Buddhism's  Message  to  You   -  No. 8


This is the way in which the Buddhists are primarily called upon to view the world, that all conditioned things of the world are subject to the law of change [sabbasankhâresu aniccânupassî S.N. V.345]. Only the state of Nibbâna, which is a Buddhist's final aspiration, lies beyond and outside this law of change. It is the invariability of this law of change on the one hand, and the inability of the mundane human mind to grasp it as such on the other, which bring about the genesis of dukkha or unsatisfactoriness in life. The things we choose to possess and the things we choose to reject, both do not stay where we command or expect them to be. It is this slow adaptibility of the human mind to cope with the fleeting nature of the world, and its own lack of reconciliation to this change which underlie the genesis of dukkha. Thus dukkha comes in the wake of the invariable law of change or anicca [ anicce dukkha-saññî   ibid.]. And this among many others [ cha vijjâ-bhâgiya-dhamma ibid.], we are told, a Buddhist has to know and fully comprehend for his deliverance from samsâra or the painful process of recurrent existence. It is part of the essential wisdom which one has to cultivate and acquire.

Thus it should become clear that in Buddhism this idea of dukkha, whether one translates it as unsatisfactoriness, pain, suffering or ill, it is not, all the same, something which stands in the world in isolation, all by itself. It does not exist in the world, apart from the human as the expieriencer. It is indeed part of human life. Dukkha exists within man's own existence. It is the product of his invariably maladjusted living. For man to be at ease and at peace, and to find everything in life to be satisfactory [santam panîtam], he must get a perfect docking-in-space with himself and the world he lives in. He must fully comprehend three things in logical succession [See M.N.1.232 f.] which are referred to as the life's way or the three characteristics of life or ti-lakkhana. They are 1. the fleeting and transitory nature of all things in the world [ anicca ], 2. the invariability of human dissatisfaction in the face of this change [ dukkha ] and 3. the consequent reality that nothing in human life has mastery over itself [ anatta ]. Viewing life from that angle [ tilakkhanam ropetvâ vaddheti ] is a must for every Buddhist, for his moral and spiritual growth.

For you to dwell upon

008. An evil-doer grieves both here in this world and in the life after. Seeing the evil of his deeds done, he grieves and bemoans. He who has done what is wholesome rejoices in both worlds, here and hereafter. He rejoices immensely, seeing the goodness of his deeds done. [ Dhammapada vv. 15 & 16 ].