Source of Suffereing Rexamined

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Wet Paint, modified 13 Years ago at 5/31/09 1:11 PM
Created 13 Years ago at 5/31/09 1:11 PM

Source of Suffereing Rexamined

Posts: 22924 Join Date: 8/6/09 Recent Posts
Author: JefeStock
Forum: Dharma Overground Discussion Forum

Hi all. Im new here. I think I've posted once. A bit about myself: I have no idea if I've achieved stream entry, I have drastic reasons to believe I have achieved it and reasons to believe I haven't. So thats up in the air as far as any authority goes. Fortunately I'm not too interested at the moment emoticon.

Here's what I'm hoping to bring up with you guys. I've had a particular idea or realization occur to me, I've examined it for fault, forgot about it, had it occur to me again and it just doesn't seem to want to leave me. Beyond all doubt this is not some idea that I'm holding on to, as I've let it go but it keeps coming back and has actually given me some great benifits, and I think it should get some attention by our intellectually driven dharma community here emoticon.

So it seems to me that typical dharma claims that desire is the source of suffering, ne? It's one of the Four Noble Truths. But around here and mainly in Daniel Ingrams book there is emphasis on _duality_ being the source of suffering, or a sense of self. These are very, very different things.

I can easily hold onto a sense of self and not want. For instance, when I've just finished a meditation session I'll typically lay down and just sort of watch whats happening, all of it. (btw, even if I haven't reached stream entry I'm very deep in equanimity at least, what I can perceive and the breadth of it is shockingly large to me and yet strangely normal...). So while I'm watching what's happening there is probably the least amount of dukka at that point than any other time in my life, yet my sense of self is still floating around, albeit being watched.

Continued next post...
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Wet Paint, modified 13 Years ago at 5/31/09 1:11 PM
Created 13 Years ago at 5/31/09 1:11 PM

RE: Source of Suffereing Rexamined

Posts: 22924 Join Date: 8/6/09 Recent Posts
Author: JefeStock

The realization that has occured to me is that the source of suffering isn't necessarily duality, nor is it that voice in your head or ego or anything, but the idea of a future (and desire stems from that idea, which would make the idea of desire causing suffering at least partly true).

I found that my impulses are more along the lines that they want something different instead of wanting the present moment to be better. It's hard to see the difference, but the necessary component is _time_. The idea of time is what causes suffering. Think of the moments where you are in 'the flow' or when you are feeling the least amount of dukka. It felt timeless, didn't it? Like the present moment was everything that was. It was almost impossible to even consider what would be 2 seconds from that moment. Think about that. In those moments what would have happened if you concerned yourself with two seconds from the present moment, even if you could guarantee that they would be pleasant? Instant dukka.

Yet when you are in those non-dukka moments you still had a sense of self, right? _You_ were still doing things. _You_ were still interacting with the objects. I think that having no sense of self would also bring about no sense of a future and thus no suffering, so there's nothing wrong there. I simply propose that any sense of suffering or disease comes from even the slightest inkling of an idea of the future. What it holds, what you will do, what you want, ect. In fact if I had to guess, I would say that even with no sense of self, if the future is being considered at all it would bring a sense of suffering.
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Wet Paint, modified 13 Years ago at 5/31/09 1:12 PM
Created 13 Years ago at 5/31/09 1:12 PM

RE: Source of Suffereing Rexamined

Posts: 22924 Join Date: 8/6/09 Recent Posts
Author: JefeStock


In my opinion there is no doubt that losing a sense of self would be the absolute best way to achieve non-suffering.
I guess maybe one of those arahats around here who have gotten over duality can give us some insight. Is the source of suffering desire, duality, or the feeling of a future? All very closely related, but all very different.

You may take it from here emoticon
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Chris Marti, modified 13 Years ago at 5/31/09 2:56 PM
Created 13 Years ago at 5/31/09 2:56 PM

RE: Source of Suffereing Rexamined

Posts: 379 Join Date: 7/7/09 Recent Posts
"So it seems to me that typical dharma claims that desire is the source of suffering, ne? It's one of the Four Noble Truths. But around here and mainly in Daniel Ingrams book there is emphasis on _duality_ being the source of suffering, or a sense of self. These are very, very different things."

