Thursday, July 9, 2009


I’ve recently come across the word Dukkha in my search for something and it’s left me feeling a bit scattered lately. They say the well know Buddhist quote “Life is suffering.” Is actually a poor translation of what should be “Life is Dukkha.” And like many of my favorite French expressions there is no direct translation for this word. I’ve been sitting here trying to think of a way to explain this concept that hit me so hard. Dukkha is suffering, Dukkha is pleasure, Dukkha is the transient nature of all things. That’s just a start. Dukkha is what Mugison would refer to as “The Great Unrest”, it is everything and anything we become attached too (Asantosha) or grasp for (Parigraha). Dukkha is the person who has everything but still wants. The child who can’t wait to grow up and the adult who wishes they were young again. It is everything. And that is why Buddha said “Life is Dukkha.”

The part that really rocked me is trying to conceive all things as transient, my desk, the ground, my thoughts, my beliefs. All of them can come and go and the true cause of suffering for all humans is not that everything moves in and out of existence, only that we perceive these things as ours and try to hold them and push them into ourselves as part of who we are.

I read at one point that humans are mistaken to picture all humans as bricks held together with mortar. With spaces between us and the ability to pull out just one brick and hold it. The truth is human and all things in existence are waves of a greater ocean. Waves come into existence and then recede back into the ocean that they never ceased to be of. And no one can ever hold a wave, no matter how hard they try.
(What a comical image that is too- to picture humans running around the ocean trying to catch waves in their arms, only to come up with a mouth full of salt water. No wonder we’re sputtering all over the place.)

And still all this does not perfectly describe what I’m trying to get my brain to conceive and maybe it’s not something for my brain to hold, and it is only grasping when it tries.

Links to what I read…

Dukkha- This one messed me up...
Dukkha- This one is friendlier...