Anicca, Dukkha, Anatta in relation to Dhamma and Various Types of Sankhara

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    • #32617
      Lal
      Keymaster

      The folowing post is from TripleGemStudent:

      Upekkha said:

      1) Sabbe sankhara annica
      2) Sabbe sankhara dukkha
      3) Sabbe dhamma anatta

      I want to address the second phrase “Sabbe sankhara dukkha” first.

      – I have mostly been contemplating on this verse and as well on dukkha for the last week. I pretty much reached the same conclusion as Lal’s last post.

      The most subtle understanding in regards to sabbe sankhara dukkha is what Lal exactly said

      “TWO: There is also suffering associated in real-time, as one is generating sankhara. Those can be both “mental stress” and associated physical work (effort involved in speaking and doing things). Even when an Arahant does sankhara (not abhisankhara) to engage in daily activities, they are suffering (i.e., some effort is associated with ANY activity). It seems that Upekkha has been mostly focused on this type.”

      “the only thing that may not be clear could be that the sankhara generated by an Arahant would also be “mildly stressful”. There will be “an effort” associated with any kind of activity. Furthermore, an Arahant is also subjected to kamma vipaka and thus may suffer via old age, diseases, etc. All suffering ends only at Parinibbana.”

      – I would like to add something as well. From my contemplation, another way to understand/see Sabbe sankhara dukkha is that having to do any sankhara IN THE FIRST PLACE is suffering. Having body, there’s so many sankhara’s that the body itself needs to do to keep us alive and as well we need to do sankhara to manage our bodies. For example, we all need to breath, but if any diseases or causes that would make our breathing difficult, it would cause us some form of suffering, at least discomfort. In regards to learning the Buddha Dhamma, to me that’s still sabbe sankhara dukkha, because I need to do sankhara so that I can put an end to this rebirth process. In order for me to learn and practice the Buddha Dhamma, I need a body, I need to breath, I need a mind, I need food, I need shelter, etc . . . If my mind isn’t functioning properly or missing any of the requirements that keeps me alive, then I can’t even contemplate/learn/practice the Buddha Dhamma. Having to learn/practice the Buddha Dhamma IN THE FIRST PLACE IS SUFFERING. If I could have it the way I like/desire/wish, I would like to snap my finger and attain Nibbana right here and now, but that’s not how it works.

      Even though sabbe sankhara dukkha and because of this jati. I need to do sankhara NO MATTER WHAT to manage this jati and to learn/practice the Buddha Dhamma. It’s like Lal said “All suffering ends only at Parinibbana.” or another way to look at it “All sankhara ends only at Parinibbana”

      The best example that I can come up with is imagine our bodies or the Buddha Dhamma as a raft that is needed to cross the river. As long as I want to cross the river, I need to get on this raft (have/manage a body or learn/practice the Buddha Dhamma) and paddle or manage my body (sankhara) to get across the river. Once I have cross the river, then this raft is no longer needed and if I have put a stop to the rebirth process and die, then no more sankhara.

      It would be best if I was already on the other side of the river, not needing the raft (body, jati) or learn/practice the Buddha Dhamma (doing sankhara) to cross the river IN THE FIRST PLACE. But that’s not the case since we’re all here right now, we have no choice but to do sankhara. The Buddha Dhamma helps us to put a stop/end to the rebirth process, thereby ending of all future suffering (or ending of all sankhara’s), but we need to do sankhara by learning/practice the Buddha dhamma to put an end to this rebirth process. Until we put a stop to the rebirth process, we’ll always have to do some form of sankhara thereby Dukkha. For me, this is one way to see/understand/know Dukkha.

      I realized that to be able to understand/see/know Dukkha is not simply by the vedana dukkha, but by sabbe sankhara dukkha yadha panniya passathi. (I believe I saw this verse from one of Waharaka Thero’s translated discourses). Realization of dukkha through wisdom and not through the vedana citta’s.

      with Metta!

    • #32621
      Lal
      Keymaster

      “Realization of dukkha through wisdom and not through the vedana citta’s”

      That is exactly right.
      – The Noble Truth of Suffering is NOT the dukkha vedana.
      – The cause of those dukkha vedana is the craving for sensory pleasures (kama assada). That is the Noble Truth on suffering.
      – To stop future suffering one must remove those cravings for sense pleasures. That is not easy to do. The first step is just to realize the truth of that statement. That understanding starts at the Sotapanna Anugami stage and is firmly established in the mind at the Sotapanna phala moment.
      – Then the cravings for sense pleasures start to reduce at the Sakadagami stage and mostly go away only at the Anagami stage.

      I will start a new series soon to explain that in yet a different way.