Are they really very, very different things? Any time there is "you" and then something else, that's duality. Something else can be any object. My mind likes to separate subject from object - it was conditioned to do that for many years (I'm old). Maintaining that duality can be pretty annoying, even painful. That's suffering.
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Wet Paint, modified 13 Years ago at 5/31/09 3:31 PM
Created 13 Years ago at 5/31/09 3:31 PM

RE: Source of Suffereing Rexamined

Posts: 22924 Join Date: 8/6/09 Recent Posts
Author: JefeStock

True. But I would say that desire is different from having a sense of self. In my examinations on suffering it seems like duality is an issue, and it's annoying, but it really only causes suffering if you want to get away from it, thus implying a new future.

I guess whenever I investigated suffering i noticed that it always had to do with the future, like when I think "my leg hurts" there is a difference between wanting a different now and imagining there is a future that could be different and wanting that. Does that make sense?

Think about it for a little

Edit: p.s. That was probably a better way to describe what I meant than the first posts. I think suffering isn't from wanting a specific change, but imagining a different future and wanting that, even if its on the very subtle levels of the mind. If you close your eyes right now and try to feel it out can you see the difference?

Thanks for the reply tho! emoticon
Trent S H, modified 13 Years ago at 5/31/09 3:38 PM
Created 13 Years ago at 5/31/09 3:38 PM

RE: Source of Suffereing Rexamined

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Hihi,

I think it may be the case that two distinct types of suffering are being seen as one. Fundamental suffering is the suffering being referred to in regard to insight practice. Daniel described it in MCTB as "a vague nausea." It is like a tenseness, a pressure, an invisible prison that weighs on every moment of reality until arhatship. It is the mind's habitual tendency to try to hold on to sensations it decides have self nature in an attempt to create a self which does not decay, a permanent "me," a comfortable retreat. The twisted coincidence is that this compassionate, self-loving gesture ends up being all but beneficial.

Everything else, I guess, would be suffering of the conventional sense. Is that caused by a discontent with the present? I am not so sure. Similar to the concept of eustress & disstress, not all wanting produces suffering. Thus, although there is clearly a correlation, I do not think the correlation necessarily indicates causation.

Here's a thought. No-self applied to the realm of morality would imply total equality with all beings. All beings equal, where is the motivation for anything which would incite stress of the painful variety? Even a desire to live would be silly, because you're already living 6 billion lives at once. I think this is sort of similar to the line of inquiry you are investigating.

Sounds good in theory, but (at least currently) causality seems to have a different plan in store for these myriad earthlings. It seems that the answer would unveil itself if all beings awakened and/or humans began to be born awakened. Unfortunately, that's a ways off and a bad guess at best. Most speculation on this issue unfortunately falls into the realm of dreams and metaphysics.

These are important things to attempt to figure out for ourselves. At the very least, it makes us all think.

Thanks for the stimulating idea,
Trent
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Wet Paint, modified 13 Years ago at 5/31/09 3:51 PM
Created 13 Years ago at 5/31/09 3:51 PM

RE: Source of Suffereing Rexamined

Posts: 22924 Join Date: 8/6/09 Recent Posts
Author: JefeStock

So are you saying that the suffering from duality never ebbs and flows?

The suffering and dissatisfaction I'm talking about changes. I think if any type of suffering is constant than we wouldn't know about it, right? As a rule humans only tend to notice change.

It seems to me that dissatisfaction is dissatisfaction. How can there be two? How can I tell the difference? If there are two than I would love to be able to examine them separately.

Interesting theory too, even if it is a bit off topic.
Trent S H, modified 13 Years ago at 5/31/09 4:03 PM
Created 13 Years ago at 5/31/09 4:03 PM

RE: Source of Suffereing Rexamined

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Suffering gently fades away until the final "pop" of arhatship. I think this is largely where the 4 path model comes in (each path being an indicator of a major chunk of suffering going bye-bye). The biggest drop-off is from 2nd to 3rd path, wherein I would guess 60-70% fades away. The final shift to arhatship is, at best, something like 5%. It can be hard to sense suffering at that point-- it's pretty much gone. Hence a tendency to think "Oh my god I'm done!" 400 times toward the end.

