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Dukkha
Dukkha
(/ˈduːkə/; Pāli; Sanskrit: duḥkha; Tibetan: སྡུག་བསྔལ་ sdug bsngal, pr. "duk-ngel") is an important Buddhist
Buddhist
concept, commonly translated as "suffering", "pain", "unsatisfactoriness" or "stress".[1][2][3][4] It refers to the fundamental unsatisfactoriness and painfulness of mundane life. It is the first of the Four Noble Truths. The term is also found in scriptures of Hinduism, such as the Upanishads, in discussions of moksha (spiritual liberation).[5][6]

Contents

1 Etymology and meaning 2 Buddhism 3 Hinduism 4 Comparison of Buddhism
Buddhism
and Hinduism 5 See also 6 Notes 7 References 8 Sources

8.1 Printed sources 8.2 Web sources

9 External links

Etymology and meaning[edit] Dukkha
Dukkha
(Pali; Sanskrit
Sanskrit
duḥkha) is a term found in ancient Indian literature, meaning anything that is "uneasy, uncomfortable, unpleasant, difficult, causing pain or sadness".[7][8] It is also a concept in Indian religions about the nature of life that innately includes the "unpleasant", "suffering," "pain," "sorrow", "distress", "grief" or "misery."[7][8] The term Dukkha
Dukkha
does not have a one word English translation, and embodies diverse aspects of unpleasant human experiences.[2][8] It is opposed to the word sukha, meaning "happiness," "comfort" or "ease."[9] The word is commonly explained as a derivation from Aryan terminology for an axle hole, referring to an axle hole which is not in the center and leads to a bumpy, uncomfortable ride. According to Winthrop Sargeant,

The ancient Aryans who brought the Sanskrit
Sanskrit
language to India were a nomadic, horse- and cattle-breeding people who travelled in horse- or ox-drawn vehicles. Su and dus are prefixes indicating good or bad. The word kha, in later Sanskrit
Sanskrit
meaning "sky," "ether," or "space," was originally the word for "hole," particularly an axle hole of one of the Aryan's vehicles. Thus sukha … meant, originally, "having a good axle hole," while duhkha meant "having a poor axle hole," leading to discomfort.[10]

Joseph Goldstein, American vipassana teacher and writer, explains the etymology as follows:

The word dukkha is made up of the prefix du and the root kha. Du means “bad” or “difficult.” Kha means “empty.” “Empty,” here, refers to several things—some specific, others more general. One of the specific meanings refers to the empty axle hole of a wheel. If the axle fits badly into the center hole, we get a very bumpy ride. This is a good analogy for our ride through saṃsāra.[11]

However, according to Monier Monier-Williams, the actual roots of the Pali
Pali
term dukkha appear to be Sanskrit
Sanskrit
दुस्- (dus-, "bad") + स्था (stha, "to stand").[12] Regular phonological changes in the development of Sanskrit
Sanskrit
into the various Prakrits led to a shift from dus-sthā to duḥkha to dukkha. Buddhism[edit] Contemporary translators of Buddhist texts
Buddhist texts
use a variety of English words to convey the aspects of dukkha. Early Western translators of Buddhist texts
Buddhist texts
(before the 1970s) typically translated the Pali
Pali
term dukkha as "suffering." Later translators have emphasized that "suffering" is too limited a translation for the term dukkha, and have preferred to either leave the term untranslated or to clarify that translation with terms such as anxiety, distress, frustration, unease, unsatisfactoriness, etc.[13][14][15] Many contemporary teachers, scholars, and translators have used the term "unsatisfactoriness" to emphasize the subtlest aspects of dukkha.[16][17][18][19][20] Contemporary translators have used a variety of English words to translate the term dukkha,[note 1] and many translators prefer to leave the term untranslated.[9] Within the Buddhist
Buddhist
sutras, dukkha is divided in three categories:

Dukkha-dukkha, the dukkha of painful experiences. This includes the physical and mental sufferings of birth, aging, illness, dying; distress from what is not desirable. Viparinama-dukkha, the dukkha of the changing nature of all things. This includes the frustration of not getting what you want. Sankhara-dukkha, the dukkha of conditioned experience. This includes "a basic unsatisfactoriness pervading all existence, all forms of life, because all forms of life are changing, impermanent and without any inner core or substance."[web 1] On this level, the term indicates a lack of satisfaction, a sense that things never measure up to our expectations or standards.

Various sutras sum up how life in this "mundane world" is regarded to be dukkha, starting with samsara, the ongoing process of death and rebirth itself:[note 2]

Birth is dukkha, aging is dukkha, illness is dukkha, death is dukkha; Sorrow, lamentation, pain, grief, and despair are dukkha; Association with the unbeloved is dukkha; separation from the loved is dukkha; Not getting what is wanted is dukkha. In conclusion, the five clinging-aggregates are dukkha.

