Dukkha

Dukkha (/ˈduːkə/; Pāli; Sanskrit: duḥkha) is an important Buddhist concept, commonly translated as "suffering", "pain", "unsatisfactoriness" or "stress".[1][2][3][4] It refers to the fundamental unsatisfactoriness and painfulness of mundane life. It is the first of the Four Noble Truths and it is one of the three marks of existence. The term is also found in scriptures of Hinduism, such as the Upanishads, in discussions of moksha (spiritual liberation).[5][6]

Translations of
dukkha
Englishsuffering, pain, unsatisfactoriness, etc.
Paliदुक्ख
(dukkha)
Sanskritदुःख
(IAST: duḥkha)
Bengaliদুঃখ
(dukkhô)
Burmeseဒုက္ခ
(IPA: [doʊʔkʰa̰])
Chinese
(Pinyin)
Japanese
(rōmaji: ku)
Khmerទុក្ខ
(Tuk)
Korean
(ko)
Sinhalaදුක්ඛ සත්යය
Tibetanསྡུག་བསྔལ།
(Wylie: sdug bsngal;
THL: dukngal
)
Tamilதுக்கம் (thukkam)
Thaiทุกข์
(RTGS: thuk)
Vietnamese苦 (khổ)
Bất toại
Glossary of Buddhism

Etymology and meaning

Dukkha (Pali; Sanskrit duḥkha) is a term found in ancient Indian literature, meaning anything that is "uneasy, uncomfortable, unpleasant, difficult, causing pain or sadness".[7][8] It is also a concept in Indian religions about the nature of life that innately includes the "unpleasant", "suffering," "pain," "sorrow", "distress", "grief" or "misery."[7][8] The term Dukkha does not have a one word English translation, and embodies diverse aspects of unpleasant human experiences.[2][8] It is opposed to the word sukha, meaning "happiness," "comfort" or "ease."[9]

The word is commonly explained as a derivation from Aryan terminology for an axle hole, referring to an axle hole which is not in the center and leads to a bumpy, uncomfortable ride. According to Winthrop Sargeant,

The ancient Aryans who brought the Sanskrit language to India were a nomadic, horse- and cattle-breeding people who travelled in horse- or ox-drawn vehicles. Su and dus are prefixes indicating good or bad. The word kha, in later Sanskrit meaning "sky," "ether," or "space," was originally the word for "hole," particularly an axle hole of one of the Aryan's vehicles. Thus sukha … meant, originally, "having a good axle hole," while duhkha meant "having a poor axle hole," leading to discomfort.[10]

Joseph Goldstein, American vipassana teacher and writer, explains the etymology as follows:

The word dukkha is made up of the prefix du and the root kha. Du means “bad” or “difficult.” Kha means “empty.” “Empty,” here, refers to several things—some specific, others more general. One of the specific meanings refers to the empty axle hole of a wheel. If the axle fits badly into the center hole, we get a very bumpy ride. This is a good analogy for our ride through saṃsāra.[11]

However, according to Monier Monier-Williams, the actual roots of the Pali term dukkha appear to be Sanskrit दुस्- (dus-, "bad") + स्था (stha, "to stand").[12] Regular phonological changes in the development of Sanskrit into the various Prakrits led to a shift from dus-sthā to duḥkha to dukkha.

Buddhism

Contemporary translators of Buddhist texts use a variety of English words to convey the aspects of dukkha. Early Western translators of Buddhist texts (before the 1970s) typically translated the Pali term dukkha as "suffering." Later translators have emphasized that "suffering" is too limited a translation for the term dukkha, and have preferred to either leave the term untranslated or to clarify that translation with terms such as anxiety, distress, frustration, unease, unsatisfactoriness, etc.[13][14][15] Many contemporary teachers, scholars, and translators have used the term "unsatisfactoriness" to emphasize the subtlest aspects of dukkha.[16][17][18][19][20] Contemporary translators have used a variety of English words to translate the term dukkha,[note 1] and many translators prefer to leave the term untranslated.[9]

Within the Buddhist sutras, dukkha is divided in three categories:

  • Dukkha-dukkha, the dukkha of painful experiences. This includes the physical and mental sufferings of birth, aging, illness, dying; distress from what is not desirable.
  • Viparinama-dukkha, the dukkha of pleasant or happy experiences changing to unpleasant when the causes and conditions that produced the pleasant experiences cease.
  • Sankhara-dukkha, the dukkha of conditioned experience. This includes "a basic unsatisfactoriness pervading all existence, all forms of life, because all forms of life are changing, impermanent and without any inner core or substance."[web 1] On this level, the term indicates a lack of satisfaction, a sense that things never measure up to our expectations or standards.