Suffering of this type is not noticeable until insight practice has occurred to some degree. So yes, you are correct-- a human doesn't know of it's suffering until some change occurs which prompts them to realize the condition of their suffering. I do not really remember well enough to say for sure, but I think it is probably pretty hard to clearly see dualistic suffering until stream entry.

I don't know if this will help, but this is how I tuned into it. When you crossed the a&p, you may have had a unitive experience. Or perhaps any other experience which made it feel like the boundaries of your mind vanished. It feels like the boundaries of your mind vanish and all tensions "on top of the head" are released. That tension is a good example of dualistic suffering. Essentially, you have to compare your before and after experience of two events and derive what may have been the suffering. The only place I can think of pre stream-entry would be to compare current experience to the a&p.

Goodluck.
Trent
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Wet Paint, modified 13 Years ago at 5/31/09 4:34 PM
Created 13 Years ago at 5/31/09 4:34 PM

RE: Source of Suffereing Rexamined

Posts: 22924 Join Date: 8/6/09 Recent Posts
Author: JefeStock

That explained a lot, but I still only see one type of suffering. The last time I passed thru the A&P event it was a suffering door imitation where it seemed like all attachment was dropped like a hot coal you noticed you've been carrying for years. Very deathlike and profound.

"It feels like the boundaries of your mind vanish and all tensions "on top of the head" are released."
So here is my analysis, tell me what you think. The actual euphoria isn't what the relieving of suffering is, its more a part of the boundless feeling you described, although not exactly the same. Its also a sense of being firmly rooted in the present moment. A huge part of it is a lack of self, but I would say that _suffering_ at least dosen't come into play until you imagine a future.

But even if there are two kinds of suffering, are you saying that the fundemental suffering lowers in the ap event but the other suffering doesn't? Whenever I've gone thru my events they always eliminate _all_ suffering. Can you see why I can't tell any difference?

I may be asking a lot here, but is there some way I could experience the difference? Experience is the final test of truth after all emoticon.
I have a very strong suspicion that there is only one type.

btw, When Danial Ingram describes experience as an arhat he says that you can still get lost in the feeling of self at times, so I don't know if this means that he still suffers when he does that or not. And if he does, than technically he is suffering from duality, right? Thats an interesting question for you arhats! Are you cured from duality ALL the time or can you stop suffering on command or something?

And I will poke and prod you guys until you guys can get me answers! emoticon
Trent S H, modified 13 Years ago at 5/31/09 5:01 PM
Created 13 Years ago at 5/31/09 5:01 PM

RE: Source of Suffereing Rexamined

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Haha, these are tricky questions. Tarin (theprisonergreco) can probably answer these a lot better than I can. I believe he worked with suffering a lot. That said, here goes.

The euphoria, relieving of suffering, being more present-oriented and a lack of self are all essentially the same event seen through various different feelings. Suffering of either type comes from a denial of "what is." Thus, fundamental suffering is a denial of being an impermanent, constantly shifting transient entity. Conventional suffering comes from a denial that something occurred, such as a death in the family. Seeing through fundamental suffering reveals something in the relationship of conventional suffering, but I don't think the same could be said for the other way around.

That said, it is entirely possible for an arhat to get "lost in their self" and suffer in the conventional sense. Is it the case that this suffering is the same as fundamental suffering? Sort of-- it feels like getting lost in a bad dream for a few minutes, then realizing you don't have to suffer for whatever it is you're dwelling on, then it can usually be released on call. Fundamental suffering, however, cannot really be commanded away. Thus, perhaps it is the case that both types of suffering feel "cage like" and share other similarities of feeling, but the difference in their causes & conditions are different (as defined throughout this thread).

Lastly, yeah I think every a&p I experienced could be said to have no suffering, but I don't know if that's universal. It's not really necessary to know, though. I think that the point of the a&p experience is to give us insight into the 3 characteristics in a way that previously were unimaginable. Thus, we are then more able to compare our experiences side by side and reason what should be investigated.