Dukkha
Dukkha
is one of the three marks of existence, namely dukkha ("suffering"), anatta (not-self), anicca ("impermanence"). The Buddhist
Buddhist
tradition emphasizes the importance of developing insight into the nature of dukkha, the conditions that cause it, and how it can be overcome. This process is formulated in the teachings on the Four Noble Truths. Hinduism[edit] In Hindu
Hindu
literature, the earliest Upaniṣads — the Bṛhadāraṇyaka and the Chāndogya — in all likelihood predate the advent of Buddhism.[note 3] In these scriptures of Hinduism, the Sanskrit
Sanskrit
word duḥkha (दुःख) appears in the sense of "suffering, sorrow, distress", and in the context of a spiritual pursuit and liberation through the knowledge of Atman (soul, self).[5][6][24] The verse 4.4.14 of the Bṛhadāraṇyaka Upaniṣad states:

English Sanskrit

While we are still here, we have come to know it [ātman]. If you've not known it, great is your destruction. Those who have known it — they become immortal. As for the rest — only suffering awaits them.[5] ihaiva santo 'tha vidmas tad vayaṃ na ced avedir mahatī vinaṣṭiḥ ye tad vidur amṛtās te bhavanty athetare duḥkham evāpiyanti[web 2]

The verse 7.26.2 of the Chāndogya Upaniṣad states:

English Sanskrit

When a man rightly sees [his soul],[25] he sees no death, no sickness or distress.[note 4] When a man rightly sees, he sees all, he wins all, completely.[27][note 5]

na paśyo mṛtyuṃ paśyati na rogaṃ nota duḥkhatām sarvaṃ ha paśyaḥ paśyati sarvam āpnoti sarvaśaḥ[web 3]

The concept of sorrow and suffering, and self-knowledge as a means to overcome it, appears extensively with other terms in the pre-Buddhist Upanishads.[28] The term Duhkha also appears in many other middle and later post- Buddhist
Buddhist
Upanishads
Upanishads
such as the verse 6.20 of Shvetashvatara Upanishad,[29] as well as in the Bhagavada Gita, all in the context of moksha.[30][note 6] The term also appears in the foundational Sutras of the six schools of Hindu
Hindu
philosophy, such as the opening lines of Samkhya
Samkhya
karika of the Samkhya
Samkhya
school.[32][33] Comparison of Buddhism
Buddhism
and Hinduism[edit] Both Hinduism
Hinduism
and Buddhism
Buddhism
emphasize that one overcomes duḥkha through the development of understanding.[note 7] However, the two religions widely differ in the nature of that understanding. Hinduism emphasizes the understanding and acceptance of Atman (self, soul) and Brahman, while Buddhism
Buddhism
emphasizes the understanding and acceptance of Anatta
Anatta
(Anatman, non-self, non-soul) as each discusses the means to liberation from Dukkha.[34][35] See also[edit]

Existential despair Four Noble Truths Nirodha Noble Eightfold Path Samudaya The Sickness Unto Death Suffering Sukha Taṇhā

Notes[edit]

^ Contemporary translators have used a variety of English words to translate the term dukkha; translators commonly use different words to translate aspects of the term. For example, dukkha has been translated as follows in many contexts:

Suffering
Suffering
(Harvey, Williams, Keown, Anderson, Gombrich, Thich Nhat Hanh, Ajahn Succito, Chogyam Trungpa, Rupert Gethin, Dalai Lama, et al.) Pain (Harvey, Williams, Keown, Anderson, Huxter, Gombrich, et al) Unsatisfactoriness (Dalai Lama, Bhikkhu
Bhikkhu
Bodhi, Rupert Gethin, et al.) Stress Thanissaro Bhikkhu([21][22] Sorrow Anguish Affliction (Brazier) Dissatisfaction (Pema Chodron, Chogyam Trunpa) Distress (Walpola Rahula) Frustration (Dalai Lama, Four Noble Truths, p. 38) Misery Anxiety (Chogyam Trungpa, The Truth of Suffering, pp. 8–10) Uneasiness (Chogyam Trungpa) Unease (Rupert Gethin) Unhappiness