Various sutras sum up how life in this "mundane world" is regarded to be dukkha, starting with samsara, the ongoing process of death and rebirth itself:[note 2]

  1. Birth is dukkha, aging is dukkha, illness is dukkha, death is dukkha;
  2. Sorrow, lamentation, pain, grief, and despair are dukkha;
  3. Association with the unbeloved is dukkha; separation from the loved is dukkha;
  4. Not getting what is wanted is dukkha.
  5. In conclusion, the five clinging-aggregates are dukkha.

Dukkha is one of the three marks of existence, namely dukkha ("suffering"), anatta (not-self), anicca ("impermanence").

The Buddhist tradition emphasizes the importance of developing insight into the nature of dukkha, the conditions that cause it, and how it can be overcome. This process is formulated in the teachings on the Four Noble Truths.

Hinduism

In Hindu literature, the earliest Upaniads — the Bṛhadāraṇyaka and the Chāndogya — in all likelihood predate the advent of Buddhism.[note 3] In these scriptures of Hinduism, the Sanskrit word dukha (दुःख) appears in the sense of "suffering, sorrow, distress", and in the context of a spiritual pursuit and liberation through the knowledge of Atman (soul/self).[5][6][24]

The verse 4.4.14 of the Bṛhadāraṇyaka Upaniṣad states:

English Sanskrit
While we are still here, we have come to know it [ātman].
If you've not known it, great is your destruction.
Those who have known it — they become immortal.
As for the rest — only suffering awaits them.[5]
ihaiva santo 'tha vidmas tad vayaṃ na ced avedir mahatī vinaṣṭiḥ
ye tad vidur amṛtās te bhavanty athetare duḥkham evāpiyanti
[web 2]

The verse 7.26.2 of the Chāndogya Upaniṣad states:

English Sanskrit

When a man rightly sees [his soul],[25]
he sees no death, no sickness or distress.[note 4]
When a man rightly sees,
he sees all, he wins all, completely.[27][note 5]

na paśyo mṛtyuṃ paśyati na rogaṃ nota duḥkhatām
sarvaṃ ha paśyaḥ paśyati sarvam āpnoti sarvaśaḥ
[web 3]

The concept of sorrow and suffering, and self-knowledge as a means to overcome it, appears extensively with other terms in the pre-Buddhist Upanishads.[28] The term Duhkha also appears in many other middle and later post-Buddhist Upanishads such as the verse 6.20 of Shvetashvatara Upanishad,[29] as well as in the Bhagavada Gita, all in the context of moksha.[30][note 6] The term also appears in the foundational Sutras of the six schools of Hindu philosophy, such as the opening lines of Samkhya karika of the Samkhya school.[32][33]

Comparison of Buddhism and Hinduism

Both Hinduism and Buddhism emphasize that one overcomes dukha through the development of understanding.[note 7] However, the two religions widely differ in the nature of that understanding. Hinduism emphasizes the understanding and acceptance of Atman (self, soul) and Brahman, while Buddhism emphasizes the understanding and acceptance of Anatta (Anatman, non-self, non-soul) as each discusses the means to liberation from Dukkha.[34][35]

See also

Notes

  1. ^ Contemporary translators have used a variety of English words to translate the term dukkha; translators commonly use different words to translate aspects of the term. For example, dukkha has been translated as follows in many contexts:
    • Suffering (Harvey, Williams, Keown, Anderson, Gombrich, Thich Nhat Hanh, Ajahn Succito, Chogyam Trungpa, Rupert Gethin, Dalai Lama, et al.)
    • Pain (Harvey, Williams, Keown, Anderson, Huxter, Gombrich, et al)
    • Unsatisfactoriness (Dalai Lama, Bhikkhu Bodhi, Rupert Gethin, et al.)
    • Stress Thanissaro Bhikkhu([21][22]
    • Sorrow
    • Anguish
    • Affliction (Brazier)
    • Dissatisfaction (Pema Chodron, Chogyam Trunpa)
    • Distress (Walpola Rahula)
    • Frustration (Dalai Lama, Four Noble Truths, p. 38)
    • Misery
    • Anxiety (Chogyam Trungpa, The Truth of Suffering, pp. 8–10)
    • Uneasiness (Chogyam Trungpa)
    • Unease (Rupert Gethin)
    • Unhappiness
  2. ^ Paul Williams: "All rebirth is due to karma and is impermanent. Short of attaining enlightenment, in each rebirth one is born and dies, to be reborn elsewhere in accordance with the completely impersonal causal nature of one's own karma. The endless cycle of birth, rebirth, and redeath, is samsara."[23]
  3. ^ See, e.g., Patrick Olivelle (1996), Upaniads (Oxford: Oxford University Press), ISBN 978-0-19-283576-5, p. xxxvi: "The scholarly consensus, well-founded I think, is that the Bṛhadāraṇyaka and the Chāndogya are the two earliest Upaniads.... The two texts as we have them are, in all likelihood, pre-Buddhist; placing them in the seventh to sixth centuries BCE may be reasonable, give or take a century or so."
  4. ^ Max Muller translates Duḥkhatām in this verse as "pain".[26]
  5. ^ This statement is comparable to the Pali Canon's Dhammacakkappavattana Sutta (SN 56.11) where sickness and death are identified as examples of dukkha.
  6. ^ See Bhagavad Gita verses 2.56, 5.6, 6.22-32, 10.4, 13.6-8, 14.16, 17.9, 18.8, etc; [31]
  7. ^ For a general discussion of the core Indian spiritual goal of developing transcendent "seeing," see, e.g., Hamilton, Sue (2000/2001), Indian Philosophy: A Very Short Introduction, (Oxford: Oxford U. Press), pp. 9-10, ISBN 978-0-19-285374-5.

