[Video] The First Noble Truth – Dukkha


In this video we’ll continue our series on mastering orthodox Buddhist meditation.


It’s important that we create a very strong theoretical foundation before beginning to practice, because the historical Buddha said that his teaching was “Against the stream” – that is, that they run contrary to the fundamental presumptions most people have about existence, and directly target, challenge and ultimately destroy the basest fears and ignorance that all humans are consumed by.


We’ll start out this series by covering The Four Noble Truths, and then we’ll take a deeper dive into what this type of “meditation” *IS*, how the Pali word “Bhavana” differs radically from the Western notion of “meditation“, and then go on to discover the two distinct forms of meditation which the historical Buddha taught.


Overview Of This Training Video On The First Noble Truth Of Dukkha:


  1. Dukkha
    1. Generally translated as “suffering”
    2. This translation is misleading and causes many people to think Buddhism is pessimistic
      1. Buddhism is neither pessimistic nor optimistic
        1. It is realistic
        2. It takes a realistic view of life and the world
        3. It looks at things objectively (yathabhutam)
        4. Doesn’t try to lull you into living in a fools paradise or scare you with imaginary fears and sins
        5. It tells you exactly and objectively what you are and what he world around you is and shows you the way to achieve freedom, peace, tranquility and happiness
      2. The Pali word “Dukkha” in ordinary use does mean “suffering”, “pain”, “sorrow” or “misery”
        1. As opposed to “Sukha” which means happiness, comfort or ease
      3. The term Dukkha in the First Noble Truth has a deeper philosophical meaning
        1. It also includes ideas such as imperfection, impermanence, emptiness, insubstantiality
      4. The Buddha didn’t deny happiness in life when he said there is suffering
        1. He admits different forms of happiness, both material and spiritual
        2. In the Anguttara-Nikaya, one of the 5 original collections in Pali of the Buddha’s discourses, there is a list of happinesses (Sukhani) like the happiness of family and the happiness of the life of the recluse, the happiness of sense pleasures and the happiness of renunciation, the happiness of attachment and detachment, physical and mental happiness, etc.
          1. But all of these are included in Dukkha
        3. Even the very pure spiritual states of Jana, free from even a shadow of suffering in the normal use of the world – which are pure equanimity and awareness are included in Dukkha
          1. Buddha praised these Janas, then said they are impermanent, dukkka, subject to change (anicca dukkha viparnamadhamma)
          2. It’s dukkha not because there is typical suffering, but because whatever is impermanent is dukkha (yad aniccam tam dukkham)
  • The Buddha was realistic and objective
    1. With regard to life and enjoyment of sense pleasures, you should clearly understand 3 things
      1. Attraction and enjoyment (assada)
      2. Evil consequence or danger or unsatisfactoriness (adinava)
      3. Freedom or liberation (nissarana)
    2. When something happens that you like, you enjoy it
      1. This enjoyment is not permanent
      2. When the situation changes, you can’t enjoy it any longer
      3. When you are deprived of that enjoyment, you become said, and may become unreasonable and unbalanced or may behave foolishly
        1. This is the evil, unsatisfactory and dangerous side of the picture of enjoyment or happiness
      4. If you have no attachment to a thing, and you are completely detached, that is freedom. That is liberation
        1. “O bhikkhus, if any recluses or brahmanas do not understand objectively in this way that the enjoyment of sense-pleasures is enjoyment, that their unsatifactoriness is unsatisfactoriness, that liberation from them is liberation, then it is not possible that they themselves will certainly understand the desire for sense pleasures completely, or that they will be able to instruct another person to that end, or that person following their instruction will completely understand the desire for sense pleasures.
        2. But, O bhikkhus, if any recluses, or brahmanas understand objectively in this way that the enjoyment of sense-pleasures is enjoyment, that their unsatisfactoriness is unsatisfactoriness, that liberation from them is liberation, that it is possible that they themselves will certainly understand the desire for sensepleasures completely, and that they will be able to instruct another person to that end, and that the person following their instruction will completely understand the desire of sense-pleasures.
      5. The concept of dukkha can be viewed 3 ways
        1. Dukkha as ordinary suffering (dukkha-dukkha)
          1. Birth
          2. Old age
          3. Sickness
          4. Death
          5. Unpleasant people and situations
          6. Not getting what you want
          7. Grief
          8. Distress
        2. Dukkha as produced by change (veparinama-Dukkha_
        3. Dukkha as conditioned states (samkhara-dukkha)
          1. Analysis of a “being”
            1. Combination of always changing physical and mental factors which can be divided into 5 groups or aggregates (pancakkhandha)

