Bhikkhu Bodhi on Nibbāna

Then we need to go deeper dive into the 3 types of sufferings.

From the post above due to the sutta quoted there, there’s no negative mental states for the arahants. No anger, aversion, unpleasant mental feelings.

So the 3 types of sufferings, the first one on unpleasant feelings, is half of them gotten rid of by arahants. The mental half. Physical unpleasant feelings is still possible. But basically, the mental part is actually not half but basically the majority of suffering.

3rd suffering of conditionality is obvious for arahants. Still have to eat, go to toilet etc. Or suffer the physical unpleasant feeling of not taking care of the body. This includes having a mind. The arahant’s mind is also conditioned. If hearing good dhamma can get happiness, if get into deep meditation can get happiness. But even the baseline of non-geeed, hatred and delusion is already great happiness. Just that like the sutta which says even fame is dangerous for the arahant for preventing happiness in the here and now, arahants also need time and seculsion for deep meditation for more happiness. That is a very subtle sense of unsatisfactoriness.

2nd suffering of change I am a bit ambiguous about. On the one hand, without clinging or craving there should be no issue with dealing with change, on the other hand, the 5 aggregates of arahants obviously are still subject to change. So even the meditation of cessation of perception and feeling is temporary and unsatisfactory due to that. It’s very subtle. I heard the rule of not storing food is because an arahant monk did it so that he could go into cessation for 7 days, come out, heat up the stored food and eat, then go back in quickly and repeat. So to have the need to come out and eat, that itself is a form of subtle suffering. He clearly just prefers to be in cessation all the time if he could.

The 5 aggregates are marked with suffering even beyond craving is due to impermanence. What is impermanent is unsatisfactory.