References

  1. ^ Malcolm Huxter (2016). Healing the Heart and Mind with Mindfulness: Ancient Path, Present Moment. Routledge. p. 10. ISBN 978-1-317-50540-2., Quote: " dukkha (unsatisfactoriness or suffering) (....) In the Introduction I wrote that dukkha is probably best understood as unsatisfactoriness."
  2. ^ a b Peter Harvey (2015). Steven M. Emmanuel (ed.). A Companion to Buddhist Philosophy. John Wiley & Sons. pp. 26–31. ISBN 978-1-119-14466-3.
  3. ^ Carol Anderson (2013). Pain and Its Ending: The Four Noble Truths in the Theravada Buddhist Canon. Routledge. pp. 1, 22 with note 4. ISBN 978-1-136-81332-0., Quote: "(...) the three characteristics of samsara/sankhara (the realm of rebirth): anicca (impermance), dukkha (pain) and anatta (no-self)."
  4. ^ https://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitaka/sn/sn22/sn22.086.than.html
  5. ^ a b c Brihadaranyaka Upanishad 4 April 2014, trans. Patrick Olivelle (1996), p. 66.
  6. ^ a b Paul Deussen (1980). Sixty Upaniṣads of the Veda, Vol. 1. Motilal Banarsidass (Reprinted). pp. 482–485, 497. ISBN 978-81-208-1468-4.
  7. ^ a b Monier-Williams 1899, p. 483.
  8. ^ a b c Thomas William Rhys Davids; William Stede (1921). Pali-English Dictionary. Motilal Banarsidass. pp. 324–325. ISBN 978-81-208-1144-7.
  9. ^ a b Walpola Rahula 2007, Kindle Locations 542-550.
  10. ^ Sargeant 2009, p. 303.
  11. ^ Goldstein 2013, p. 289.
  12. ^ Monier-Williams 1899, p. 483, entry note: "according to grammarians properly written dush-kha and said to be from dus and kha [cf. su-khá]; but more probably a Prākritized form for duḥ-stha, q.v."
  13. ^ Walpola Rahula 2007, Kindle locations 524-528.
  14. ^ Prebish 1993.
  15. ^ Keown 2003.
  16. ^ Dalai Lama 1998, p. 38.
  17. ^ Gethin 1998, p. 61.
  18. ^ Smith & Novak 2009, Kindle location 2769.
  19. ^ Keown 2000, Kindle Locations 932-934.
  20. ^ Bhikkhu Bodhi 2011, p. 6.
  21. ^ https://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitaka/sn/sn56/sn56.011.than.html
  22. ^ https://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitaka/sn/sn22/sn22.086.than.html bottom
  23. ^ Williams 2002, p. 74-75.
  24. ^ Robert Hume, Chandogya Upanishad, The Thirteen Principal Upanishads, Oxford University Press, pages 261-262
  25. ^ Paul Deussen (1980). Sixty Upaniṣads of the Veda. Motilal Banarsidass (Reprinted). pp. 188–189. ISBN 978-81-208-1468-4.
  26. ^ Chandogya Upanishad 7.26.2, Max Muller (Translator), Oxford University Press, page 124
  27. ^ Chandogya Upanishad 7.26.2, trans. Patrick Olivelle (1996), p. 166.
  28. ^ Paul Deussen (1980). Sixty Upaniṣads of the Veda, Vol. 1. Motilal Banarsidass (Reprinted). pp. 112, 161, 176, 198, 202–203, 235, 455, etc. ISBN 978-81-208-1468-4.
  29. ^ Paul Deussen (1980). Sixty Upaniṣads of the Veda, Vol. 1. Motilal Banarsidass (Reprinted). p. 326. ISBN 978-81-208-1468-4.
  30. ^ Paul Deussen (1980). Sixty Upaniṣads of the Veda, Vol. 1. Motilal Banarsidass (Reprinted). p. 305. ISBN 978-81-208-1468-4.
  31. ^ Sargeant 2009.
  32. ^ Original Sanskrit: Samkhya karika Compiled and indexed by Ferenc Ruzsa (2015), Sanskrit Documents Archives;
    Second Translation (Verse 1): Ferenc Ruzsa (1997), The triple suffering - A note on the Samkhya karika, Xth World Sanskrit Conference: Bangalore, University of Hungary, Budapest;
    Third Translation (all Verses): Samkhyakarika of Iswara Krishna John Davis (Translator), Trubner, London, University of Toronto Archives
  33. ^ Samkhya karika by Iswara Krishna, Henry Colebrooke (Translator), Oxford University Press
  34. ^ Johannes Bronkhorst (2009). Buddhist Teaching in India. Wisdom Publications. pp. 23–25. ISBN 978-0-86171-811-5.
  35. ^ Peter Harvey (2013). The Selfless Mind: Personality, Consciousness and Nirvana in Early Buddhism. Routledge. pp. 34, 38. ISBN 978-1-136-78336-4.