Trent
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Florian, modified 13 Years ago at 5/31/09 7:11 PM
Created 13 Years ago at 5/31/09 7:11 PM

RE: Source of Suffereing Rexamined

Posts: 1028 Join Date: 4/28/09 Recent Posts
Hi JefeStock,

Interesting! The smartass in me can't resist observing that what you're describing here sounds a lot like the "becoming" link of dependent origination, which is preceded by craving (for different circumstances) and grasping (at a different future), and succeeded by birth (in the desired future) and suffering (in the chosen future).

I'm not implying that you've simply rediscovered DO. Sounds like you're onto something profound here. Have you been able to experience this time-like property of suffering in meditation?

Cheers,
Florian
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tarin greco, modified 13 Years ago at 6/1/09 1:07 AM
Created 13 Years ago at 6/1/09 1:07 AM

RE: Source of Suffereing Rexamined

Posts: 658 Join Date: 5/14/09 Recent Posts
hi jefe,

i like your ideas, having experienced both 'kinds' of suffering, but like trent, find them to be different things, with one frequently masquerading as the other (dualistic suffering hides itself 'behind' conventional suffering by pointing your attention the other direction), as well as the former causing the latter to seem *as if* it is masquerading as the former (dualistic suffering makes it seem like conventional suffering makes it seem like dualistic suffering is the problem). the permutations of their interactions that i've seen are many, strange and bizzare, sometimes quite funny, and i have all but forgotten most of them but that they were there, now but a twinkling of understanding that things were just always the way they now are.

in my experience, dualistic suffering is the kind that shows its face most clearly during the shift from equanimity to high equanimity, and sometimes throughout it, until it too is finally 'ignored' (the subtle sensations that imply duality are no longer mis-taken as such). prior to that point (the point that it is 'ignored'), it can appear as an automatic and unquestioned desire for things to somehow sync up in a nebulous way.

now, at this point, if you are a man who truly loves himself and fears distress*, you will find yourself questioning this desire, perhaps along the lines of: 'waitaminit, what the heck, what is this sync'ing that 'i' want? and wtf is it exactly that is supposed to be sync'ing in the first place?' questioning as such, the sync'ing may or may not happen, the slip into no-future may or may not occur, but regardless, from an insight perspective, its actually the same either way.

in my opinion, what you are talking about is a matter of dualistic suffering.

(cont.)
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tarin greco, modified 13 Years ago at 6/1/09 1:07 AM
Created 13 Years ago at 6/1/09 1:07 AM

RE: Source of Suffereing Rexamined

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conventional suffering, on the other hand, encompasses a wide variety of things and their ill-effects and arguably contains dualistic suffering as well (unless you define conventional suffering as all suffering that is not dualistic). i trace the cause of conventional suffering back to desire as the feeling-felt urge or compulsion to anything at all. whether desire, in this broader sense, is something that can, practically speaking, be permanently eradicated should one wish to, is another question, and one that is only somewhat examined and not answered (to my satisfaction) by insight practice.

and you are right, imaginings of the future do not happen in the head (where memories of the past arise), they happen at the heart. so if you want to untie clinging to the future, you have to do it at the heart. this is what's called enlightenment, here, there, and anywhere i've found where people speak from their own experience.

the next question, which is one i'm not necessarily encouraging anyone here to ask, is what do you do if you want to untie the heart itself (and from experience altogether)?

tarin

*http://www.what-buddha-taught.net/Books/Ajahn_Mun_The_Ballad_of_Liberation_from_the_Khandhas.htm
Chuck Kasmire, modified 13 Years ago at 6/1/09 4:09 AM
Created 13 Years ago at 6/1/09 4:09 AM

RE: Source of Suffereing Rexamined

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tarin, nice link. Thanks, I had not seen that before.
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Wet Paint, modified 13 Years ago at 6/1/09 2:51 PM
Created 13 Years ago at 6/1/09 2:51 PM

RE: Source of Suffereing Rexamined

Posts: 22924 Join Date: 8/6/09 Recent Posts
Author: JefeStock

"Interesting! The smartass in me can't resist observing that what you're describing here sounds a lot like the "becoming" link of dependent origination, which is preceded by craving (for different circumstances) and grasping (at a different future), and succeeded by birth (in the desired future) and suffering (in the chosen future)."

