There is dukkha, there are the causes of dukkha, there is the cessation of dukkha, and there is the path to the cessation of dukkha.
Dukkha, Anicca, Anatta, realized from the Noble Eightfold Path. The 3 Dharma Seals and the Path forms the 4 Noble truths.
What exactly can one make out of this in relation to this life? This is the most common thought that has preoccupied my mind in the short 3 years since rediscovering the Dharma. We all want to find meaning: one that the intellectual mind can define, one that fit into our expectations, one that equates to happiness. Happiness is the meaning, the purpose, the final objective. And so we seek within this short span of life for this meaning. We build relationships, careers, wealth, all over again and again and use these to define the meaning. We tell the same story over and over again: This family is who I am, this career is who I am, and I am the success story! Yet when the time comes and we allow the mind to be silent for a moment, there is an unspoken unease. An uneasiness that we are too afraid to face, for we are not sure. Then we hold on to these identifications over again, ignoring the fact that they too shall pass. So there is Dukkha.
Anicca, or transformation, is the nature of this world. No single moment is the same, whether we perceive it or not, period. It’s the natural law of this world. It’s this way in the minute scale; it’s also this way in the broadest sense. The moments it take for a seed to grow and blossoms, the seasons of spring, summer autumn and winter, or just simply the change of heart of an ex-partner. The senses can’t perceive the minute moments without training, so we’re not bothered by it. What we are bothered by are the changes that occur in the broad sense, as well as the changes that we can attribute to someone else. I hate changes! We hear this so often. Why can’t the changes in my life stop? Oh yes they won’t, not ever. The failed relationships, the failed careers, the failed endeavors; everything that has taken a change for lesser is more often than not taken to be a failure. And who decides it’s lesser?
That brings us to us. Everything that we experience, think of and identify with is pivoted on this persona we identify to be ourselves. And this persona takes its form through the experiences, thoughts and identifications in this life. So this auto looping process is happening real time every single moment of this life, without question, and creates the wonderful story of my life. The interesting, and frightening, thing is we feel this sense of lack at the same time all the time! It’s like nothing, and absolutely nothing, can completely define who I am at all. Well yes the work can define what I do, the relationships can define my different social roles, but is there really anything that can completely define who I am? Sometimes we use this lack for self improvement which is essential, but most times we use it for our indulgences. And just as the thirst is not quenched by salty water, the temporary gratifications cannot satisfy the sense of lack. Have we stopped and looked directly at this sense of lack for what it is? Mostly not, for the first attempt will usually be greeted by fear; A fear of finding what’s never there in the first place.
For the past year, there had been a subtle attachment. An attachment to realization. What is realization? How does it feel like to realize? Will a realization change this life finally? Again finding the meaning of realization. The readings, the sittings, the contemplations, the practice of patience, mindfulness and all of this. These have to lead to a realization, they have to! And so another form of attachment takes place. An attachment to realization. Well the seeking shall continue, and there is no seeker. This is where it begins and is where it ends.
And then dukkha is no-dukkha, anicca is no-anicca and anatta is no-anatta. God I hate this great and clumsy invention of mankind called language.