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All suffering is caused by craving?

The second noble truth says that suffering is caused by craving. Did the Buddha teach that all suffering is due to craving, or just much of it? I can think of much suffering that is not caused by craving, such as the pain of cancer, anguish of mental diseases such as schizophrenia, etc.

Comments

  • zenmystezenmyste Veteran
    edited October 2013
    Its important to realize that Buddhism is all about mental suffering!

    Buddhism is not about 'physical suffering!

    Therefore, the 2nd truth is correct, all mental suffering comes from 'craving', (wanting what we cannot have etc etc)
  • What about the mental suffering of schizophrenia, clinical depression (sometimes caused by chemical imbalance), or PTSD? Those are not caused by desire or craving.
  • The suffering caused by tanha is the suffering that can be ceased by the cessation of tanha.
  • The sense of unease, discomfort, disquiet, dissatisfaction is caused by a chicken, snake and pigee aka the three stooges eh . . . three poisons
  • zenmystezenmyste Veteran
    edited October 2013
    Tealeaf said:

    What about the mental suffering of schizophrenia, clinical depression (sometimes caused by chemical imbalance), or PTSD? Those are not caused by desire or craving.

    You are talking about different things here;
    Someone could have schizophrenia but still be 'happy' .. In fact, one of my clients are and he takes his med and hes 'accepted' his life and fate and hes happy..

    As for depression; people are only depressed because they are not letting go of something 'somewhere', if they could find the source of their depression, then ACCEPT whats happened etc.. Then they wouldnt suffer..

    So agin, what you are talking about comes back to the ones who have these illness and are suffering physically.. but if they knew the secrets of the noble truths, acceptance and the tao, then they wouldnt mentally suffer!

    I repeat, we cannot do anything about what hurts us physically, only what hurts us mentally!

  • Tealeaf said:

    What about the mental suffering of schizophrenia, clinical depression (sometimes caused by chemical imbalance), or PTSD? Those are not caused by desire or craving.

    Also, i want to point out What you are asking is a valid point and i used to ask the same questions. And this is way i have never liked the 8 fold path very much because it states that the 8 fold path is the way to enlightenment. But what about people who have an imbalance which causes depression???

    The real path is.... acceptance
    Plain and simple.

    Acceptance is the key to serenity.

  • SabreSabre Veteran
    edited October 2013
    Hi,

    Yes, all suffering is caused by craving and the path is to eliminate all suffering. It also includes bodily suffering:
    Bhikkhus, there are these three kinds of suffering. What three? Suffering due to pain, suffering due to formations, suffering due to change. These are the three kinds of suffering. The Noble Eightfold Path is to be developed for direct knowledge of these three kinds of suffering, for the full understanding of them, for their utter destruction, for their abandoning.”
    http://suttacentral.net/sn45.165/en/

    "And what is pain? Whatever is experienced as bodily pain, bodily discomfort, pain or discomfort born of bodily contact, that is called pain.
    http://www.accesstoinsight.org/ptf/dhamma/sacca/sacca1/dukkha.html
    But sometimes the link is more directly visible than at other times. The suffering of losing what we love is quite obvious, but the link from craving to bodily pains as you mentioned, for example, is much harder to understand. To explain this, the Buddha formulated dependent origination. It's a deep teaching, but for this thread I'll just give a very short version: It describes how from not understanding reality (delusion), we start to crave. And due to this craving, we are reborn and so we get this body that is susceptible to pains. So, if we stop craving, we end this process of being born again and again, and suffering will be ended.

    With metta!
  • At the end of the day, all mental suffering comes from craving.. yes, this is true!!
  • zenmyste said:

    At the end of the day, all mental suffering comes from craving.. yes, this is true!!

    That's true, but all bodily suffering also comes from craving and is also included in the noble truths.

    how
  • Sabre said:

    zenmyste said:

    At the end of the day, all mental suffering comes from craving.. yes, this is true!!

    That's true, but all bodily suffering also comes from craving and is also included in the noble truths.

    If buddha fell over and landed on a sharp object that slit his throat, i would put money on it that he would be in abit of pain.....

