Dukkha as a property of the objects.

A discussion on all aspects of Theravāda Buddhism
Post Reply
User avatar
Miguel
Posts: 43
Joined: Sun Sep 18, 2016 4:22 am
Location: Valencia, Venezuela.

Dukkha as a property of the objects.

Post by Miguel » Sat Apr 07, 2018 11:53 pm

Reading the Dhammapada, I arrived once again to the verses dealing with the three marks of existence (277, 278, 279). However, unlike other times, something wasn't quite right, for it occurred to me the following question: if dukkha is a property of the objects in themselves, how could we ever attain release in this life? More extensively put: being so that anicca and anattā are clearly ever-present in the phenomena of this world that we call objects, and being merely marks in the purest sense, they can have no emotional implications for an arhat, who has no attachments to those phenomena. But if dukkha, being a feeling, is present in the objects themselves, how could an arhat stop suffering as long as he is living in this world and so is in some sort of relation with those objects?

SarathW
Posts: 9770
Joined: Mon Sep 10, 2012 2:49 am

Re: Dukkha as a property of the objects.

Post by SarathW » Sun Apr 08, 2018 12:09 am

if dukkha is a property of the objects in themselves
Buddhism never taught it like this.
Anicca, Dukkha, and Anatta are the signs of Anatta. (Anatta Lakhana)

https://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitak ... .nymo.html
“As the lamp consumes oil, the path realises Nibbana”

User avatar
Polar Bear
Posts: 1158
Joined: Mon Apr 16, 2012 7:39 am
Location: Bear Republic

Re: Dukkha as a property of the objects.

Post by Polar Bear » Sun Apr 08, 2018 12:18 am

The dukkha inherent in the objects is the dukkha in the sense of not ultimately satisfying. Objects can never bring complete satisfaction because they are impermanent and contingent so if you crave and cling to them then you suffer. But if you see with wisdom that these objects are ultimately unsatisfactory and don’t crave for them or cling, then you won’t suffer on their account. So dukkha is not just a feeling. There are different senses of the term.

See Dukkha Sutta

:anjali:
"I don't envision a single thing that, when developed & cultivated, leads to such great benefit as the mind. The mind, when developed & cultivated, leads to great benefit."

"I don't envision a single thing that, when undeveloped & uncultivated, brings about such suffering & stress as the mind. The mind, when undeveloped & uncultivated, brings about suffering & stress."

User avatar
bodom
Posts: 6240
Joined: Fri Jan 09, 2009 6:18 pm
Location: San Antonio, Texas

Re: Dukkha as a property of the objects.

Post by bodom » Sun Apr 08, 2018 12:43 am

Objects are only suffering when you attach to them.

:namaste:
To study is to know the texts,
To practice is to know your defilements,
To attain the goal is to know and let go.

- Ajahn Lee Dhammadharo


With no struggling, no thinking,
the mind, still,
will see cause and effect
vanishing in the Void.
Attached to nothing, letting go:
Know that this is the way
to allay all stress.

- Upasika Kee Nanayan

paul
Posts: 1182
Joined: Tue May 31, 2011 11:27 pm
Location: Vietnam

Re: Dukkha as a property of the objects.

Post by paul » Sun Apr 08, 2018 12:49 am

277. "All conditioned things are impermanent" — when one sees this with wisdom, one turns away from suffering. This is the path to purification.
278. "All conditioned things are unsatisfactory" — when one sees this with wisdom, one turns away from suffering. This is the path to purification.
279. "All things are not-self" — when one sees this with wisdom, one turns away from suffering. This is the path to purification.

277. It’s a personally observable fact that all conditioned things, both corporeal and mental go through a lifecycle of origination, growth, maturity, decline and death. It’s more easily observable in natural materiality such as plants and bodies, and the dissolution phase should be the subject of contemplation, to counter the current of samsara which aggrandises the ‘growth’ phase of the cycle, driven by craving.
In most sutta texts, dukkha and anatta are the result of anicca. In the Discourse on the Non-self Characteristic, SN 22.59, the Buddha argues impermanence as the logical cause for suffering and non-self:

"Bhikkhus, how do you conceive it: is form permanent or impermanent?" — "Impermanent, venerable Sir." — "Now is what is impermanent painful or pleasant?" — "Painful, venerable Sir." — "Now is what is impermanent, what is painful since subject to change, fit to be regarded thus: 'This is mine, this is I, this is my self'"? — "No, venerable sir.”