^ Paul Williams: "All rebirth is due to karma and is impermanent. Short of attaining enlightenment, in each rebirth one is born and dies, to be reborn elsewhere in accordance with the completely impersonal causal nature of one's own karma. The endless cycle of birth, rebirth, and redeath, is samsara."[23] ^ See, e.g., Patrick Olivelle (1996), Upaniṣads (Oxford: Oxford University Press), ISBN 978-0-19-283576-5, p. xxxvi: "The scholarly consensus, well-founded I think, is that the Bṛhadāraṇyaka and the Chāndogya are the two earliest Upaniṣads.... The two texts as we have them are, in all likelihood, pre-Buddhist; placing them in the seventh to sixth centuries BCE may be reasonable, give or take a century or so." ^ Max Muller
Max Muller
translates Duḥkhatām in this verse as "pain".[26] ^ This statement is comparable to the Pali
Pali
Canon's Dhammacakkappavattana Sutta
Dhammacakkappavattana Sutta
(SN 56.11) where sickness and death are identified as examples of dukkha. ^ See Bhagavad Gita
Bhagavad Gita
verses 2.56, 5.6, 6.22-32, 10.4, 13.6-8, 14.16, 17.9, 18.8, etc; [31] ^ For a general discussion of the core Indian spiritual goal of developing transcendent "seeing," see, e.g., Hamilton, Sue (2000/2001), Indian Philosophy: A Very Short Introduction, (Oxford: Oxford U. Press), pp. 9-10, ISBN 978-0-19-285374-5.

References[edit]

^ Malcolm Huxter (2016). Healing the Heart and Mind with Mindfulness: Ancient Path, Present Moment. Routledge. p. 10. ISBN 978-1-317-50540-2. , Quote: " dukkha (unsatisfactoriness or suffering) (....) In the Introduction I wrote that dukkha is probably best understood as unsatisfactoriness." ^ a b Peter Harvey (2015). Steven M. Emmanuel, ed. A Companion to Buddhist
Buddhist
Philosophy. John Wiley & Sons. pp. 26–31. ISBN 978-1-119-14466-3.  ^ Carol Anderson (2013). Pain and Its Ending: The Four Noble Truths
Four Noble Truths
in the Theravada
Theravada
Buddhist
Buddhist
Canon. Routledge. pp. 1, 22 with note 4. ISBN 978-1-136-81332-0. , Quote: "(...) the three characteristics of samsara/sankhara (the realm of rebirth): anicca (impermance), dukkha (pain) and anatta (no-self)." ^ https://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitaka/sn/sn22/sn22.086.than.html ^ a b c Brihadaranyaka Upanishad
Brihadaranyaka Upanishad
4 April 2014, trans. Patrick Olivelle (1996), p. 66. ^ a b Paul Deussen (1980). Sixty Upaniṣads of the Veda, Vol. 1. Motilal Banarsidass (Reprinted). pp. 482–485, 497. ISBN 978-81-208-1468-4.  ^ a b Monier-Williams 1899, p. 483. ^ a b c Thomas William Rhys Davids; William Stede (1921). Pali-English Dictionary. Motilal Banarsidass. pp. 324–325. ISBN 978-81-208-1144-7.  ^ a b Walpola Rahula
Walpola Rahula
2007, Kindle Locations 542-550. ^ Sargeant 2009, p. 303. ^ Goldstein 2013, p. 289. ^ Monier-Williams 1899, p. 483, entry note: "according to grammarians properly written dush-kha and said to be from dus and kha [cf. su-khá]; but more probably a Prākritized form for duḥ-stha, q.v." ^ Walpola Rahula
Walpola Rahula
2007, Kindle locations 524-528. ^ Prebish 1993. ^ Keown 2003. ^ Dalai Lama
Lama
1998, p. 38. ^ Gethin 1998, p. 61. ^ Smith & Novak 2009, Kindle location 2769. ^ Keown 2000, Kindle Locations 932-934. ^ Bhikkhu
Bhikkhu
Bodhi
Bodhi
2011, p. 6. ^ https://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitaka/sn/sn56/sn56.011.than.html ^ https://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitaka/sn/sn22/sn22.086.than.html bottom ^ Williams 2002, p. 74-75. ^ Robert Hume, Chandogya Upanishad, The Thirteen Principal Upanishads, Oxford University Press, pages 261-262 ^ Paul Deussen (1980). Sixty Upaniṣads of the Veda. Motilal Banarsidass (Reprinted). pp. 188–189. ISBN 978-81-208-1468-4.  ^ Chandogya Upanishad
Chandogya Upanishad
7.26.2, Max Muller
Max Muller
(Translator), Oxford University Press, page 124 ^ Chandogya Upanishad
Chandogya Upanishad
7.26.2, trans. Patrick Olivelle (1996), p. 166. ^ Paul Deussen (1980). Sixty Upaniṣads of the Veda, Vol. 1. Motilal Banarsidass (Reprinted). pp. 112, 161, 176, 198, 202–203, 235, 455, etc. ISBN 978-81-208-1468-4.  ^ Paul Deussen (1980). Sixty Upaniṣads of the Veda, Vol. 1. Motilal Banarsidass (Reprinted). p. 326. ISBN 978-81-208-1468-4.  ^ Paul Deussen (1980). Sixty Upaniṣads of the Veda, Vol. 1. Motilal Banarsidass (Reprinted). p. 305. ISBN 978-81-208-1468-4.  ^ Sargeant 2009. ^ Original Sanskrit: Samkhya
Samkhya
karika Compiled and indexed by Ferenc Ruzsa (2015), Sanskrit
Sanskrit
Documents Archives; Second Translation (Verse 1): Ferenc Ruzsa (1997), The triple suffering - A note on the Samkhya
Samkhya
karika, Xth World Sanskrit Conference: Bangalore, University of Hungary, Budapest; Third Translation (all Verses): Samkhyakarika of Iswara Krishna
Krishna
John Davis (Translator), Trubner, London, University of Toronto Archives ^ Samkhya
Samkhya
karika by Iswara Krishna, Henry Colebrooke (Translator), Oxford University Press ^ Johannes Bronkhorst (2009). Buddhist
Buddhist
Teaching in India. Wisdom Publications. pp. 23–25. ISBN 978-0-86171-811-5.  ^ Peter Harvey (2013). The Selfless Mind: Personality, Consciousness and Nirvana
Nirvana
in Early Buddhism. Routledge. pp. 34, 38. ISBN 978-1-136-78336-4. 