    Now he would probably remain calm, and wouldnt be scared of dying... (Because thats mental)

    But his body would be in pain, no doubt about it for me.. !
  • CinorjerCinorjer Veteran
    edited October 2013
    For a strict literalist or fundamentalist or traditionalist or whatever label you want to place on it, yes physical pain, disease, and mental illness caused by brain imbalance are indeed caused by selfish desires. It's just that some causes are more direct than others. Just being born is a result of selfish desires in a previous life and all physical suffering including getting old and dying is a result of being born, in the end. On top of that, the pain and genetic deformity you might be born with this lifetime was caused by past decisions in that other life. That's inherited suffering. @Sabre is entirely correct and we do Buddhism a disservice by pretending it says something different. Warts don't go away by ignoring them.

    First let's address mental illness. Buddha and the arahants who expanded the dharma had no idea physical problems with the chemistry of the brain could cause mental illness beyond the person's ability to handle. Even if they did have an idea about this there was nothing they could do about it. So today we put mental illness in the physical pain category while they would have said the behavior was caused by karma and waved their hands around like it proved something.

    But that leaves physical pain. So how can following the 8-fold path lead to elimination of physical pain in our lives? Aren't we going to eventually catch some disease, or accidentally kick the bedpost and break our toe? Don't enlightened people feel pain? Of course they do. But supposedly through meditation enlightened people can rise above the pain.

    However, this is only a surface understanding of the Noble Truths. Dukkha is a strange word and a strange concept that opens as you contemplate the totality of our existence. Because, in the end, all suffering is mental. The pain we suffer from is necessary. People who have damaged brains and don't feel pain suffer even more from lives spent in fear of not knowing something is wrong with their body. Some people even want pain, and we call them masochists and giggle at the thought of being handed a paddle and told they've been a bad boy. So pain is not the issue.

    So the Noble Truths contain a deeper truth than a simple "Life sucks and dukkha means pain so if you attain an elevated mental state called enlightenment you don't catch cancer and die in agony." If all suffering is mental, then the remedy is mental.

  • seeker242seeker242 Zen Florida, USA Veteran
    zenmyste said:

    Sabre said:

    zenmyste said:

    At the end of the day, all mental suffering comes from craving.. yes, this is true!!

    That's true, but all bodily suffering also comes from craving and is also included in the noble truths.

    If buddha fell over and landed on a sharp object that slit his throat, i would put money on it that he would be in abit of pain.....

    Now he would probably remain calm, and wouldnt be scared of dying... (Because thats mental)

    But his body would be in pain, no doubt about it for me.. !
    The implication of the full realization of Anatta means that you no longer have any bodily pain because you no longer even have a body. But that does not mean there would not be pain if the body would get cancer, etc.

  • SabreSabre Veteran
    edited October 2013
    zenmyste said:

    Sabre said:

    zenmyste said:

    At the end of the day, all mental suffering comes from craving.. yes, this is true!!

    That's true, but all bodily suffering also comes from craving and is also included in the noble truths.

    If buddha fell over and landed on a sharp object that slit his throat, i would put money on it that he would be in abit of pain.....

    Now he would probably remain calm, and wouldnt be scared of dying... (Because thats mental)

    But his body would be in pain, no doubt about it for me.. !
    And the Buddha did have pains, he did get sick and he did die. So we can conclude the Buddha still suffered, but only bodily, not mentally.

    Bhikkhus, when the uninstructed worldling is being contacted by a painful feeling, he sorrows, grieves, and laments; he weeps beating his breast and becomes distraught. He feels two feelings—a bodily one and a mental one. Suppose they were to strike a man with a dart, and then they would strike him immediately afterwards with a second dart, so that the man would feel a feeling caused by two darts. So too, when the uninstructed worldling is being contacted by a painful feeling ... he feels two feelings—a bodily one and a mental one.

    ...