Buddha said “In short, these 5 aggregates of attachment are dukkha”

and- “O Bhikkhus, what is dukkha?  It should be said that it is the 5 aggregates of attachment

Dukkha and the 5 aggregates are not two different things

The 5 aggregates themselves are dukkha

  1. The 5 aggregates (pancakkhandha)
    1. The Aggregate of matter (rupakkhandha)
      1. The four great elements (cattari mahabutani)
        1. Solidity, fluidity, heat, and motion and their derivatives
      2. The aggregate of sensations (vedanakkgandha)
        1. Pleasant, unpleasant or neutral sensations, experienced through the contact of physical and mental organs with the external world
      3. The aggregate of perceptions (sannakkhandha)
        1. Also of 6 types, related to the 6 internal faculties and the six external sense objects
      4. The aggregate of mental formations (samkharakkhandha)
        1. All volitional activities, both good and bad
        2. Kamma generally comes under this group
        3. Buddha said – “O Bhikkhus, it is volition (cetana) that I call kamma. Having willed, one acts through the body, speech and mind.”
      5. The aggregate of consciousness (vinnanakkhandha)
        1. Consciousness is a reaction or response which has one of the 6 faculties as its base and one of the 6 external phenomena as it’s object
        2. One of the Buddha’s own disciples, Sati by name, held that the Master taught: ‘It is the same consciousness that transmigrates and wanders about.’ The Buddha asked him what he meant by ‘consciousness’. Sati’s reply is classical: ‘It is that which expresses, which feels, which experiences the results of good and bad deeds here and there’. ‘To whomever, you stupid one’, remonstrated the Master, ‘have you heard me expounding the doctrine in this manner? Haven’t I in many ways explained consciousness as arising out of conditions: that there is no arising of consciousness without conditions.’
        3. Then the Buddha went on to explain consciousness in detail: ‘Consciousness is named according to whatever condition through which it arises: on account of the eye and visible forms arises a consciousness, and it is called visual consciousness; on account of ear and sounds arises a consciousness, and it is called auditory consciousness; on account of nose and odour arises a consciousness, and it is called olfactory consciousness; on account of tongue and tastes arises a consciousness, and it is called gustatory consciousness; on account of body and tangible objects arises a consciousness, and it is called tactile consciousness; on account of the mind and mind-objects (ideas and thoughts) arises a consciousness, and it is called mental consciousness.’ Then the Buddha explained it further by an illustration: A fire is named according to the material on account of which it burns. A fire may burn on account of wood, and it is called wood-fire. It may burn on account of straw, and then it is called straw-fire. So consciousness is named according to the condition through which it arises.
        4. The Buddha declared clearly that consciousness depends on matter, sensation, perception and mental formations, and that it cannot exist independently from them
          1. “Were a man to say: I shall show the coming, the going, the passing away, the arising, the growth, the increase or the development of consciousness apart from matter sensation, perception and mental formations, he would be speaking of something that does not exist.”
        5. There is no unmoving mover behind the movement
          1. It is only movement
          2. It isn’t correct to say that live is moving, but life is movement itself
          3. Life and movement are not two different things
          4. There is no thinker behind the thought

Thought itself is the thinker

If you remove the thought, there is no thinker to be found

Buddhist view is completely opposed of the Cartesian “Cogito Ergo Sum”


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