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DUKKHA: The Wobbly Wheel


Pain and suffering exist. What is pain? It is a sensory overload. Are pain and suffering the same. Yeah-but, suffering is usually the time dimension with severity being the intensity, a scale of 1-10 is often used gauge this phenomenon. Long suffering can affect all sense forms and feelings-eye, ears, nose, skin, tongue, brain and therefore sight, sound, smell, touch, taste and thought. In Buddhism the physical dimensions of pain and suffering are usually birth, sickness, old age, and death. While we know today that pain is nerve based, it also has amplitude adjustment through the thoughts of the mind. MindBody does not have a permanent border-line. In addition to pain we experience discomfort from delusion and impermanence, almost as a background of dis-ease/uneasiness.

In the unfolding of awareness we have feeling, perception, formation, and consciousness which, as noted earlier, are subject to the Three Laws in Buddha’s Teaching: Impermanence, Interdependency, and None-Self Abiding. Birth has physical and emotional impact as does sickness, old age and death. Arising is perpetual change of BodyMind. Have you ever said: the mind is willing but the body is not, or my eyes are bigger than my stomach, bit off more than I can chew, something smells fishy, this doesn’t taste (or sound) quite right, I’m all thumps. These peeks into impermanence catch-us holding on to the waining moment or posturing for the future. These are hiccups of “Inconvenience.” Interdependency can effect this “Inconvenience” to such an extent that multiple streaming conditions exacerbate the severity of uneasiness.

Dukkha is a by-product of desiring a certain moment to arise and it does not, not wanting a moment to arise and it does, clinging to the moment, and or denying the moment. The Buddha taught that Dukkha is a manifestation of being alive. And yet it is a Dharma Gate to the other shore-Sukkha. Dukkha-Sukkha is the experience of being. In Zen we say we take a backward facing step as conditions present themselves. So, Dukkha is like a wobbly wheel throwing us off track. The Idea of “track” is IT will always be so-IT once attained will not change. We then are constantly (moment by moment) experiencing being thrown-off “The Straight and Narrow.” It is delusional that life is either straight or narrow and all have to do is just need to find the right something that eliminates our sense of suffering.

The meaning of life is to come to our own understanding of LIFE. And, act in ways that recognize then understand the interconnectedness of Dukkha/Sukkha. This is a broader path undulating the twists and turns of conditions and variables in we both contribute and receive opportunities for acting and interacting More improvisation than rote, we live the arising moment as we help it unfold. This is Zen. D.T.Suzuki in his seminal book, An Introduction to Zen Buddhism put it this way…Unless we agree to suffer we cannot be free of sufferings…


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