      To put it in another way:
      – An average human thinks that sense pleasures are good and one must seek them. Sankhara dukkha is mostly associated with such pursuits of sense pleasures.
      The Buddha taught that reality is the other way around. Craving for sense pleasures leads to future suffering.
      – However, that craving CANNOT be removed by will power. The first step is to clearly SEE (and understand) why the Buddha said that. It is embedded in Paticca Samuppada. The series of steps that lead to suffering start with “avijja paccaya sankhara”. It is those (abhi)sankhara (done with avijja) that lead to future suffering.

    • #32625
      Lal
      Keymaster

      The folowing post is from TripleGemStudent:

      Key words Lal always says “future suffering” and “suffering in the rebirth process”. It sounds so simple, but it really has deep meanings, not easy to understand on a deep level at all . . .

      Lal says:

      “Craving for sense pleasures leads to future suffering.”

      Seeing from the sankhara perspective, we do abhisankhara to chase these kama assada’s and we end up with jati’s (we’ll use a body for this example). In return, we end up having to do more sankhara to manage our bodies and if we chase kama assada’s while managing our body, we end up doing more abhisankhara. It’s like . . . abhisankhara —> sankhara —-> abhisankhara —–> sankhara . . . It’s like a vicious cycle -_-;;

      After my last post, there was something that I realized, I apologize if some of you already know this or seem so simple. I thought I would share anyways because I didn’t realize it or were able to see it this way.

      I believe that all sankhara is suffering because there’s always a mental/physical exertion/strain component to it. Living and learning/practicing the Buddha Dhamma, we’ll always need to do some form of sankhara. For instance, we need food, be able to breath, mental energy, etc . . . What I didn’t realize was that NOT being able to do sankhara to manage oneself when one has a body is dukkha as well !! It’s like I’m in dukkha either way. . .

      Of course having attained Nibbana and not having to do any sankhara’s in the first place is the most ideal . . . But that’s not the case for all of us, since we’re all here right now . . .

      Imagine for us not being able to do/carry out the necessary sankhara’s to learn/practice the Buddha Dhamma, that would be the greatest suffering. At anytime unexpected situations like illness, body pains, mundane affairs can interfere with our ability to learn/practice the Buddha Dhamma or even our ability to do the necessary sankhara’s to live a comfortable life. I have to do sankhara to live, learn/practice Buddha Dhamma, but if I can’t do the necessary sankhara’s to manage myself, learn/practice the Buddha Dhamma, I suffer too!!

      Sabbe sankhara dukkha . . . Yup sounds about right . . .

      I think I might have realized something as well . . . Anyone please feel free to share your thoughts/opinions… To me it seems like:

      Sabbe sankhara annica
      Sabbe sankhara dukkha
      Sabbe dhamma anatta

      and

      Taṃ kiṃ maññatha, bhikkhave, rūpaṃ niccaṃ vā aniccaṃ vā”ti?

      “Aniccaṃ, Bhante.”
      “Yaṃ panāniccaṃ dukkhaṃ vā taṃ sukhaṃ vā”ti?

      “Dukkhaṃ, Bhante.”

      “Yaṃ panāniccaṃ dukkhaṃ vipari­ṇāma­dhammaṃ, kallaṃ nu taṃ samanupassituṃ: ‘etaṃ mama, esohamasmi, eso me attā’”ti?

      Is the same, but worded differently? If it’s the same, then would it be appropriate for me to substitute the word “sankhara” for rupa, vedana, sanna, vinnana? Like:

      Sabbe rupa anicca
      Sabbe rupa dukkha
      Sabbe dhamma anatta

      etc . . .

      I already know/see/understand that the panca upadanakhhanda CAUSES suffering, but I have been contemplating on to see if the pancakkhanda IS (not cause :)) suffering. I think I might have my answer and be able to give the reasons for my answer. But I’ll save that for another post.

    • #32627
      Lal
      Keymaster

      “I already know/see/understand that the panca upadanakhhanda CAUSES suffering, but I have been contemplating on to see if the pancakkhanda IS (not cause :)) suffering.”

      That is a subtle point, It may depend on how one uses words to describe “meanings.”

      The way I look at it is as follows.
      – If there is a bottle of poison on the table, it is not going to hurt anyone.
      – But if one drinks that, one will be subjected to suffering.

      In the same way, pancakkhandha is like a bottle of poison.
      – One will be subjected to suffering if one craves pancakkhandha, i.e., it is pancupadanakkhandha that leads to FUTURE suffering.

      For example, an Arahant has removed part of suffering in this life. That is sankhara dukkha (an Arahant would not generate (abhi)sankhara, and thus “samphssa-ja-vadana” would not arise in an Arahant.
      – However, dukkha vedana due to past kamma will still bring suffering until the death of the physical body.

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