Haha! Now this is worth looking into. Maybe I only noticed the grasping part of the process. I will look into this and report what I find! *army salute*

And as far as noticing different kinds of suffering, it sounds like in high equanimity fundemental suffering is very low? If this is the case it might be why I can't tell the difference. As of right now I can practically eliminate all suffering with the right concentration, so it's really hard to be able to tell if there is a kind of suffering that can't be erased at least in other parts of the insight cycle. Also, I might have had stream entry, so that could be a factor as well.

Did that make sense?

So now only one question remains, what about the discrepancy between the Four Noble Truths and Daniel Ingrams book concerning the source of suffering? Duality or Desire?
Or are they the same thing?

Thanks guys! You all rock!
.
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Jeff Grove, modified 13 Years ago at 6/1/09 3:50 PM
Created 13 Years ago at 6/1/09 3:50 PM

RE: Source of Suffereing Rexamined

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Its probably a bit like the chicken and the egg.

Sensing impermance manifests desire to be unique which helps to create the split, from duality comparison occurs which creates feelings like desire which reinforce it. Desire can also come from past memories to influence the way we see the present
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Wet Paint, modified 13 Years ago at 6/1/09 10:09 PM
Created 13 Years ago at 6/1/09 10:09 PM

RE: Source of Suffereing Rexamined

Posts: 22924 Join Date: 8/6/09 Recent Posts
Author: AngelinaChan-Ong

Let's put it this way. 3 feelings exist anytime: Up, Down, Neutral. Up is when you're happy by the association with things pleasant or dissociation with things unpleasant. Down is when you associate with things unpleasant and dissociate from those pleasant. And neutral is the state where most people say "no feeling, not happy, not sad".
When it comes to the cause of suffering, we refer firstly to the Four Noble Truth. Then we examine further into the Law of Causal Relations (Paticcasamuppada).
As you progress in your meditation, you will realise that all events are without a self. You breathe in and breathe out without you intentionally commanding it. You can tell yourself to stop breathing (!) and yet when the lungs are bursting and screaming for air, your mind that is not under your control will ask your body to betray your intentions and start seeking for air once more. You can tell yourself, "I want to fly", but your body is not listening because you're not born with wings. This is when you realise that there's an absence of "self". The future? Do you know how long you have on this earth?
So, if you wish to fly and you can't no matter how you try, you become frustrated, and that's suffering. From the first moment in the ignorance to believe that you can physically fly, it's already suffering for you have such wrong ideas. And if you go on with the command "I MUST FLY", thumping your feet and so on, it's definitely suffering. Crave for it, want it, but if it doesn't happen, you sit there and lament at your inability to fly. But once you understand there's no "self", so there's no control, you'd not have made the silly wish to fly in the first place.
Continue practicing, it will benefit you soon.
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Wet Paint, modified 13 Years ago at 6/2/09 12:35 PM
Created 13 Years ago at 6/2/09 12:35 PM

RE: Source of Suffereing Rexamined

Posts: 22924 Join Date: 8/6/09 Recent Posts
Author: msj123

When I look at the cycle of Dependent origination, I see ignorance as the first link, leading eventually to duality, leading to craving and clinging. Without a self-other, mind-body, this-that dualism, there wouldn't be any craving, for what would there be to crave?

I've been taught that the craving reinforces this duality--- when you want, you also separate into I, me, and mine.
Trent S H, modified 13 Years ago at 6/2/09 12:52 PM
Created 13 Years ago at 6/2/09 12:52 PM

RE: Source of Suffereing Rexamined

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Most of the things we crave prior to enlightenment are still desirable afterward. We're conditioned mammals trying to make sense of the world as much as any other entity. Cause and effect is inescapable. Dispassion & the untangling of perceived duality-- although it does affect our view of reality's content-- does not have to be directly applicable to those contents. Said another way, the normal processes of being human continue on, including wants & dreams, and these feelings are just as empty as all of the others. Thus, the infinite content of reality is not a specific problem. The problem, as far as suffering goes, is the way in which that content is perceived.

Trent