I disagree, suffering is correct. What ever you manage to get, you will loose and that includes life itself. Whatever you build will be destroyed. Whatever you think you know, will be forgotten. If you are free from clinging to your body, your possessions, your life, your friends and family, your intelligence and so on you are free from suffering.
All that may be true, but as you say, if you don't have expectations of permanence, then those changes won't lead to suffering.
For example, if I eat a huge meal, and thinking thus, "having eaten such a large meal, I shall never be hungry again" I will be very disappointed in a day or two to find out that indeed, although the meal filled me up, I am hungry again. That is because I have expected some sort of permanent satisfaction
from something which, being a composite to begin with, is only temporary and can only provide a temporary, conditional experience.
if I eat a huge meal, knowing full well that the satisfaction from that meal is only temporary, then not only do I not suffer from the delusion that the meal would be permanently satisfying, but I can also enjoy
the meal without attachment, and not worry that i am somehow being too self-indulgent or whatever.
I once heard a very good talk about suffering and yes, it is not a good translation for Dukkha
. Dukkha instead suggests or refers to a kind of built-in dissatisfaction. The example that was given was something like this :
Suppose you are at the airport to greet someone that you have not seen for many years, somebody that you miss dearly, maybe your mother or somebody like that. They get off the plane and walk into the terminal and you see each other and immediately rush up and hug each other. It is the very best thing you could ever feel. This moment is so intense, maybe you are both crying with inexpressible joy.
Now, logically, since this moment is so wonderful, logically you should just want to stand there and hug forever. Not for a minute or two minutes, but for an hour, a day, two days, a week, just stand there in the airport and just keep hugging until you both die. Why not? This is the best thing in the whole world. you have never felt happier in your whole life. Who could possibly want it to stop?
But after a few minutes of embracing, you actually want to stop and go do something else...get the luggage, go eat lunch or whatever. None of the activities that follow will be as great as the moment you just shared, but you have the desire to do something else now, something different. Standing there hugging, as great as it is, is no longer satisfying.
That lack of satisfaction, even dissatisfaction with something pleasurable ,
that is dukkha. It is very, very basic, but it underscores everything, If things keep changing we want stability. If things aren't changing fast enough, we feel bored. If it is cool out, we put on a sweater. If it is warm out, we turn on a fan. It has nothing to do with the circumstances or what we would call "external conditions' of things. It has to do with the defining characteristic of "human realm", which is a gnawing dissatisfaction.
Dukkha refers to a kind of basic, very subtle, restlessness. From that restlessness, the more obvious expressions of suffering, being bored, worrying about stuff, and so on occur.