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What Is Suffering Buddhism?
Suffering, or Dukkha, is a central concept in Buddhism, which is the belief that life is fundamentally filled with suffering or unsatisfactoriness. The four noble truths, which form the foundation of Buddhism, describe the fact of suffering and its causes, as well as the way out of suffering.
Suffering, or Dukkha, has several meanings according to Buddhism. Most simply, it is the suffering caused by physical, emotional, and psychological suffering. On a deeper level, Dukkha is a belief that existence is essentially unsatisfactory because it is impermanent and not under our control. We can never completely experience pleasure, because even when something is pleasurable it will eventually end. This inability to hold onto anything leads to a sense of unsatisfactoriness or unhappiness.
The Buddhist teaching of the four noble truths explains the cause of suffering, sometimes referred to as “the cause of suffering” or “the origin of suffering”. According to the four noble truths, suffering is caused by craving, which is a desire for something that is transient and ultimately unsatisfying. Craving leads to attachment, which causes us to become fixated on certain things that we “need” to be happy. As a result, we become attached to physical objects, material possessions, feelings of love, or even ideas of success. But since these things are transient, we can never achieve satisfaction and this causes suffering. Craving can also lead to aversions, which can include negative emotions like anger or hatred.
The path to the end of suffering is established through the eightfold path, which provides the ethical and philosophical framework for practicing the Buddhist way of life. The eightfold path consists of eight practices that if followed lead to the end of suffering:
1. Right view.
2. Right intention.
3. Right speech.
4. Right action.
5. Right livelihood.
6. Right effort.
7. Right mindfulness.
8. Right concentration.
The eightfold path provides a way to overcome the causes of suffering, such as desire and attachment. The right view encourages one to recognize the impermanence of things and to be mindful of the things that make one suffer. Right intention focuses on developing wholesome thoughts and intentions instead of promoting thoughts of hatred and anger. Right speech encourages focus on communication with others that is kind and beneficial. Right action promotes selfless behavior and refraining from negative or harmful behavior. Right livelihood involves abstaining from any occupation or activity that causes harm to others or oneself. Right effort focuses on constructive and positive actions. Right mindfulness is the practice of being aware of one’s thoughts and actions in the present moment. Right concentration is the practice of meditation to achieve inner peace and clarity.
Suffering is an unavoidable part of life, but Buddhism does provide a way to find relief from suffering. By understanding the four noble truths and following the eightfold path, one can start to recognize the causes of suffering, overcome them, and lead a more satisfactory life.