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How is the exterior suffering?


#1

How does the exterior is suffering?

In this Sutta series from SN35.140 it says the following.

Eye etc and its objects are impermanence, notself, and suffering.
I understand all except that eye etc and its objects are suffering.
For instance, if my eye arises as a result of a physical object, how the physical object is suffering?


#2

As an example, ice-cream is unsatisfactory because it melts and can make you fat if consumed regularly. :yum:


#3

As long as there is clinging/aversion/mental proliferation, the sense objects are unsatisfactory or pain inducing. However, when the seen is just the seen, the heard, just the heard, the cognized, just the cognized, you have reached the end of stress:

Bāhiya, you should train yourself thus: In what is seen there must be only what is seen, in what is heard there must be only what is heard, in what is sensed there must be only what is sensed, in what is cognized there must be only what is cognized.

https://suttacentral.net/ud1.10/en/anandajoti


#4

I think you’re getting tripped up by the translation of “dukkha” as “suffering” which makes it sound (in English) like the objects are feeling pain!

But in Pali, dukkha is a characteristic not a verb. I suggest replacing “suffering” with “unsatisfactory” and see if that clears up your confusion: “The exterior is unsatisfactory”


#5

Agree.
This is the point I am trying to make here.
Bhante @sujato What is your opinion on this?


#6

The eye is from and gives rise to form, and in nibbida it might feel like this.

A virtuous monk should attend in an appropriate way to these five clinging-aggregates as inconstant, stressful, a disease, a cancer, an arrow, painful, an affliction, alien, a dissolution, an emptiness, not-self. For it is possible that a virtuous monk, attending in an appropriate way to these five clinging-aggregates as inconstant… not-self, would realize the fruit of stream-entry." SN22.122.


#7

"Insofar as it disintegrates, monk, it is called the ‘world.’ Now what disintegrates? The eye disintegrates. Forms disintegrate. Consciousness at the eye disintegrates. Contact at the eye disintegrates. And whatever there is that arises in dependence on contact at the eye — experienced as pleasure, pain or neither-pleasure-nor-pain — that too disintegrates.

"The ear disintegrates. Sounds disintegrate…
"The nose disintegrates. Aromas disintegrate…
"The tongue disintegrates. Tastes disintegrate…
"The body disintegrates. Tactile sensations disintegrate…

"The intellect disintegrates. Ideas disintegrate. Consciousness at the intellect consciousness disintegrates. Contact at the intellect disintegrates. And whatever there is that arises in dependence on contact at the intellect — experienced as pleasure, pain or neither-pleasure-nor-pain — that too disintegrates.

“Insofar as it disintegrates, it is called the ‘world.’” sn35.82 Loka Sutta: The World

The Blessed One said: "And what is the origination of the world? Dependent on the eye & forms there arises eye-consciousness. The meeting of the three is contact. From contact as a requisite condition comes feeling. From feeling as a requisite condition comes craving. From craving as a requisite condition comes clinging/sustenance. From clinging/sustenance as a requisite condition comes becoming. From becoming as a requisite condition comes birth. From birth as a requisite condition, then aging & death, sorrow, lamentation, pain, distress, & despair come into play. This is the origination of the world. sn12.44 Loka Sutta: The World

That in the world by which one is a perceiver of the world, a conceiver of the world—this is called the world in the Noble One’s Discipline. And what, friends, is that in the world by which one is a perceiver of the world, a conceiver of the world? The eye is that in the world by which one is a perceiver of the world, a conceiver of the world . The ear … The nose … The tongue … The body … The mind is that in the world by which one is a perceiver of the world, a conceiver of the world. That in the world by which one is a perceiver of the world, a conceiver of the world—this is called the world in the Noble One’s Discipline. sn35.116 SuttaCentral

  • In the world there are Internal phenomena which when grasped with wrong view are taken to be self, are self-referable and personal for this or that person.

  • In the world there are External phenomena which when grasped with wrong view are taken to be self, are self-referable and personal for another person.

  • A person consists of 6 elements, four primary elements + space element and consciousness element.

  • In the world Consciousness element does not come into play everywhere, does not arise anywhere, it arises only due to certain causes and conditions. It arises ie in mother’s womb for this or that being.

So as i think about it in the world there are phenomena which do not have consciousness, these consist only of the four great elements and space (perhaps it is appropriate here to add derivatives but afaik this is incorrect because the derivatives of great elements are supports for consciousness);

The point is that whether internal or external, Form [Four Great Elements] and Space are impermanent, impermanence is associated with change, change is associated with stress, therefore nothing in the world is to be regarded as pleasant.


#8

I undestand the four great elements to be abstractions, based on the derived form (sense-objects) that we actually experience.


#9

We cannot say how well these abstractions reflect ‘objects’ in the ‘real’ world; as we can only sense the abstraction and not the real world. ‘It arises’ and therefore the it cannot be said that the world doesn’t exist, as in SN12.15 Kaccayanagotta sutta. It vanishes, in nibbana (or cessation, nirodha), so the abstraction that we sense as the world, cannot be said to be the reality either.


#10

And yet in MN1 the Tathagata knows the elements directly, so presumably not as abstractions. "He directly knows earth as earth… "


#11

Here he knows the bare stimuli, with no ‘conventional reality’ of selves added. He knows the abstraction as an abstraction and not an ontological truth


#12

There are three types of Dukkha.
Dukkha Dukkha, Viparinama Dukkha and Samsara Dukkha.
In my opinion all three above meanings are not conveyed by translating the word Dukkha as “suffering”


#13

There seem to be different interpretations of those three types of dukkha.
And is the OP “exterior” dukkha different to these three, or the same?
Too many dukkhas! :laughing:


#14

Or is it Sankāra Dukkah? as in the Encyclopedia of Buddhism? Or as glossed similarly here, are

The Types of Suffering

The first of these types of suffering is called Dukkha-dukkha . Suffering-suffering. The obvious suffering in situations where things cause you physical or mental pain.

The second kind of suffering is called Viparinama-dukkha . Suffering due to transformation or change. This means that even the most pleasurable things can cause you suffering when they begin to change and pass away.

The third kind of suffering is Sankhara-dukkha . Suffering due to conditioned states. This category of dukkha is associated with pleasurable things that can cause pain even in the midst of the pleasure, if that pleasure is based in an illusion about the nature of the object, or even about the nature of the self.

@Martin each of these three can be observed internally (one’s own suffering) or externally (the suffering of others). So your sum might be 2 x 3 = 6. :smiley:


#15

The OP sutta appears to say that sense objects “out there” are inherently dukkha. But if that’s the case, then how is the cessation of dukkha possible?


#16

The goal isn’t to continue in a perfected state for ever and ever. Sickness, old age and death. I wouldn’t want to be a 500 year old arahanth!


#17

But again, if sickness, old age and death are viewed as inherently dukkha, then cessation of dukkha would not be possible.

Is dukkha a purely mental thing, or is it an inherent aspect of existence, as suggested by its inclusion in the three marks teaching? Are these actually different meanings of dukkha?


#18

I have held that dukkha doesn’t all end at once. The ending of samsara is a valid goal, thereby stopping disease, old age etc.


#19

So in your view the Arahant is still subject to dukkha? Which aspects of dukkha, specifically?


#20

Good question.
What Buddha asking is why we take external factors subject to Anicca , Dukkha and Anatta as I me and myself.
The objective of Buddha’s teaching is not to make external factors attain Nibbana.
Even Buddha has passed away, the external factors are still subject to Anicca, Dukkha and Anatta.