Physics, labeling, emptiness and essence

I think you might be attached to mapping dukkha as mental suffering.

There’s no separating dukkha from impermanence, if impermanence can be called unconditioned, so too can dukkha, as a meta-rule (dhamma). As manifestation, impermanence is not there for after parinibbāna, so too dukkha is not there. So manifestation-wise, they are both conditioned and caused due to the presence of things to be conditioned and absent when there’s nothing to be conditioned.

You don’t see how seeing dukkha as unconditioned (not subject to arising, not subject to ceasing) is in contradiction to the four noble truths? :pray:

(IMO) This is a misunderstanding of language, which I pointed out in my post. Dukkha in the four noble truths is not the same as dukkha in the three characteristics (dukkhatā). The three characteristics apply to the things in the category of the first noble truth (aggregates, sense spheres, elements, etc.).

Dukkhatā is not “caused”. It’s just a fact about how things are. However, dukkha, by this definition, would be caused. It is a term for the things that are anicca, dukkha, anattā.

Do you see the distinction here @yeshe.tenley ? I’m not sure if I’ve communicated it clearly. Here is a sutta example:

“Mendicants, there are these four noble truths. What four? The noble truths of suffering, the origin of suffering, the cessation of suffering, and the practice that leads to the cessation of suffering.
And what is the noble truth of suffering? You should say: ‘The six interior sense fields’. What six? The sense fields of the eye, ear, nose, tongue, body, and mind.
SN 56.14

Here, ‘dukkha’ in the first noble truth refers to conditioned things. Here, the conditioned things are explained as the six sense fields. The six sense fields are not uncaused. They are caused by the second noble truth, as is standard. But the anicca, dukkha, anattā characteristic of them is not a conditioned thing per se, though they are dependent on the conditions to be spoken of.

Also, as an aside, the Prajñaparamita Sutras do precisely say that dukkha does not arise or cease. And there they seem to mean dukkha in the four noble truths.

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Ain’t it all though :joy:

Multiple problems arise with this presentation to my mind. In no particular order:

  • The three characteristics are not actually characterizing though or at least not in the same way. You might say that impermanent and dukkha are characterizing the conditioned from the unconditioned, but not-self does not so characterize in that both the conditioned and the unconditioned lack essence.
  • This is supported by the so-called fourth characteristic - which does not actually characterize - in the EA: Nibbana is peace.
  • There is a sutta that declares the characterization between the conditioned and the unconditioned: AN 3.47 and there it is impermanence which characterizes the conditioned from the unconditioned; ie subject to arising/ceasing/changing.
  • The three marks (so as to disambiguate) do not use the word dukkhatā but rather use the word dukkha as in, “sabbe saṅkhārā dukkhā.”
  • You’re effectively changing the four noble truths to:
  1. There is conditioned phenomena
  2. There is the origin of conditioned phenomena
  3. There is the cessation of conditioned phenomena
  4. There is a path to the cessation of conditioned phenomena
  • This is the formulation you prefer and it is your contention that the cessation of conditioned phenomena arises dependent upon the abandonment of desire? and with the letting go of desire conditioned things cease?
  • Can you say how a rock (a conditioned thing) arises due to desire and ceases due to the letting go of desire? A river? Sand on a beach?
  • Are we getting into the ‘internal/external’ question and how we divide them again??


PS Maybe we should move this to the dukkha thread as it does feel like it is getting a bit off-track and we’re back to discussing what dukkha is? @NgXinZhao let us know if you see this as derailing this thread…

I guess I was just using inherently as an emphasis, as in, there’s something about perception itself – about the act of dividing up experience into chunks – that’s arbitrary, that requires a view, bias, etc. that cannot really be justified on any basis … except by the consequences of doing it.

In other words, there is no spoon, unless one wants to eat a bowl of soup! :spoon:

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This is what I thought was happening. It is funny to me my own proclivity to use ‘inherent’, ‘real’, ‘fundamental’ and other such words as emphasis and I think it is not a coincidence, but rather speaking of a deeply ingrained habit I have had for a very long time of seeing the world as having essence in a way that it just doesn’t. :pray:

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I didn’t know it was up to the OP’s decision. I don’t mind.

Nothing wrong there as far as I see it.

I think perhaps a distinction should be made between concepts (conventional reality) vs ultimate truths (conditioned and unconditioned phenomenon).

Laws of nature belong to concepts, that’s why they are not subject to change. Whereas all conditioned things are subject to change.

The dhamma, 4 noble truths, 3 universal characteristics, are eternal, it makes sense to classify them under concepts.

Let’s say you insist on dukkha is caused.

So 1st noble truth is dukkha.

So 1st noble truth is impermanent? Because all caused things are impermanent. So sometimes life is dukkha, sometimes not?

As opposed to the more common sense thing that before dukkha is ended, 1st noble truth applies, after dukkha is ended completely at parinibbāna, 1st noble truth has nothing to apply to (for the “person” who got extinguished), but still applies for those still living and reborn.

Because laws of nature are not subject to impermanence, they are also not to be considered as dukkha. Thus the 3 universal characteristics themselves are not actually dukkha. Thus they don’t need to be caused, and be subject to arising and ceasing. Including the truth of all conditioned things are dukkha. Conditioned things arises and ceases, but laws of nature are eternal. 4 Noble truths applies to conditioned things, not to the laws of nature themselves.

Hmm… which reminds me that Sabine’s 9 level of nothingness cannot neatly map to our notion of parinibbāna, because she threw out laws of nature as well. Anyway, quite a lot to explore philosophically speaking.

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