    Bhikkhus, when the instructed noble disciple is contacted by a painful feeling, he does not sorrow, grieve, or lament; he does not weep beating his breast and become distraught. He feels one feeling—a bodily one, not a mental one. Suppose they were to strike a man with a dart, but they would not strike him immediately afterwards with a second dart, so that the man would feel a feeling caused by one dart only. So too, when the instructed noble disciple is contacted by a painful feeling ... he feels one feeling—a bodily one, not a mental one.

    http://suttacentral.net/sn36.6/en/

    The point is however, that the bodily suffering will also end after the death of the buddha. His last karmic result (the body) is then also ended. And because he eliminated all desires, he isn't reborn into a new one.
  • seeker242 said:

    zenmyste said:

    Sabre said:

    zenmyste said:

    At the end of the day, all mental suffering comes from craving.. yes, this is true!!

    That's true, but all bodily suffering also comes from craving and is also included in the noble truths.

    If buddha fell over and landed on a sharp object that slit his throat, i would put money on it that he would be in abit of pain.....

    Now he would probably remain calm, and wouldnt be scared of dying... (Because thats mental)

    But his body would be in pain, no doubt about it for me.. !
    The implication of the full realization of Anatta means that you no longer have any bodily pain because you no longer even have a body. But that does not mean there would not be pain if the body would get cancer, etc.

    Slight contradiction here!

    You say; the full realization of anatta means no pain because you no longer have body...

    Then you say; but that does not mean there would not be pain if the body got cancer etc..

    So which is it???

  • vinlynvinlyn Colorado...for now Veteran
    zenmyste said:

    Its important to realize that Buddhism is all about mental suffering!

    Buddhism is not about 'physical suffering!

    Therefore, the 2nd truth is correct, all mental suffering comes from 'craving', (wanting what we cannot have etc etc)

    Yes, but a great deal of mental suffering is caused by physical suffering, so I'm not sure it's all so distinct.

  • vinlyn said:

    zenmyste said:

    Its important to realize that Buddhism is all about mental suffering!

    Buddhism is not about 'physical suffering!

    Therefore, the 2nd truth is correct, all mental suffering comes from 'craving', (wanting what we cannot have etc etc)

    Yes, but a great deal of mental suffering is caused by physical suffering, so I'm not sure it's all so distinct.

    To the average joe maybe....

    But to the man on the path, its becomes clearer..
  • vinlynvinlyn Colorado...for now Veteran
    zenmyste said:

    vinlyn said:

    zenmyste said:

    Its important to realize that Buddhism is all about mental suffering!

    Buddhism is not about 'physical suffering!

    Therefore, the 2nd truth is correct, all mental suffering comes from 'craving', (wanting what we cannot have etc etc)

    Yes, but a great deal of mental suffering is caused by physical suffering, so I'm not sure it's all so distinct.

    To the average joe maybe....

    But to the man on the path, its becomes clearer..
    That sounds like something that may be being said by a man who has never undergone great physical suffering.

  • EvenThirdEvenThird NYC Veteran
    So.. suffering in my mind/body can only be caused purely by craving?

    This thread confused me a bit. So is the mental/physical suffering I experience due to a hormone imbalance and messed up brain chemistry only suffering because of my aversion to it/craving for it to be otherwise? So if I stopped craving and accepted it for what it was (however someone can embrace and accept debilitating mental illness) I would stop suffering? I know I personalized it a lot, but I guess mental illness in relation to suffering/craving is hard for me to understand, outside of the "previous karma" thing...
  • vinlyn said:

    zenmyste said:

    vinlyn said:

    zenmyste said:

    Its important to realize that Buddhism is all about mental suffering!

    Buddhism is not about 'physical suffering!

    Therefore, the 2nd truth is correct, all mental suffering comes from 'craving', (wanting what we cannot have etc etc)

    Yes, but a great deal of mental suffering is caused by physical suffering, so I'm not sure it's all so distinct.

    To the average joe maybe....

    But to the man on the path, its becomes clearer..
    That sounds like something that may be being said by a man who has never undergone great physical suffering.

    Perhaps, but not in this case.. I have felt both physical and mental suffering!!

