Enlightenment is not about not experiencing; in that sense dukkha may have been used to indicate something unpleasant, but it goes on to say he was unperturbed (and that's the part that keeps being left out; it's one full explanation, don't stop at "dukkha"). This is what enlightenment is; all things are experienced, but the 'one who knows', that awareness, does not grasp at the experience; pleasure and pain are the same, gain and loss, praise and blame... none of these are clung to. That is what it's all about, and it seems easy to get stuck on the words; this says this, that says that. All experiences are seen as transient, not self and bound with dukkha; they are not grasped at, not clung to, only experienced.
The Buddha is credited with saying many times it is only through not understanding, not fully penetrating these Four Noble Truths that one remains bound in Samsara. Does it make sense that you don't understand dukkha? Yes. Will you? Yes. As I'm not Ajahn Cloud, I may not be the one to explain it. In fact no one may. Where real understanding arises is within your very mind; others can only help create supporting conditions for that understanding to arise, because for you they are all sights, sounds, tastes, touch, smells and thoughts.
The Tipitaka is really really large, so I would give advice to study the Four Noble Truths and all related commentary exclusively until this understanding arises, and don't leave out practice! Practice is where this conceptual understanding, once right view, will develop further. Take this advice as you will, remembering that I'm not a teacher; life is your teacher, your mind the subject to study.
Also, you don't have to just study the Tipitaka and its commentaries. There have been many books written by those who have understood that present the teachings in ways that may be easier to understand. The focus should not be on the words, but the meaning, and the meaning of the Tipitaka may be difficult because of its size; we try to delineate and read parts, and so may not get the "whole", even though the whole is just expounding upon these Four Noble Truths. Each mind is at a different state of conditioning so to speak, and understanding may arise at any time from even one sentence or one word; find the teachings wherever they may be, not just in the Tipitaka.
Last edited by Cloud
on Tue Dec 21, 2010 9:11 pm, edited 3 times in total.