So impermanence should be the focus of contemplation. The Buddha’s instruction is followed in practice by the eight insight knowledges, which begin with knowledge consisting in contemplation of rise and fall, followed by knowledge in contemplation of dissolution.

“This comprehension of an object noticed, as being impermanent, painful, and without a self (impersonal), through knowing its nature of impermanency, etc., by means of simply noticing, without reflecting and reasoning, is called "knowledge by comprehension through direct experience."
Having thus seen the three characteristics once or several times by direct experience, the meditator, by inference from the direct experience of those objects noticed, comprehends all bodily and mental processes of the past, present, and future, and the whole world, by coming to the conclusion: "They, too, are in the same way impermanent, painful, and without a self." This is called "knowledge of comprehension by inference.”—-“The Progress of Insight”, Mahasi Sayadaw.

"Continuity in developing awareness of impermanence is essential if it is really to affect one’s mental condition. Sustained contemplation of impermanence leads to a shift in one’s normal way of experiencing reality, which hitherto tacitly assumed the temporal stability of the perceiver and the perceived objects. Once both are experienced as changing processes, all notions of stable existence and substantiality vanish, thereby radically reshaping one’s paradigm of experience."---"Satipatthana," Analayo.

User avatar
DooDoot
Posts: 2499
Joined: Tue Aug 08, 2017 11:06 pm

Re: Dukkha as a property of the objects.

Post by DooDoot » Sun Apr 08, 2018 4:27 am

Miguel wrote:
Sat Apr 07, 2018 11:53 pm
dukkha is a property of the objects in themselves
Yes, it appears this way. It appears the Buddha taught like this, namely, dukkha is a property of the objects in themselves.
SarathW wrote:
Sun Apr 08, 2018 12:09 am
Buddhism never taught it like this. Anicca, Dukkha, and Anatta are the signs of Anatta. (Anatta Lakhana)
There are many suttas (e.g. SN 22.12; SN 22.13; SN 22.19) which only describe annica & dukkha therefore annica & dukkha do not necessarily appear to be the signs of anatta. Example:
At Savatthi. “Bhikkhus, form is dukkhaṃ. The cause and condition for the arising of form is also dukkho. As form has originated from what is dukkha, how could it be sukhaṃ?

“Feeling is dukkhā…. Perception is dukkhā…. formations are dukkhā…. Consciousness is dukkhā. The cause and condition for the arising of consciousness is also dukkho. As consciousness has originated from what is dukkha, how could it be sukhaṃ?

SN 22.19 https://suttacentral.net/sn22.19/en/bodhi
:candle:
Miguel wrote:
Sat Apr 07, 2018 11:53 pm
how could we ever attain release in this life?
'Dukkha' here does not necessarily mean 'suffering'. It means 'cannot bring true happiness'. For example:
“Here, Ānanda, a bhikkhu understands: ‘It is impossible, it cannot happen that a person possessing right view could treat any formation as permanent ― there is no such possibility.’ And he understands: ‘It is possible that an ordinary person might treat some formation as permanent ― there is such a possibility.’ He understands: ‘It is impossible, it cannot happen that a person possessing right view could treat any formation as pleasurable (sukhato) ― there is no such possibility.’ And he understands: ‘It is possible that an ordinary person might treat some formation as pleasurable ― there is such a possibility.’ He understands: ‘It is impossible, it cannot happen that a person possessing right view could treat anything as self ― there is no such possibility.’ And he understands: ‘It is possible that an ordinary person might treat something as self ― there is such a possibility.’

MN 115 http://www.yellowrobe.com/component/con ... ments.html
:candle:
Miguel wrote:
Sat Apr 07, 2018 11:53 pm
But if dukkha, being a feeling, is present in the objects themselves, how could an arhat stop suffering as long as he is living in this world and so is in some sort of relation with those objects?
Dukkha here cannot refer to a feeling. Dukkha here appears to mean conditioned impermanent things cannot bring lasting true happiness; they are inherently "unsatisfactory". Although the Pali here does not literally translate as "unsatisfactory", many translators use "unsatisfactory".
277. "All conditioned things are impermanent" — when one sees this with wisdom, one turns away from suffering. This is the path to purification.

278. "All conditioned things are unsatisfactory" — when one sees this with wisdom, one turns away from suffering. This is the path to purification.

