Monday, September 28, 2009

Bad Buddhist vs. Four Noble Truths—Dukkha

Dukkha, you win. You have stopped me and my blog in our tracks.

The First Noble Truth, dukkha, is the fact of suffering: that which gives rise to the feeling of "get me the hell out of here." The Second Noble Truth, samudaya, is the fact of the "get me the hell out of here" response. That the second follows the first is the essence of the human condition. It's so true, so universally, unmitigatedly true, that it earned the title of "noble".

Inspired by David Brazier's rejection of the idea that the second, third and fourth noble truths constitute a "cure", I was very determined to write about dukkha simply unto itself, not as a lead-in to the good part where we deal with it and feel better. But I've sat here every day for 2 months trying to do it, and everything I write has to get cut and saved for the later FNT posts — the ones about how we can free ourselves not from suffering but from suffering about our suffering. In fact, looking at my definitions above, I see I actually defined suffering as a kind of corollary to wanting suffering to end.

I can't even give dukkha its own sentence, let alone its own post. Apparently, that's how deeply and completely I want to get the hell out of its way.

This has been tormenting me for months. Neglecting my blog makes me feel irresponsible and weak. And I thought I was on such a roll with the FNTs! I've been drafting samudaya, nirodha and marga nonstop—I even have the artwork ready! But dukkha, just the raw naked fact of it all by itself . . . my mind slides right off of it.

This blog has been the "therapy" side of my practice—the place where I can whine about how hard it all is and how bad I am at it, and poke fun at the boss. But now I have this eerie feeling of being in one of those koan stories where Buddha enlightens someone by creating an experience for them, rather than explaining. Like Kisagotami, a woman who came to beg him to bring her dead child back to life. He told her to collect a mustard seed from a household that had not endured grief. After years of asking door to door, she realized there was no such household, and her wish to escape her own suffering changed into compassion for all who suffer; thus she grasped the nobility of the truth of dukkha. I also like the one about the samurai warrior who asks one of the Buddha's disciples to describe heaven and hell. The disciple says, "Why should I explain it to you, you ignorant clod?" The enraged samurai prepares to smite his critic, who quietly says, "That is hell." The samurai stops, not quite comprehending, separated from his sense of certainty. The disciple says, "That is heaven."

Well, this has been my own personal mustard seed. It's not that I really equated finishing a blog post with escaping suffering. But I feel like the boss I've been joshing just showed me why he's the boss.

If these posts are where I process my process of waking up, then maybe my failure here is a more eloquent statement than any thousand-word blob of analysis and snarky jokes would have been. I can't blog dukkha into submission. No matter how I try to take it apart, it's bigger than me. However I try to grasp it, it reminds me that I'm not here for that; I'm here to be in its grasp. Nobly so.

Thank you for the unexpected bonus, boss — I mean it.

"Life is pain, Highness. Anyone who says otherwise is selling you something." I admit I thought about just using that line as my whole post. William Goldman is probably an excellent Buddhist, even if he doesn't know it.



I thought this one might be a little too cartoon-cute-sy, until I noticed the needle through the eyeball. Now I believe.



. . . yep.
PREVIOUS POSTS

BAD BUDDHIST VS. THE FOUR NOBLE TRUTHS – ALL OF 'EM
BAD BUDDHIST VS. BROUHAHA
BAD BUDDHIST VS. THE LORD (AND CELINE DION)
BAD BUDDHIST VS. BOURGEOIS HEROES
BAD BUDDHIST VS. YOGA
BAD BUDDHIST VS. THE EIGHTH PRECEPT
BAD BUDDHIST VS. THE SEVENTH PRECEPT
BAD BUDDHIST VS. THE SIXTH PRECEPT
BAD BUDDHIST VS. THE FIFTH PRECEPT
BAD BUDDHIST VS. THE FOURTH PRECEPT
BAD BUDDHIST VS. THE THIRD PRECEPT
BAD BUDDHIST VS. THE SECOND PRECEPT
BAD BUDDHIST VS. THE FIRST PRECEPT
BAD BUDDHIST VS. BREATHING
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25 comments:

  1. I just found your site.

    You sound like a pretty good Buddhist to me :)

    I'll continue to read your site if you continue to update.