    I now realize that i can do nothing about physical pain... But what i can do is something about mental pain!!!

  • vinlynvinlyn Colorado...for now Veteran
    Everyone has undergone both physical and mental suffering.

    But I am talking about life threatening suffering from a physical standpoint. And, while we're at it, I am not sure at all that all mental conditions can be alleviated through Buddhism.
    MaryAnne
  • All suffering is caused by taking things which are not really ours to be ours.
    "Suppose a person were to gather or burn or do as he likes with the grass, twigs, branches, & leaves here in Jeta's Grove. Would the thought occur to you, 'It's us that this person is gathering, burning, or doing with as he likes'?"

    "No, lord. Why is that? Because those things are not our self nor do they pertain to our self."

    http://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitaka/sn/sn35/sn35.101.than.html
  • howhow Veteran
    The connection between Pain (nerve messaging to pay attention to something)
    and suffering ( which is our inability to accept those messages)
    is a common connection but one that meditation reveals as
    optional.
    pegembaraTraveller
  • EvenThirdEvenThird NYC Veteran
    @vinlyn-- I agree, unless Buddhism/buddhist practice is a miracle cure I don't see how it could completely alleviate mental conditions caused by some sort of imbalance (or otherwise, for that matter). Every condition is different however, so who knows. Doesn't seem likely though.
  • No, of course Buddhism isnt a miracle cure.. No one said it was..
    Its just one of a few paths that teach you about mental suffering...

    An example;

    If a surfer broke his leg and no longer could take part in the best surfing competition, he might still feel physical pain in his leg, but if he ACCEPTS this and doesnt 'dwell' on what 'could be' then he wont suffer mentally!

  • *Some* depression is caused and/or intensified by one's own mind - by dwelling in dissatisfaction, unhappiness, jealousy, craving, envy, and other suffering-inducing mindsets.
    This kind of depression and it's suffering can very often be overcome with a positive thinking/mindset overhaul - and Buddhism is one pretty darn good method of overhaul.

    But some depression (clinical /physiologically-based) depression is about hormones, chemical imbalances and actual brain dysfunction. Buddhism doesn't "cure" the root cause of this kind of depression.
    However, Buddhism might help with the acceptance of one's physical/mental issues - like this kind of depression - and enable one to embrace whatever mode of therapy, or medical intervention is needed to help alleviate the suffering this illness can cause.

    vinlynEvenThirdVastmind
  • EvenThirdEvenThird NYC Veteran
    @zenmyste-- I'm not sure that example illuminates anything for me when it comes to mental illness caused by "brain dysfunction" as MaryAnne puts it.

    @MaryAnne-- I agree completely, and am trying to understand that in the context of this thread. At least the clinical/physiologically based mental illness part.
  • All im trying to say is; buddhism is all about mental suffering.. It will not help with physical pain....

    As for cancer pain, etc.. Then no it will not do anything, apart from help you come to terms with it..
  • The mahayana often says suffering is created by ignorance rather than craving!
  • pain is sensitivity for a Buddha.
  • seeker242seeker242 Zen Florida, USA Veteran
    edited October 2013
    zenmyste said:





    Slight contradiction here!

    You say; the full realization of anatta means no pain because you no longer have body...

    Then you say; but that does not mean there would not be pain if the body got cancer etc..

    So which is it???

    It's both! :) It means there is no pain "that is mine". If the pain is not yours then...it's not yours. And if you have no pain that is yours, then you have no pain period. How can you have pain when none of it is yours? You can't by the very definition of the statement "to have" with "have" meaning "to be in possession of, to own or hold". But the Buddha no longer possesses anything, owns anything or holds anything that is of the 5 skandhas.

    But, that doesn't mean the body nerve endings stop sending electrical signals when they are damaged because that obviously continues. So when the Buddha says "I have ended pain" he is obviously not referring to nerve endings not transmitting electrical signals. So if it does not mean that, then what could it mean? The only plausible explanation for the statement "I have ended pain" would be the above in the first paragraph it seems to me. What other explanation could there be other than no more rebirth?