Sources

Printed sources

  • Bhikkhu Bodhi (2011), The Noble Eightfold Path: Way to the End of Suffering, Independent Publishers Group, Kindle Edition
  • Dalai Lama (1998), The Four Noble Truths, Thorsons
  • Gethin, Rupert (1998), Foundations of Buddhism, Oxford University Press
  • Goldstein, Joseph (2013), Mindfulness: A Practical Guide to Awakening, Sounds True, Kindle Edition
  • Harvey, Peter (1990). Introduction to Buddhism. Cambridge University Press.
  • Kalupahana, David J. (1992). A history of Buddhist philosophy. Delhi: Motilal Banarsidass Publishers Private Limited.
  • Keown, Damien (2000), Buddhism: A Very Short Introduction, Oxford University Press, Kindle Edition
  • Keown, Damien (2003), Dictionary of Buddhism, Oxford University Press, ISBN 0-19-860560-9
  • Lopez, Donald S. (2001). The Story of Buddhism. HarperCollins.
  • Monier-Williams, Monier (1899), A Sanskrit-English Dictionary (PDF), London (Reprinted 1964): Oxford University Press
  • Nanamoli, Bhikkhu (1995). The Middle Length Discourses of the Buddha: A New Translation of the Majjhima Nikaya. Boston: Wisdom Publications. ISBN 0-86171-072-X.
  • Prebish, Charles (1993), Historical Dictionary of Buddhism, The Scarecrow Press, ISBN 0-8108-2698-4
  • Potter, Karl (2004). The Encyclopedia of Indian Philosophies, Vol. IX: Buddhist philosophy from 350 to 600 AD.
  • Ronkin, Noa (2005). Early Buddhist Metaphysics: the Making of a Philosophical Tradition. Routledge.
  • Sargeant, Winthrop (2009), The Bhagavad Gita, SUNY Press
  • Smith, Huston; Novak, Philip (2009), Buddhism: A Concise Introduction, HarperOne, Kindle Edition
  • Walpola Rahula (2007), What the Buddha Taught, Grove Press, Kindle Edition
  • Williams, Paul (2002), Buddhist Thought, Routledge, ISBN 0-415207010

Web sources

  1. ^ The Four Noble Truths - By Bhikkhu Bodhi
  2. ^ Brihadaranyaka Upanishad, Retrieved 16 May 2016 from "SanskritDocuments.Org" at Brihadaranyaka IV.iv.14, Original: इहैव सन्तोऽथ विद्मस्तद्वयं विद्मस् तद् वयम्न चेदवेदिर्महती विनष्टिः । ये तद्विदुरमृतास्ते भवन्त्य् अथेतरे दुःखमेवापियन्ति ॥ १४ ॥
  3. ^ Chandogya Upanishad 7,26.2. Retrieved 16 May 2016 from Wikisource छान्दोग्योपनिषद् ४ ॥ षड्विंशः खण्डः ॥, Quote: तदेष श्लोको न पश्यो मृत्युं पश्यति न रोगं नोत दुःखताँ सर्वँ ह पश्यः पश्यति सर्वमाप्नोति सर्वश इति ।

External links

Asalha Puja

Asalha Puja (known as Asanha Bucha in Thailand, Thai: อาสาฬหบูชา) is a Theravada Buddhist festival which typically takes place in July, on the full moon of the month of Āsādha. It is celebrated in Bangladesh, Cambodia, Thailand, Sri Lanka, Laos, Myanmar and in countries with Theravada Buddhist populations. Asalha Puja, also known as Dhamma Day, is one of Theravada Buddhism's most important festivals, celebrating as it does the Buddha's first sermon in which he set out to his five former associates the doctrine that had come to him following his enlightenment. This first pivotal sermon, often referred to as “setting into motion the wheel of dhamma,” is the teaching which is encapsulated for Buddhists in the four noble truths: there is suffering (dukkha); suffering is caused by craving (tanha); there is a state (nibbana) beyond suffering and craving; and finally, the way to nirvana is via the eightfold path. All the various schools and traditions of Buddhism revolve around the central doctrine of the four noble truths.

This first sermon is not only the first structured discourse given by the Buddha after his enlightenment, it also contains the essence of all his subsequent teaching. At the end of the talk, one of the five participants recounted his understanding of what had been said and asked to be received as a disciple, a request the Buddha granted, thus establishing the first order of monks.