279. "All things are not-self" — when one sees this with wisdom, one turns away from suffering. This is the path to purification.

translated from the Pali by
Acharya Buddharakkhita

https://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitak ... .budd.html
It is clear in the teaching that 'dukkhaṃ' here is the opposite to 'happiness (sukhaṃ)'.
"What do you think of this, O monks? Is form permanent or impermanent?"

"Impermanent, O Lord."

"Now, that which is impermanent, is it unsatisfactory or satisfactory (dukkhaṃ vā taṃ sukhaṃ vā)?"

"Unsatisfactory, O Lord."

"Now, that which is impermanent, unsatisfactory, subject to change, is it proper to regard that as: 'This is mine, this I am, this is my self'?"

"Indeed, not that, O Lord."

translated from the Pali by
N.K.G. Mendis

https://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitak ... .mend.html
Again, while the following translation may not be correct, the meaning is as follows:
"What do you think of this, O monks? Is form permanent or impermanent?"

"Impermanent, O Lord."

"Now, that which is impermanent, can it bring happiness or will it bring suffering [if relied upon as a refuge]?"

"Suffering, O Lord."

"Now, that which is impermanent, brings suffering, subject to change, is it proper to regard that as: 'This is mine, this I am, this is my self'?"

"Indeed, not that, O Lord."
:candle:
Polar Bear wrote:
Sun Apr 08, 2018 12:18 am
The dukkha inherent in the objects is the dukkha in the sense of not ultimately satisfying. [Conditioned] Objects can never bring complete satisfaction because they are impermanent.... But if you see with wisdom that these objects are ultimately unsatisfactory... [you won't] crave for them or cling, then you won’t suffer on their account. So dukkha is not just a feeling. There are different senses of the term.

See Dukkha Sutta
:anjali:
bodom wrote:
Sun Apr 08, 2018 12:43 am
Objects are only suffering when you attach to them.
Suffering seems to be an emotional mental state therefore I doubt objects can be suffering, even when the mind attaches to them. It is the mind that appears to suffer rather than the object. If my computer breaks down, how can the computer be suffering?
Last edited by DooDoot on Sun Apr 08, 2018 5:02 am, edited 2 times in total.

User avatar
Miguel
Posts: 43
Joined: Sun Sep 18, 2016 4:22 am
Location: Valencia, Venezuela.

Re: Dukkha as a property of the objects.

Post by Miguel » Sun Apr 08, 2018 4:59 am

Thanks for your replies, folks. I understand that anicca and thus anatta are certain marks of every object, and how these properties in turn cause dukkha. What I find hard to comprehend is the term 'mark' when applied equally to all three things, since two can remain without causing suffering when a human attains arahanthood but the third must forcefully go away. If dukkha is in the object (or in a necessary frame through which an object presents itself to the observer), how can a person be free of suffering (be it the stressfulness of pain, the stressfulness of fabrication, or the stressfulness of change) if he is still in contact with the objects, who are necessarily marked by dukkha? (Clearly to say that 'anicca is a property of the objects in themselves' is contradictory, given that there is no 'in themselves', but I struggle to find a better expression).

There must be something that I'm not seeing well. Perhaps is, as some suttas and some of you seem to suggest, that the only 'true' mark is anicca, from which the rest are derived in a chain that can be broken in the transit from anatta to dukkha?

User avatar
Miguel
Posts: 43
Joined: Sun Sep 18, 2016 4:22 am
Location: Valencia, Venezuela.

Re: Dukkha as a property of the objects.

Post by Miguel » Sun Apr 08, 2018 5:02 am

Yes, yes, DootDoot! Now I see! That was exactly what I was doubtful about: how can an emotion be in the object itself? Many thanks to you all, since some of you had also explained it before. Please, ignore my previous post; now I understand.

User avatar
DooDoot
Posts: 2499
Joined: Tue Aug 08, 2017 11:06 pm

Re: Dukkha as a property of the objects.

Post by DooDoot » Sun Apr 08, 2018 5:07 am

The conditioned object cannot bring happiness. For example, if you buy a Rolls Royce motor car & have $1 billion in cash and spend the rest of your life in the Rolls Royce motor car touching the money, the car & the money won't make you happy. The car & the money are dukkha.

boundless
Posts: 72
Joined: Sun Feb 04, 2018 4:16 pm

Re: Dukkha as a property of the objects.

Post by boundless » Wed Apr 18, 2018 9:52 am

Greetings all,

What follows is my understanding.