    VastmindJeffrey
  • footiamfootiam Veteran
    edited November 2013
    Tealeaf said:

    The second noble truth says that suffering is caused by craving. Did the Buddha teach that all suffering is due to craving, or just much of it? I can think of much suffering that is not caused by craving, such as the pain of cancer, anguish of mental diseases such as schizophrenia, etc.

    You have a good point. Now, I suppose the suffering Buddha talks of must be the suffering of the soul, or more accurately, mind. Not suffering that stems from our material body and brain well being.
    zenmyste
  • footiam said:

    Tealeaf said:

    The second noble truth says that suffering is caused by craving. Did the Buddha teach that all suffering is due to craving, or just much of it? I can think of much suffering that is not caused by craving, such as the pain of cancer, anguish of mental diseases such as schizophrenia, etc.

    You have a good point. Now, I suppose the suffering Buddha talks of must be the suffering of the soul, or more accurately, mind. Not suffering that stems from our material body and brain well being.
    This is what i was trying to get at... So, well said!

    Buddhism really is about the suffering that we cause ourselves
  • No, it ain't just about mental suffering. And that's good news, actually.
  • zenmyste said:

    Its important to realize that Buddhism is all about mental suffering!
    Buddhism is not about 'physical suffering!


    Actually dukkha includes both.
  • vinlyn said:

    Yes, but a great deal of mental suffering is caused by physical suffering, so I'm not sure it's all so distinct.


    Yes, the Arrow sutta comes to mind here.
  • federicafederica seeker of the clear blue sky Its better to remain silent and be thought a fool, than to speak out and remove all doubt Moderator
    zenmyste said:


    Perhaps, but not in this case.. I have felt both physical and mental suffering!!

    I now realize that i can do nothing about physical pain... But what i can do is something about mental pain!!!

    On the contrary.
    There is now a great deal that can be done to alleviate physical pain.
    If you have physical pain, there isn't anything written anywhere, that states you cannot relieve it, in whichever way you deem appropriate.
    Given that there is a massive range of pain relief methods at our disposal, it is surprising that anyone would voluntarily endure the full extent of their own pain.

    So it is with mental care; there is a vast range of medication and treatment available for those who are diagnosed with mental conditions; however, mental 'pain and anguish' due to mental conditions, is a whole different ball-game to physical pain, and I personally do not feel one can encompass these two kinds of 'suffering' in the same bracket. Neither can their respective Emotional Suffering, be considered equal.
    EvenThirdMaryAnne
  • SimonthepilgrimSimonthepilgrim Veteran
    edited November 2013
    Perhaps some of the confusion here comes from translating dukkha as 'suffering' or 'pain'. Some authors translate it as 'stress' and an early teacher of mine, a monk of the Burmese Forest tradition, called it 'unsatisfactoriness'. I have found these last two of much greater help (which is surely what the Noble Truths are supposed to be rather than doctrinal statements), particularly when dealing with the clinical depression and ischaemic heart disease which hospitalised me and dogged me all these years. It was a moment of realisation when my teacher said: "Life is unsatisfactory", but, perhaps, that only works for me.
    federica
  • federicafederica seeker of the clear blue sky Its better to remain silent and be thought a fool, than to speak out and remove all doubt Moderator
    Good point, @Simonthepilgrim....

    I read somewhere that the word 'dukkha' is also associated with a wonky wheel. Doesn't give an altogether smooth and bumpless ride....
  • Recently I suffered from pain in the lower back. That was weird because I never have that kind of problem, fortunately.
    Studying the sutras and meditating on emptiness didn’t really help.

    Until at some point (after walking through the IKEA for two hours) I realized it was the shoes. I had been wearing some new, cheap shoes, with zero cushioning recently.
    I switched to the old shoes and the back problem vanished.

    So the answer is no; not all suffering is caused by craving. Some suffering is caused by wearing the wrong shoes.
    SabreEvenThird
  • On the average a mentally ill person is not any more in pain than another person. We all have something difficult on our plate. Or else we will at old age, sickness, and death.
  • vinlynvinlyn Colorado...for now Veteran
    zenff said:

    Recently I suffered from pain in the lower back. That was weird because I never have that kind of problem, fortunately.
    Studying the sutras and meditating on emptiness didn’t really help.