The day is observed by donating offerings to temples and listening to sermons. The following day is known in Thailand as Thai: วันเข้าพรรษา Wan Khao Phansa; it is the first day of Thai: พรรษา vassa, the Theravada rains retreat.

In Indonesia, this festival is centered at Mendut Temple, near Borobudur.

Avidyā (Buddhism)

Avidyā (Sanskrit; Pāli: avijjā; Tibetan phonetic: ma rigpa) in Buddhist literature is commonly translated as "ignorance". The concept refers to ignorance or misconceptions about the nature of metaphysical reality, in particular about the impermanence and non-self doctrines about reality. It is the root cause of Dukkha (suffering, pain, unsatisfactoriness), and asserted as the first link, in Buddhist phenomenology, of a process that leads to repeated birth.Avidyā is mentioned within the Buddhist teachings as ignorance or misunderstanding in various contexts:

Four Noble Truths

The first link in the twelve links of dependent origination

One of the three poisons within the Mahayana Buddhist tradition

One of the six root kleshas within the Mahayana Abhidharma teachings

One of the ten fetters in the Theravada tradition

Equivalent to moha within the Theravada Abhidharma teachingsWithin the context of the twelve links of dependent origination, avidya is typically symbolized by a person who is blind or wearing a blindfold.

Buddhahood

In Buddhism, buddhahood (Sanskrit: buddhatva; Pali: buddhatta or buddhabhāva; Chinese: 佛果) is the condition or rank of a buddha "awakened one".The goal of Mahayana's bodhisattva path is Samyaksambuddhahood, so that one may benefit all sentient beings by teaching them the path of cessation of dukkha. Mahayana theory contrasts this with the goal of the Theravada path, where the goal is individual arhatship.

Buddhism

Buddhism (, US also ) is the world's fourth-largest religion with over 520 million followers, or over 7% of the global population, known as Buddhists.

Buddhism encompasses a variety of traditions, beliefs and spiritual practices largely based on original teachings attributed to the Buddha and resulting interpreted philosophies. Buddhism originated in ancient India as a Sramana tradition sometime between the 6th and 4th centuries BCE, spreading through much of Asia. Two major extant branches of Buddhism are generally recognized by scholars: Theravada (Pali: "The School of the Elders") and Mahayana (Sanskrit: "The Great Vehicle").

Most Buddhist traditions share the goal of overcoming suffering and the cycle of death and rebirth, either by the attainment of Nirvana or through the path of Buddhahood. Buddhist schools vary in their interpretation of the path to liberation, the relative importance and canonicity assigned to the various Buddhist texts, and their specific teachings and practices. Widely observed practices include taking refuge in the Buddha, the Dharma and the Sangha, observance of moral precepts, monasticism, meditation, and the cultivation of the Paramitas (virtues).

Theravada Buddhism has a widespread following in Sri Lanka and Southeast Asia such as Myanmar and Thailand. Mahayana, which includes the traditions of Pure Land, Zen, Nichiren Buddhism, Shingon and Tiantai (Tendai), is found throughout East Asia.

Vajrayana, a body of teachings attributed to Indian adepts, may be viewed as a separate branch or as an aspect of Mahayana Buddhism. Tibetan Buddhism, which preserves the Vajrayana teachings of eighth-century India, is practiced in the countries of the Himalayan region, Mongolia, and Kalmykia.

Buddhism and sexuality

In the Buddha's first discourse, he identifies craving (tanha) as the cause of suffering (dukkha). He then identifies three objects of craving: the craving for existence; the craving for non-existence and the craving for sense pleasures (kama). Kama is identified as one of five hindrances to the attainment of jhana according to the Buddha's teaching. Throughout the Sutta Pitaka the Buddha often compares sexual pleasure to arrows or darts. So in the Kama Sutta (4.1) from the Sutta Nipata the Buddha explains that craving sexual pleasure is a cause of suffering.

If one, longing for sensual pleasure, achieves it, yes, he's enraptured at heart. The mortal gets what he wants. But if for that person — longing, desiring — the pleasures diminish, he's shattered, as if shot with an arrow.

The Buddha then goes on to say:

So one, always mindful, should avoid sensual desires. Letting them go, he will cross over the flood like one who, having bailed out the boat, has reached the far shore.

The 'flood' refers to the deluge of human suffering. The 'far shore' is nibbana, a state in which there is no sensual desire.

The meaning of the Kama Sutta is that sensual desire, like any habitual sense pleasure, brings suffering. To lay people the Buddha advised that they should at least avoid sexual misconduct (See Theravada definition below). From the Buddha's full-time disciples, the ordained monks and nuns, strict celibacy (called brahmacarya) had always been required.