Personally, I do not think that the cessation of attachment implies the cessation of dukkha. First of all, even “liberated beings” still suffer from unpleasant feelings. But most importantly some suttas suggest that the “complete liberation from dukkha” is at “Nibbana without remainder” (Pali: anupadisesa nibbana). The first sutta is MN 141:
"Now what, friends, is the noble truth of stress? Birth is stressful, aging is stressful, death is stressful; sorrow, lamentation, pain, distress, & despair are stressful; not getting what is wanted is stressful.[2] In short, the five clinging-aggregates are stressful.”
"And what is birth? Whatever birth, taking birth, descent, coming-to-be, coming-forth, appear-ance of aggregates, & acquisition of [sense] spheres of the various beings in this or that group of be-ings, that is called birth.
"And what is aging? Whatever aging, decrepitude, brokenness, graying, wrinkling, decline of life-force, weakening of the faculties of the various beings in this or that group of beings, that is called aging.
"And what is death? Whatever deceasing, passing away, breaking up, disappearance, dying, death, completion of time, break up of the aggregates, casting off of the body, interruption in the life faculty of the various beings in this or that group of beings, that is called death.

"And what is pain? Whatever is experienced as bodily pain, bodily discomfort, pain or discom-fort born of bodily contact, that is called pain.
"And what is distress? Whatever is experienced as mental pain, mental discomfort, pain or dis-comfort born of mental contact, that is called distress.
(Ven. Thanissaro transl. italics in the text, bold-emphasis mine)

I think that a person without attachment is free from “distress”, “sorrow”, suffering due to “not getting what is wanted” etc it appears there is still a residue of dukkha, which is inevitable even for a Buddha, I think.
Also SN 36:11
"Well spoken, monk, well spoken! While three feelings have been taught by me, the pleasant, the painful and the neutral, yet I have also said that whatever is felt is within suffering. This, however, was stated by me with reference to the impermanence of (all) conditioned phenomena.[1] I have said it because conditioned phenomena are liable to destruction, to evanescence, to fading away, to cessation and to change. It is with reference to this that I have stated: 'Whatever is felt is within suffering.'
(Ven. Nyanaponika transl. italics mine)
“Whatever is felt is within suffering”… Here it seems that all feelings are regarded as “dukkha“ in a subtle manner due to their impermanent and changeable nature. Dukkha is present in all conditioned states because they cannot lead to satisfaction. In fact even pleasant feelings are in a subtle way dukkha for their changeable and unreliable nature. Interestingly according to, one of my favourite suttas, AN 4:45 :
"I tell you, friend, that it is not possible by traveling to know or see or reach a far end of the cosmos where one does not take birth, age, die, pass away, or reappear. But at the same time, I tell you that there is no making an end of suffering & stress without reaching the end of the cosmos. Yet it is just within this fathom-long body, with its perception & intellect, that I declare that there is the cosmos, the origination of the cosmos, the cessation of the cosmos, and the path of practice leading to the cessation of the cosmos."
It's not to be reached by traveling, the end of the cosmos — regardless. And it's not without reach-ing the end of the cosmos that there is release from suffering & stress. So, truly, the wise one, an expert with regard to the cosmos, a knower of the end of the cosmos, having fulfilled the holy life, calmed, knowing the cosmos' end, doesn't long for this cosmos or for any other.

Where the (useful) meaning of world/cosmos seems to be explained at SN 12:44 . To sum up, it seems that while the total cessation of craving and clinging removes most of suffering in the present life and removes the possibility of future arising of suffering, in fact some residual amount of it is inevitable due to the very nature of “conditioned experience”. The complete cessation of suffering is achieved at “nibbana without remainder”. If “whatever is felt is within suffering” then only cessation of feelings is not suffering. In fact, in AN 9:34 :
I have heard that on one occasion Ven. Sariputta was staying near Rajagaha in the Bamboo Grove, the Squirrels' Feeding Sanctuary. There he said to the monks, "This Unbinding is pleasant, friends. This Unbinding is pleasant."
When this was said, Ven. Udayin said to Ven. Sariputta, "But what is the pleasure here, my friend, where there is nothing felt?"
"Just that is the pleasure here, my friend: where there is nothing felt…
So in this sense, It seems that the fact that feelings undergo change is a cause of a subtle kind of "suffering". Hence "dukkha" is a property of all conditioned experience (rather than of "objects") IMO. A subtle kind of "dukkha" cannot be avoided because it is inevitable due to the changing nature of conditioned experience.

Does my understanding make sense?

Thank you in advance.

:anjali:

Post Reply

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: Baidu [Spider] and 94 guests