using the arrow buttons.
by clicking on the page.
the page around when zoomed in by dragging it.
the zoom using the slider when zoomed-in.
by clicking on the zoomed-in page.
by entering text in the search field, and select "This Issue" or "All Issues"
by clicking on thumbnails to select pages, and then press the print button.
displays sections with thumbnails and descriptions.
displays a slider of thumbnails. Click on a page to jump.
allows you to browse the full archive.
about your subscription?
Lions Roar : May 2008
SHAMBHALA SUN MAY 2008 44 comes to a full understanding of dukkha, and how to work with it, can be called noble. Such nobility arises not from escaping suffering but rather from having fully understood the truth of suffering. We first accept the reality of suffering in all its forms—we stop denying it. Then we can come to appreciate what might be called the “redemptive” quality of suffering, for want of a better word. We do not aspire to attain enlightenment in spite of suffering. We work to attain enlightenment because of suffering. There is so much we can learn from the experience of dukkha, which describes the full gamut of cyclic conditioned existence, the wheel of samsara caused by our habitual clinging. It might seem like bad news to hear that life is permeated with suffering, but just because we experience dissatisfaction or pain, or that our pleasures do not last, or that our precious dreams turn into night- mares, does not mean that our life is rendered meaningless. As long as we are caught up or enmeshed in samsaric states, holding on to a fixed version of reality, we experience many forms of suffering. But we do not need to. They are avoidable. Buddhism teaches us that if we cultivate the right attitude and are able to look simply into ourselves and our perspectives, predilections, and habit patterns, we can reduce and ultimately eliminate the avoidable forms of suffering. Of course, there are other forms of suffering that we cannot avoid until we attain complete enlightenment, or buddhahood. The sufferings we inflict on ourselves due to our undisciplined mind are avoidable, but other forms of suffering, such as old age, sickness, and death, are unavoidable. Once we have accepted that we are subject to forms of dukkha that can be avoided, there are two parts to the solution: looking at the causes of dukkha and finding the means of reducing or stopping it. When we look into the causes of dukkha, we do not simply search for the source of palpable, tangible suffering. We also must look closely at the mental states, habits, and attitudes that produce what we consider to be our moments of joy, hap- piness, or satisfaction. One of the profound insights offered by Buddhism is that we cannot rely on our own immediate experi- ences to tell us whether we are experiencing well-being or mis- ery. Just because on the surface we feel we are happy or satisfied, or just because everything seems to lead to doom and gloom, these impressions may not necessarily reflect the true state of affairs. We need to look deeper. We may discover, as the Buddha tells us, that the lack of sub- stantiality or permanence in all that surrounds us gives rise to unhappiness and pain. This does not mean, however, that the experience of impermanence or non-substantiality is itself suffer- ing or the direct cause of suffering. We misconstrue the Buddha’s message if we think it is the fact that all things are impermanent or non-substantial or without a solid self that generates suffering. These basic facts are not the truth of the origin of suffering. Dukkha is produced not by things themselves or by their insubstantial nature. Rather, our mind has been conditioned by ignorance into thinking that eternal happiness can be ob- tained through things that are ephemeral and transient. That is why we are instructed to seek enlightenment or attain nir- vana. We are asked to settle our mind on that which is un- changing. Settling the mind on the unchanging has a calming effect on the mind generally, but it also leads to a state that allows us to relate to what is transient and ephemeral with a mental attitude born of a more enlightened view, one that does not seek permanent joy and happiness from things that are impermanent and non-substantial in nature. In so doing, you can transform yourself into a noble being. Without the truth of suffering and the truth of the cause of suffering, there would be no truth of cessation, nor would there be the truth of the path. Far from highlighting the negative fea- tures of human existence, Buddhism presents a very complete picture of the human condition. It sheds light on both the perils MAY 42-49.indd 44 MAY 42-49.indd 44 3/6/08 11:29:13 AM 3/6/08 11:29:13 AM