    Until at some point (after walking through the IKEA for two hours) I realized it was the shoes. I had been wearing some new, cheap shoes, with zero cushioning recently.
    I switched to the old shoes and the back problem vanished.

    So the answer is no; not all suffering is caused by craving. Some suffering is caused by wearing the wrong shoes.

    Exactly!

    BTW...don't wear those shoes too much. Me doing that led to plantar facitis.

  • JasonJason God Emperor Arrakis Moderator
    Tealeaf said:

    The second noble truth says that suffering is caused by craving. Did the Buddha teach that all suffering is due to craving, or just much of it? I can think of much suffering that is not caused by craving, such as the pain of cancer, anguish of mental diseases such as schizophrenia, etc.

    The short answer is yes, the cause of dukkha — the Pali word that's generally translated as 'suffering' — is craving. The longer answer, however, requires a more detailed analysis of what those terms, as well as the first two noble truths, are pointing towards.

    The first noble truth states that, in short, the five clinging-aggregate (panca-upadana-khandha) are dukkha (SN 56.11), i.e., it's the clinging in reference to the aggregates that's dukkha, not the aggregates themselves. And according to the commentaries, dukkha is defined as 'that which is hard to bear.'

    So while the Buddha did include both mental and physical pain in his description of dukkha, sickness and physical pain are not necessarily experienced as dukkha, especially by an arahant, i.e., a person whose mind is free of defilement. With the presence of clinging in regard to the five aggregates, bodily phenomena such as sickness and physical pain are experienced as suffering; however, without the presence of clinging, the experience of bodily phenomena such as sickness and physical pain aren't experienced as suffering, i.e., they're no longer 'difficult to bear.'

    In other words, although nibbana — the summum bonum of Buddhism — is said to be the cessation of suffering, that doesn't mean that a person won't feel physical pain or discomfort, but it does mean that such feelings will no longer cause mental suffering, emotional distress, etc. I think this is made clear in the simile of the dart found in SN 36.6:
    "An untaught worldling, O monks, experiences pleasant feelings, he experiences painful feelings and he experiences neutral feelings. A well-taught noble disciple likewise experiences pleasant, painful and neutral feelings. Now what is the distinction, the diversity, the difference that exists herein between a well-taught noble disciple and an untaught worldling?

    "When an untaught worldling is touched by a painful (bodily) feeling, he worries and grieves, he laments, beats his breast, weeps and is distraught. He thus experiences two kinds of feelings, a bodily and a mental feeling. It is as if a man were pierced by a dart and, following the first piercing, he is hit by a second dart. So that person will experience feelings caused by two darts. It is similar with an untaught worldling: when touched by a painful (bodily) feeling, he worries and grieves, he laments, beats his breast, weeps and is distraught. So he experiences two kinds of feeling: a bodily and a mental feeling.

    "Having been touched by that painful feeling, he resists (and resents) it. Then in him who so resists (and resents) that painful feeling, an underlying tendency of resistance against that painful feeling comes to underlie (his mind). Under the impact of that painful feeling he then proceeds to enjoy sensual happiness. And why does he do so? An untaught worldling, O monks, does not know of any other escape from painful feelings except the enjoyment of sensual happiness. Then in him who enjoys sensual happiness, an underlying tendency to lust for pleasant feelings comes to underlie (his mind). He does not know, according to facts, the arising and ending of these feelings, nor the gratification, the danger and the escape, connected with these feelings. In him who lacks that knowledge, an underlying tendency to ignorance as to neutral feelings comes to underlie (his mind). When he experiences a pleasant feeling, a painful feeling or a neutral feeling, he feels it as one fettered by it. Such a one, O monks, is called an untaught worldling who is fettered by birth, by old age, by death, by sorrow, lamentation, pain, grief and despair. He is fettered by suffering, this I declare.