Sources[edit] Printed sources[edit]

Bhikkhu
Bhikkhu
Bodhi
Bodhi
(2011), The Noble Eightfold Path: Way to the End of Suffering, Independent Publishers Group, Kindle Edition  Dalai Lama
Lama
(1998), The Four Noble Truths, Thorsons  Gethin, Rupert (1998), Foundations of Buddhism, Oxford University Press  Goldstein, Joseph (2013), Mindfulness: A Practical Guide to Awakening, Sounds True, Kindle Edition  Harvey, Peter (1990). Introduction to Buddhism. Cambridge University Press.  Kalupahana, David J. (1992). A history of Buddhist
Buddhist
philosophy. Delhi: Motilal Banarsidass Publishers Private Limited.  Keown, Damien (2000), Buddhism: A Very Short Introduction, Oxford University Press, Kindle Edition  Keown, Damien (2003), Dictionary of Buddhism, Oxford University Press, ISBN 0-19-860560-9  Lopez, Donald S. (2001). The Story of Buddhism. HarperCollins.  Monier-Williams, Monier (1899), A Sanskrit-English Dictionary (PDF), London (Reprinted 1964): Oxford University Press  Nanamoli, Bhikkhu
Bhikkhu
(1995). The Middle Length Discourses of the Buddha: A New Translation of the Majjhima Nikaya. Boston: Wisdom Publications. ISBN 0-86171-072-X.  Prebish, Charles (1993), Historical Dictionary of Buddhism, The Scarecrow Press, ISBN 0-8108-2698-4  Potter, Karl (2004). The Encyclopedia of Indian Philosophies, Vol. IX: Buddhist philosophy
Buddhist philosophy
from 350 to 600 AD.  Ronkin, Noa (2005). Early Buddhist
Buddhist
Metaphysics: the Making of a Philosophical Tradition. Routledge.  Sargeant, Winthrop (2009), The Bhagavad Gita, SUNY Press  Smith, Huston; Novak, Philip (2009), Buddhism: A Concise Introduction, HarperOne, Kindle Edition  Walpola Rahula
Walpola Rahula
(2007), What the Buddha Taught, Grove Press, Kindle Edition  Williams, Paul (2002), Buddhist
Buddhist
Thought, Routledge, ISBN 0-415207010 

Web sources[edit]

^ The Four Noble Truths
Four Noble Truths
- By Bhikkhu
Bhikkhu
Bodhi ^ Brihadaranyaka Upanishad, Retrieved 16 May 2016 from "SanskritDocuments.Org" at Brihadaranyaka IV.iv.14, Original: इहैव सन्तोऽथ विद्मस्तद्वयं विद्मस् तद् वयम्न चेदवेदिर्महती विनष्टिः । ये तद्विदुरमृतास्ते भवन्त्य् अथेतरे दुःखमेवापियन्ति ॥ १४ ॥ ^ Chandogya Upanishad
Chandogya Upanishad
7,26.2. Retrieved 16 May 2016 from Wikisource छान्दोग्योपनिषद् ४ ॥ षड्विंशः खण्डः ॥, Quote: तदेष श्लोको न पश्यो मृत्युं पश्यति न रोगं नोत दुःखताँ सर्वँ ह पश्यः पश्यति सर्वमाप्नोति सर्वश इति ।

External links[edit]

How does mindfulness transform suffering? I: the nature and origins of dukkha, JD Teasdale, M Chaskalson (2011) Explanations of dukkha, Tilmann Vetter (1998), Journal of the International Association of Buddhist
Buddhist
Studies What Buddha Taught, Walpola Rahula Dukkha, edited by John T. Bullitt - Access to Insight The Buddha's Concept of Dukkha, Kingsley Heendeniya Ku 苦 entry (use "guest" with no password for one-time login), Digital Dictionary of Buddhism

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