In case you missed the first two parts of the 3 Characteristics of Existence, Anatta and Anicca. these three pieces come together to explain the larger picture that the Buddha’s teaching was meant to address. So let’s dive in to some Dukhata.
Dukhata or Dukkha is the inherent principle of suck that life possesses.
When asked what exactly Dukkha was he said, “To be separated from the pleasant, or united with the unpleasant, that is Dukkha.” Dukkha exists at all levels. Even those movie stars and pop stars that are idolized know their fair share of Dukkha.
We think things like “If I were rich, I would run the world,” when in fact as Biggie said it best: “Mo’ money, mo’ problems!” I know, I know, the rich have problems and sometimes they seem to be good problems to have. Look at all the people who sky-rocket to fame and fortune, only lose it all over night. There is a reason they call it the “Lottery Curse.” Once wealth, power, or, stature is gained, the likelihood of losing everything is more possible than increasing or maintaining it. So to many, victory—or gaining many possessions—leaves a great many things to worry about. Protecting these gains can become a real problem, one that many of us don’t know anything about.
Let’s expand on our view of Dukkha and examine further the span that seems to have.
In average everyday life we seem to find ourselves suffering some sense of lack, constantly in fact. Some of us desire things so badly that getting the object of desire isn’t close to the satisfaction of the release of the feeling of want we have been enduring. Yes you read that… we want to stop wanting. That’s it! We want to stop the ride and get off.
The release from desire is that positive feeling we get when we get that hot new phone, that sweet zafu, or, really anything we could ever desire. To draw another parallel to a fire, when we add a big ol’ log to a campfire, what happens? The fire seems to go down a little at first. and then that thing goes wide open! We are similarly inclined.
We want something so bad it hurts, we get the thing or circumstance, then the desire subsides a little. We get those warm and fuzzy feelings you might even say to your self, “I am happy now.” But in due time the thirst for something else comes along and POW! All of a sudden that iPhone isn’t as cool as the new plus…or that older laptop only has a 1 TB drive not 1.4, and, so on, you get the idea. Well what the hell do we do about it?
So in breaking down how we can remedy this let’s ponder the why. Why do we do this?
Some of it has to do with ad campaigns, social media and the generic one-up game we are all caught in. Also ways to pass the buck on this could be blaming upbringing, family members, society, blah blah blah. Let’s get to the core of things—it’s us. Me, you, us, this desirous nature; we all have it. It’s time to burst the bubble. The change, that we’re after at least, happens when we can look objectively at ourselves.
As trite as it may sound, it really is about freeing our minds, changing our feelings (in the Buddhist sense good, bad or, neutral), altering our perceptions (the mental labels we’ve added to arbitrary things), and finally, changing our mental formations (where we formulate our plans and actions and start creating karmas). Meditation is a gold standard on fixing this problem. It’s one we have spent a lifetime, and depending on your particular beliefs, lifetimes building.
When we meditate we can begin to create an objective mindset and grow into the perfect remedy for this rat race in which we have found ourselves.
J. Martin is a a 32 year old father of three and has been married for 13 years. He was a mechanic for 15 years, then his true calling found him and he became a firefighter. He has been a practicing Buddhist for nine years, including two years of meditation class at the Theravada temple near his home. His teacher moved on and before he did he told him, “Remember, I don’t teach students, I teach teachers. So do something with what you’ve learned.” So J. went to do what he could to further the meditative arts. Check out his blog, The Unusual Buddha.
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