
testing that he subjected his body to indicates that he was
a healthy man. I do not think the reason he left everything
behind was because he didn't have enough.  

His observant nature must have shown him the impermance of
this existence and the emotional burden that is attached with it.
According to Buddhist history he left his palace on the
day his son was born.  For an ordinary man in that society
having a son would be a reason to celebrate, but his words
upon hearing the news was "Someone who shadows(liberation)
is born, another bond is born" ('Rahulo jato, bandhanan jatam').
The point I am trying to make is that Buddha's search was not
triggered by the lack of possesions but by a dissatisfaction
towards the underlying nature of all such possessions.

Because I have not reached the the "higher levels of 
awareness" that Buddha preached about, I can't answer
your question with frist hand information.  According
to the best of my understanding, by being aware of your
experiences ( external (thro' the senses) and internal
(what goes on in your mind)) one comes to the realization
that what we call happiness, sadness and all other emotions
have the one basic quality of impermanece. (In fact Buddhism
talks about three qualities, impermanence being one of them).
This realization causes the mind not to form a bond to 
anything but to accept them for what they are.  Buddha saw
this as the lightest form of exsistence.

|I believe and espouse non-dualistic teachings. But avoiding or ending
|suffering has nothing at all to do with it.
|Can someone out there tell me what role 'suffering' plays in such a

Coming back to the original question of "How does all this
apply to you?" I think only you can decide.  If you are happy 
with your life I'd say look no further, because this is exactly
what Buddha himself did.  As soon as he found an existence that 
he was "happy" with he stoped the search.  I think this is what
everybody does and that is the law of nature.  The drive to 
search comes from energy that has not found an equlibrium state
and as soon as that state is reached the drive ceases.


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