Four Noble Truths

In Buddhism, the Four Noble Truths (Sanskrit: catvāri āryasatyāni; Pali: cattāri ariyasaccāni) are "the truths of the Noble Ones", the truths or realities for the "spiritually worthy ones". The truths are:

dukkha (suffering, incapable of satisfying, painful) is an innate characteristic of existence with each rebirth;

samudaya (origin, cause) of this dukkha is the "craving, desire or attachment";

nirodha (cessation, ending) of this dukkha can be attained by eliminating all "craving, desire, and attachment";

his marga (path, Noble Eightfold Path) is the means to end this dukkha.They are traditionally identified as the first teaching given by the Buddha, and considered one of the most important teachings in Buddhism.The four truths appear in many grammatical forms in the ancient Buddhist texts, and they have both a symbolic and a propositional function. Symbolically, they represent the awakening and liberation of the Buddha, and of the potential for his followers to reach the same religious experience as him. As propositions, the Four Truths are a conceptual framework that appear in the Pali canon and early Hybrid Sanskrit Buddhist scriptures. They are a part of the broader "network of teachings", (the "dhamma matrix") which have to be taken together. They provide a conceptual framework for introducing and explaining Buddhist thought, which has to be personally understood or "experienced".As a proposition, the four truths defy an exact definition, but refer to and express the basic orientation of Buddhism: unguarded sensory contact gives rise to craving and clinging to impermanent states and things, which are dukkha, "incapable of satisfying" and painful. This craving keeps us caught in samsara, the endless cycle of repeated rebirth, and the continued dukkha that comes with it. There is a way to end this cycle, namely by attaining nirvana, cessation of craving, whereafter rebirth and the accompanying dukkha will no longer arise again. This can be accomplished by following the eightfold path, confining our automatic responses to sensory contact by restraining oneself, cultivating discipline and wholesome states, and practicing mindfulness and dhyana (meditation).The function of the four truths, and their importance, developed over time and the Buddhist tradition slowly recognized them as the Buddha's first teaching. This tradition was established when prajna, or "liberating insight", came to be regarded as liberating in itself, instead of or in addition to the practice of dhyana. This "liberating insight" gained a prominent place in the sutras, and the four truths came to represent this liberating insight, as a part of the enlightenment story of the Buddha. The four truths grew to be of central importance in the Theravada tradition of Buddhism by about the 5th-century CE, which holds that the insight into the four truths is liberating in itself. They are less prominent in the Mahayana tradition, which sees the higher aims of insight into sunyata, emptiness, and following the Bodhisattva path as central elements in their teachings and practice. The Mahayana tradition reinterpreted the four truths to explain how a liberated being can still be "pervasively operative in this world". Beginning with the exploration of Buddhism by western colonialists in the 19th century and the development of Buddhist modernism, they came to be often presented in the west as the central teaching of Buddhism, sometimes with novel modernistic reinterpretations very different from the historic Buddhist traditions in Asia.

Impermanence

Impermanence, also known as the philosophical problem of change, is a philosophical concept that is addressed in a variety of religions and philosophies.

Mahasi Sayadaw

Mahasi Sayadaw U Sobhana (Burmese: မဟာစည်ဆရာတော် ဦးသောဘန, pronounced [məhàsì sʰəjàdɔ̀ ʔú θɔ́bəna̰]; 29 July 1904 – 14 August 1982) was a Burmese Theravada Buddhist monk and meditation master who had a significant impact on the teaching of vipassanā (insight) meditation in the West and throughout Asia.

In his style of practice, derived from the so-called New Burmese Method of U Nārada, the meditator lives according to Buddhist morality as a prerequisite for meditation practice. Meditation itself entails the practice of satipatthana, mindfulness of breathing, anchoring the attention on the sensations of the rising and falling of the abdomen during breathing, observing carefully any other sensations or thoughts. This is coupled to reflection on the Buddhist teachings on causality, gaining insight into anicca, dukkha, and anattā.

Navayana

Navayana (Devanagari: नवयान, IAST: Navayāna) means "new vehicle" and refers to the re-interpretation of Buddhism by B. R. Ambedkar. Ambedkar was born in a Dalit (untouchable) family during the colonial era of India, studied abroad, became a Dalit leader, and announced in 1935 his intent to convert from Hinduism to Buddhism. Thereafter Ambedkar studied texts of Buddhism, found several of its core beliefs and doctrines such as Four Noble Truths and "non-self" as flawed and pessimistic, re-interpreted these into what he called "new vehicle" of Buddhism. This is known as Navayana, also known as Bhimayāna after Ambedkar's first name Bhimrao. Ambedkar held a press conference on October 13, 1956, announcing his rejection of Theravada and Mahayana vehicles, as well as of Hinduism. Thereafter, he left Hinduism and adopted Navayana, about six weeks before his death.In the Dalit Buddhist movement of India, Navayana is considered a new branch of Buddhism, different from the traditionally recognized branches of Theravada, Mahayana and Vajrayana. Navayana rejects practices and precepts such as renouncing monk and monasticism, karma, rebirth in afterlife, samsara, meditation, enlightenment and Four Noble Truths considered to be foundational in the Buddhist traditions. It radically re-interprets what Buddhism is, revises the original Buddha teaching to be about class struggle and social equality.Ambedkar called his version of Buddhism Navayana or Neo-Buddhism. His book, The Buddha and His Dhamma is the holy book of Navayana followers.