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  2. I remember the time when I found this blog. It was 1 year ago, and it was good.

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  3. I will have a link to your blog on my blog even if it fucking kills me.
    T.

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  4. You are not a bad Buddhist. I like your article.

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  5. Nice post!

    I find the four noble truths most helpful.

    Whenever we're present, we can use them for reflection...

    That's a great way to deepen one's understanding of the teachings.

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  6. Nice article on bad buddha..

    Do You Know ..? Meditation is not contemplation. Meditation is not concentration. Meditation is a state of being. It is a state of awareness. Meditation is not about doing something; rather it is about doing nothing. So Check out more Intresting techniques and Guidene about Maditation only at [Gurumaa.com]

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  7. Do or do not there is no try- Yoda

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  8. I'm a bad Buddhist in that I love the Buddha but find the discipline of Buddhism very difficult to do as my mind cannot be stilled. Still it's work in progress and Buddhism is the only philosophy that I can believe in in my heart and head. Do you need to swear though - you know what the great man said about bad language you naughty boy.

    Many thanks though for sharing your story - the world turns and we move closer to our conclusion - we are the same cosmic dust with just a transient mind that briefly gets in the way of eternity.

    Kind regards

    Ian

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  9. Your being honest with yourself is good enough proof that you are on the right track. So just keep trying and try focusing a little harder. You're not alone.

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  10. Yes dukkha I am agree with your threats if another small 4 facts do better against an religious going trends and trust.. Thanks for posting like his..

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  11. During his youth, Siddharta excelled in school and lived the life of an exemplary prince. During Siddharta's adolescent years, his father was criticized for not educating his son in physical skills and military arts. Because of this criticism, a contest was arranged in which Siddharta competed with neighboring princes. Several descriptions of the details of the contest are recorded in various texts and in each, Siddharta emerges victorious. One of the most interesting contests was the archery competition in which Siddharta won by stringing a bow that no other contestant could string and shooting an arrow through seven trees to hit a target behind a tree and ultimately kill a boar on the far side of the target. Similar results occurred in all other events of the contest.

    A key feature of the narrative is that the Buddha's cousin, Devadatta ("Servant of the God") is bested in all of these events and as a result becomes Siddharta's bitter nemesis.

    Find real life instances of Lord Buddha, I’ve seen this incredible collection on Tanu's Craft a hand made craft portal, each figure is related with his life history.

    visit: http://www.tanuscraft.com
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  12. i really liked your insightful information about Buddhist and i will coninue to read it its a very good Blog :)

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  13. i will continue to read your blogg it has alot of good information !!

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  14. Blog more! Your blog is awesome and inspiring! The world needs more "bad buddhists" willing to share their journey :)

    Pretty pretty please write more!!!

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  15. I LOVE this blog... I was just looking up a picture to post on mine that would fit the caption, "I feel like I'm a bad Buddhist."

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  16. Thank heaven's there are no issues with humour like there are with dancing, singing and evil mimes......Your blog is exemplary!!

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  17. I really like this blog. It's very honest, raw and personal. A brave and rare mix. More please!

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  18. Nice contents really. Buddha preached many sutras or methods to cater to the style of the audience he was dealing with. I'm sure if Buddha is around today, he would have made a badass version for some of us :)

    Beautiful phrases doesn't make something seem more when it's lacking. And crude phrases doesn't mask the brilliance of a lesson too when it's truly awesome-inspiring.

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  19. Had to find truth in its purest form. Found it here.

    Thanks for posting.

    David
    TheOrdinaryBuddha.wordpress.com

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