    "But in the case of a well-taught noble disciple, O monks, when he is touched by a painful feeling, he will not worry nor grieve and lament, he will not beat his breast and weep, nor will he be distraught. It is one kind of feeling he experiences, a bodily one, but not a mental feeling. It is as if a man were pierced by a dart, but was not hit by a second dart following the first one. So this person experiences feelings caused by a single dart only. It is similar with a well-taught noble disciple: when touched by a painful feeling, he will no worry nor grieve and lament, he will not beat his breast and weep, nor will he be distraught. He experiences one single feeling, a bodily one.

    "Having been touched by that painful feeling, he does not resist (and resent) it. Hence, in him no underlying tendency of resistance against that painful feeling comes to underlie (his mind). Under the impact of that painful feeling he does not proceed to enjoy sensual happiness. And why not? As a well-taught noble disciple he knows of an escape from painful feelings other than by enjoying sensual happiness. Then in him who does not proceed to enjoy sensual happiness, no underlying tendency to lust for pleasant feelings comes to underlie (his mind). He knows, according to facts, the arising and ending of those feelings, and the gratification, the danger and the escape connected with these feelings. In him who knows thus, no underlying tendency to ignorance as to neutral feelings comes to underlie (his mind). When he experiences a pleasant feeling, a painful feeling or a neutral feeling, he feels it as one who is not fettered by it. Such a one, O monks, is called a well-taught noble disciple who is not fettered by birth, by old age, by death, by sorrow, lamentation, pain, grief and despair. He is not fettered to suffering, this I declare.

    "This, O monks, is the distinction, the diversity, the difference that exists between a well-taught noble disciple and an untaught worldling."
    So, to be more precise, I'd say that the second noble truth says that our experience of suffering, dissatisfaction, unsatisfactoriness, etc. is caused by craving, what makes the five clinging-aggregates difficult to bear at times due to painful feelings or the absence of pleasant ones. Craving isn't simply our desire to or for X; it's the beginning of a mental chain of events that turns our desires for things into the potential for suffering.

    The way I see it, craving (tahna, literally 'thirst') is a very subtle but powerful aspect of our psychology that's directly tied to suffering. It's there, latent in the mind, waiting to exert its influence through mental fabrications by directing or at the very least encouraging the mind to feed upon sensory experiences via the five clinging-aggregates in an unhealthy way (e.g., see SN 12.52). To observe this process, all one has to do is set about forty-five minutes to an hour aside as they'd normally do for their sitting practice and observe.

    When sitting in meditation and our legs begin to hurt, the initial unpleasant feeling of pain gives rise to the craving for the pain to cease—i.e., we desire not be associated with this painful feeling, to make it stop. This physical pain is likened to the first dart in the simile of the arrow given in SN 36.6.

    If one is mindful enough and watches this process further, one might then notice that if they remain in the same position without automatically moving, the mind will have the tendency to continually come back to that pain and focus on it more and more until the point that one feels as if they can no longer bear it anymore. This link between our awareness and the physical pain is the clinging (upadana), which won't let an object go if left to its own devices. This, in turn, produces mental anguish or discomfort, which is likened to the second dart.

    This simple experiment works even better when the meditator can stay with the breath long enough to separate their awareness from the painful feeling so that they can see the space between the two, or in other words, that the physical pain isn't the same as the mental anguish or discomfort that usually follows.
    seeker242
  • In the mahayana craving is based on ignorance of the nature of 'self and other'.

    Thus ignorance rather than craving is the cause of dukkha. Aversion and craving can be remedied by opening to whatever 'other' is there and drop storylines, attain shamata as a stability. The latter eventually allows insight into the craving or aversion and they drop away. This is why the Buddha nature is essential. The Buddha nature is the opening and dropping of storylines. It is the clarity to understand all this and see what is harmful and what is helping, which is known as mindfulness. And then when you see the teachings and reality clearly then there is sensitivity which is responsibility, well being, and something else, I forgot. Sensitivity is embodying the teaching, and prajna or intelligence. That intelligence is another way to smash ignorance.
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