Outline of Buddhism

Buddhism (Pali/Sanskrit: बौद्ध धर्म Buddha Dharma) is a religion and philosophy encompassing a variety of traditions, beliefs and practices, largely based on teachings attributed to Siddhartha Gautama, commonly known as the Buddha, "the awakened one".

The following outline is provided as an overview of, and topical guide to, Buddhism.

Prajñā (Buddhism)

Prajñā (Sanskrit) or paññā (Pāli) "wisdom" is insight in the true nature of reality, namely primarily anicca (impermanence), dukkha (dissatisfaction or suffering), anattā (non-self) and suññatā (emptiness).

Pratītyasamutpāda

Pratītyasamutpāda (Sanskrit: प्रतीत्यसमुत्पाद pratītyasamutpāda; Pali: पटिच्चसमुप्पाद paṭiccasamuppāda), commonly translated as dependent origination, or dependent arising, is a key principle in Buddhist teachings, which states that all dharmas ("phenomena") arise in dependence upon other dharmas: "if this exists, that exists; if this ceases to exist, that also ceases to exist".

The principle is expressed in the links of dependent origination (Pali: dvādasanidānāni, Sanskrit: dvādaśanidānāni) in Buddhism, a linear list of twelve elements from the Buddhist teachings which arise depending on the preceding link. Traditionally the list is interpreted as describing the conditional arising of rebirth in saṃsāra, and the resultant duḥkha (suffering, pain, unsatisfactoriness). An alternate Theravada interpretation regards the list as describing the arising of mental formations and the resultant notion of "I" and "mine," which are the source of suffering. Traditionally, the reversal of the causal chain is explained as leading to the annihilation of mental formations and rebirth.Scholars have noted inconsistencies in the list, and regard it to be a later synthesis of several older lists. The first four links may be a mockery of the Vedic-Brahmanic cosmogony, as described in the Hymn of Creation of Veda X, 129 and the Brihadaranyaka Upanishad. These were integrated with a branched list which describe the conditioning of mental processes, akin to the five skandhas. Eventually, this branched list developed into the standard twelvefold chain as a linear list. While this list may be interpreted as describing the processes which give rise to rebirth, in essence it describes the arising of dukkha as a psychological process, without the involvement of an atman.

Reality in Buddhism

Reality in Buddhism is called dharma (Sanskrit) or dhamma (Pali). This word, which is foundational to the conceptual frameworks of the Indian religions, refers in Buddhism to the system of natural laws which constitute the natural order of things. Dharma is therefore reality as-it-is (yatha-bhuta). The teaching of Gautama Buddha constituting as it does a method by which people can come out of their condition of suffering (dukkha) involves developing an awareness of reality (see mindfulness). Buddhism thus seeks to address any disparity between a person's view of reality and the actual state of things. This is called developing Right or Correct View (Pali: samma ditthi). Seeing reality as-it-is is thus an essential prerequisite to mental health and well-being according to Buddha's teaching.

Buddhism addresses deeply philosophical questions regarding the nature of reality. One of the fundamental teachings is that all the constituent forms (sankharas) that make up the universe are transient (Pali: anicca), arising and passing away, and therefore without concrete identity or ownership (atta). This lack of enduring ownership or identity (anatta) of phenomena has important consequences for the possibility of liberation from the conditions which give rise to suffering. This is explained in the doctrine of interdependent origination.

One of the most discussed themes in Buddhism is that of the emptiness (sunyata) of form (Pali: rūpa), an important corollary of the transient and conditioned nature of phenomena. Reality is seen, ultimately, in Buddhism as a form of 'projection', resulting from the fruition (vipaka) of karmic seeds (sankharas). The precise nature of this 'illusion' that is the phenomenal universe is debated among different schools. For example;

Some consider that the concept of the unreality of "reality" is confusing. They posit that, in Buddhism, the perceived reality is considered illusory not in the sense that reality is a fantasy or unreal, but that our perceptions and preconditions mislead us to believe that we are separate from the elements that we are made of. Reality, in Buddhist thought, would be described as the manifestation of karma.

Other schools of thought in Buddhism (e.g., Dzogchen), consider perceived reality literally unreal. As a prominent contemporary teacher puts it: "In a real sense, all the visions that we see in our lifetime are like a big dream [...]". In this context, the term 'visions' denotes not only visual perceptions, but appearances perceived through all senses, including sounds, smells, tastes and tactile sensations, and operations on received mental objects.

