How to Spend the Day Without Experiencing Suffering
Post on 27-Sep-2015
How to spend the day without experiencing suffering (part 1)
All of us wish to spend each day without experiencing any sorts of suffering. Even, animals feel the same
way in this respect. Man or animal stops at nothing to achieve this.
What is suffering (dukkha)?
A mango ripens and rots subsequently due to its inherent nature of dukkha. A child grows to a youth,
an adult and an old man and finally dies due to nature of dukkha associated with the life. In this
circumstance, dukkha could be identified as the incidence of constant change of the present status of
phenomena and taking up a different form at the same time.
The pain resulting from an injury, hunger is also known as dukkha. In the ultimate sense, this is a
feeling of pain resulting from the phenomenon referred to as dukkha. Dukkha is the cause and the
feeling of pain (also referred to as duka in Sinhala) is the result. In the case of hunger, an individual
feels the pain of hunger (duka in Sinhala) as a result of changes that take place in his physical body
(process of dukkha) due to the lack of food. So, the pain of hunger is the result of the phenomenon of
dukkha. However, we tend to view the cause (dukkha) and effect (feeling of pain) as one thing at
present. The ultimate meaning of dukkha has lost its original sense in the present society.
As mentioned earlier, feelings or sensations are the results of the phenomenon of dukkha. Feelings
could be categorised in to three parts; feelings of happiness (sukha), feelings of unhappiness (dukkha)
and feelings of equanimity (upekkha). Depending on the type of change or transformation, feelings of
happiness, unhappiness or equanimity would ensue. This means that every sensation is a result of a
certain change or transformation (dukkha). Everything in the world is subject to constant change or
transformation, according to the teachings of the Buddha. Everything is in a constant state of flux. This is
the universal truth.
The universal truth of constant change cannot be altered or reversed at all. However, the sensations,
which are caused by this constant change and prevalent in the world, could be managed to a great
extent by the way the mind accepts these changes. We need to explore this possibility in depth. The
mind could accept an object with an intense attachment. Also, the mind could accept an object from a
perspective of detachment. The degree of attachment or detachment would cause corresponding
degree of sensations in the mind. For example, if one attaches to an object intensely, that causes
intense, painful sensations in the mind.
If one understands the impermanent nature of phenomena, then, one does not cling to objects with an
intense degree of attachment. When this nature is not comprehended by individuals, then, they
experience mental distress when the objects they attached to undergo natural changes. They struggle
mentally to keep in touch with the objects they like on a permanent basis, even though those objects
are in a constant state of flux. This is the primary cause of unsatisfactory, stressful mental sensations.
The suffering caused by non-awareness and inability to accept the reality of constant change has
brought about misery to our lives and our surroundings. If there is a methodology for us to get rid of this
stressful way of life and convert it to a pleasant one, we need to direct our attention to this particular
The Supreme Buddha has pointed out that whenever a stress or pain arises in the mind, it is caused by a
combination of five mental qualities (dhammas). First, a thought of clinging, I need this, causes mental
pain. Intense desire is the underlying cause of mental pain in all the cases. This nature in the mind is
referred to as passion (raga). We know that everything is in a constant state of flux. However, we are
always preoccupied with the thought that a particular change should not have happened and wish the
opposite to happen at all times.
The second tendency is mind becoming irritated when things do not happen the way one wants. This
leads to causing aversion (dosa) in an individual. Then, an individual acts based on the aversion through
non-awareness of his state of mind mixed with aversion. This would aggravate his aversion further. The
non-awareness of this whole process is identified as delusion (moha), which is the third tendency of the
mind. Next stage would be the arising of conceit (mana) in this individual. He begins to think of his self-
esteem, social status, wealth, power etc. in the context of his anger. Then he plans to get out of this
situation and find peace through various means. This mental planning process id identified as wrongful
When the mind is made up with above mentioned five negative qualities, that leads to further
aggravates the momentum of the mind and creates an immense burning situation in the mind. Every
time a painful feeling arises in the mind, these five negative qualities appear as integral parts of the
We need to understand that our mind which goes through painful, stressful situations most of the time
during a day consists of these five negative qualities.