Saṃsāra (Buddhism)

Saṃsāra (Sanskrit, Pali; also samsara) in Buddhism is the beginningless cycle of repeated birth, mundane existence and dying again. Samsara is considered to be dukkha, unsatisfactory and painful, perpetuated by desire and avidya (ignorance), and the resulting karma.Rebirths occur in six realms of existence, namely three good realms (heavenly, demi-god, human) and three evil realms (animal, ghosts, hellish). Samsara ends if a person attains nirvana, the "blowing out" of the desires and the gaining of true insight into impermanence and non-self reality.

Skandha

Skandhas (Sanskrit) or khandhas (Pāḷi) means "heaps, aggregates, collections, groupings". In Buddhism, it refers to the five aggregates of clinging (Pancha-upadanakkhanda), the five bodily and mental factors that take part in the rise of craving and clinging. They are also explained as the five factors that constitute and explain a sentient being’s person and personality, but this is a later interpretation in response to sarvastivadin essentialism.

The five aggregates or heaps are: form (or matter or body) (rupa), sensations (or feelings, received from form) (vedana), perceptions (samjna), mental activity or formations (sankhara), and consciousness (vijnana).In the Theravada tradition, suffering arises when one identifies with or clings to the aggregates. This suffering is extinguished by relinquishing attachments to aggregates. The Mahayana tradition asserts that the nature of all aggregates is intrinsically empty of independent existence.

Tathāgata

Tathāgata (Sanskrit: [tɐˈtʰaːɡɐtɐ]) is a Pali and Sanskrit word; Gautama Buddha uses it when referring to himself in the Pāli Canon. The term is often thought to mean either "one who has thus gone" (tathā-gata) or "one who has thus come" (tathā-āgata). This is interpreted as signifying that the Tathāgata is beyond all coming and going – beyond all transitory phenomena. There are, however, other interpretations and the precise original meaning of the word is not certain.The Buddha is quoted on numerous occasions in the Pali Canon as referring to himself as the Tathāgata instead of using the pronouns me, I or myself. This may be meant to emphasize by implication that the teaching is uttered by one who has transcended the human condition, one beyond the otherwise endless cycle of rebirth and death, i.e. beyond dukkha.

The term Tathāgata has a number of possible meanings.

Taṇhā

Taṇhā is a Pāli word, which originates from the Vedic Sanskrit word tṛ́ṣṇā, which means "thirst, desire, wish", from Proto-Indo-Iranian *tŕ̥šnas. It is an important concept in Buddhism, referring to "thirst, desire, longing, greed", either physical or mental. It is typically translated as craving, and is of three types: kāma-taṇhā (craving for sensual pleasures), bhava-taṇhā (craving for existence), and vibhava-taṇhā (craving for non-existence).Taṇhā appears in the Four Noble Truths, wherein taṇhā is the cause of dukkha (suffering, pain, unsatisfactoriness) and the cycle of repeated birth, becoming and death (Saṃsāra).

Three marks of existence

In Buddhism, the three marks of existence are three characteristics (Pali: tilakkhaṇa; Sanskrit: त्रिलक्षण, trilakṣaṇa) of all existence and beings, namely impermanence (aniccā), unsatisfactoriness or suffering (dukkha), and non-self (anattā). These three characteristics are mentioned in verses 277, 278 and 279 of the Dhammapada. That humans are subject to delusion about the three marks, that this delusion results in suffering, and that removal of that delusion results in the end of suffering, is a central theme in the Buddhist Four Noble Truths and Noble Eightfold Path.

According to Thich Nhat Hanh, the three seals are impermanence, non-self and nirvana. He says in "The heart of the Buddha's Teaching" that "In several sutras the Buddha taught that nirvana, the joy of completely extinguishing our ideas and concepts, rather than suffering, is one of the Three Dharma Seals."

Vipassanā

Vipassanā (Pāli) or vipaśyanā (Sanskrit), "insight," is prajñā "insight into the true nature of reality", defined as anicca "impermanence", dukkha "suffering, unsatisfactoriness", anattā "non-self", the three marks of existence in the Theravada tradition, and as śūnyatā "emptiness" and Buddha-nature in the Mahayana traditions.

Meditation practice in the Theravada tradition ended in the 10th century, but was reintroduced in Toungoo and Konbaung Burma in the 18th century, based on contemporary readings of the Satipaṭṭhāna sutta, the Visuddhimagga, and other texts. A new tradition developed in the 19th and 20th century, centering on bare insight in conjunction with samatha. It became of central importance in the 20th century Vipassanā movement as developed by Ledi Sayadaw and U Vimala and popularised by Mahasi Sayadaw, V. R. Dhiravamsa, and S. N. Goenka.In modern Theravada, the combination or disjunction of vipassanā and samatha is a matter of dispute. While the Pali sutras hardly mention vipassanā, describing it as a mental quality alongside with samatha which develop in tandem and lead to liberation, the Abhidhamma Pitaka and the commentaries describe samatha and vipassanā as two separate meditation techniques. The Vipassanā movement favours vipassanā over samatha, but critics point out that both are necessary elements of the Buddhist training.

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