Sabbe sankhara dukkha - how to observe this Dhamma?

General discussion of issues related to Theravada Meditation, e.g. meditation postures, developing a regular sitting practice, skillfully relating to difficulties and hindrances, etc.
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retrofuturist
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Sabbe sankhara dukkha - how to observe this Dhamma?

Postby retrofuturist » Mon Apr 26, 2010 5:55 am

Greetings,

"Sabbe sankhara dukkha" can be translated as "all formations are suffering".

How does one come to see this truth for themselves experientially, rather than to simply accept it as a matter of faith, or as a working hypothesis?

For what purpose must it be known experientially to be true?

:meditate:

Feel free to explore this question in any way you deem might be profitable.

Metta,
Retro. :)
"Do not force others, including children, by any means whatsoever, to adopt your views, whether by authority, threat, money, propaganda, or even education." - Ven. Thich Nhat Hanh

"The uprooting of identity is seen by the noble ones as pleasurable; but this contradicts what the whole world sees." (Snp 3.12)

"To argue with a person who has renounced the use of reason is like administering medicine to the dead" - Thomas Paine

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Re: Sabbe sankhara dukkha - how to observe this Dhamma?

Postby tiltbillings » Mon Apr 26, 2010 6:17 am


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Re: Sabbe sankhara dukkha - how to observe this Dhamma?

Postby retrofuturist » Mon Apr 26, 2010 6:26 am

"Do not force others, including children, by any means whatsoever, to adopt your views, whether by authority, threat, money, propaganda, or even education." - Ven. Thich Nhat Hanh

"The uprooting of identity is seen by the noble ones as pleasurable; but this contradicts what the whole world sees." (Snp 3.12)

"To argue with a person who has renounced the use of reason is like administering medicine to the dead" - Thomas Paine

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Re: Sabbe sankhara dukkha - how to observe this Dhamma?

Postby Ben » Mon Apr 26, 2010 6:28 am

Its good to see that transcription effort getting such great usage!
“No lists of things to be done. The day providential to itself. The hour. There is no later. This is later. All things of grace and beauty such that one holds them to one's heart have a common provenance in pain. Their birth in grief and ashes.”
- Cormac McCarthy, The Road

Learn this from the waters:
in mountain clefts and chasms,
loud gush the streamlets,
but great rivers flow silently.
- Sutta Nipata 3.725

(Buddhist aid in Myanmar) • •

e: [email protected]..

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Re: Sabbe sankhara dukkha - how to observe this Dhamma?

Postby Reductor » Mon Apr 26, 2010 6:29 am

How is sankhara stressful, and how does one see that?

If you define it as 'what has come to be or is coming to be', like the body, or feelings, then you might say that stress comes when they change against our will. But this is obvious, for who hasn't noticed this fact already? Feeling good while eating a decedent meal gives way to indigestion, orgasm gives way to neutrality. Happy gives way to sad. Easy to see, if you choose one series of events to pay attention to, eg contemplation of food while you're eating, the act of having sex, getting up in the morning, showers (who doesn't hate when the hot water runs out? :smile: )

But if you consider the other side of sankhara, the volition, then the answer is more subtle, and does require mental stillness. For when the mind is much quieter than normal life, then each time the mind changes the object its focusing on you can see that this change of focus was volitional. This change of focus, when it happens in a state otherwise still, is jarring. Even very, very, very slight changes of focus are jarring, because they are based on a comparison of one state of being to another. 'not still enough!' so attention is directed more closely to the breath. 'not alert enough' 'where is the space' 'where is nibbana'. Each time there is a desire for something to 'be', then there is a change of focus, and what 'was' is now lost and often lamented, or what is gained is good, but just doesn't seem good enough, not for long.

In the end there is a realization that to compare the current state to a possible future state will result in shifting attention, which is bothersome. Comparing the current state to a past one is the same. Becoming attached to the current state and not hankering over the past or future state is better, but still not good enough. Even if you stop hankering over past things and future things, you realize that the current stillness and peace is also being willed, and with one perception of 'not quite', the mind will change places again, and what is lost will be longed for, what gained will not be satisfactory.

... Boy, that was long winded. Ha.

As you might gather, I do feel that the most subtle manifestations of sankhara and the dukkha arising therefrom are not easily knowable without jhana. So, I would suggest to anyone, anywhere, no matter what their life is like, that they give some thought to developing jhana. In regular mental states the changing of attention is so fast and all pervasive that it is not really noticed in and of itself - because there is no 'stillness' to contrast it to.

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Re: Sabbe sankhara dukkha - how to observe this Dhamma?

Postby tiltbillings » Mon Apr 26, 2010 6:34 am


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Re: Sabbe sankhara dukkha - how to observe this Dhamma?

Postby retrofuturist » Mon Apr 26, 2010 6:47 am

"Do not force others, including children, by any means whatsoever, to adopt your views, whether by authority, threat, money, propaganda, or even education." - Ven. Thich Nhat Hanh

"The uprooting of identity is seen by the noble ones as pleasurable; but this contradicts what the whole world sees." (Snp 3.12)

"To argue with a person who has renounced the use of reason is like administering medicine to the dead" - Thomas Paine

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Re: Sabbe sankhara dukkha - how to observe this Dhamma?

Postby acinteyyo » Mon Apr 26, 2010 6:59 am

Thag 1.20. Ajita - I do not fear death; nor do I long for life. I’ll lay down this body, aware and mindful.

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Re: Sabbe sankhara dukkha - how to observe this Dhamma?

Postby acinteyyo » Mon Apr 26, 2010 7:04 am

Last edited by acinteyyo on Mon Apr 26, 2010 7:09 am, edited 1 time in total.
Thag 1.20. Ajita - I do not fear death; nor do I long for life. I’ll lay down this body, aware and mindful.

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Re: Sabbe sankhara dukkha - how to observe this Dhamma?

Postby tiltbillings » Mon Apr 26, 2010 7:05 am


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Re: Sabbe sankhara dukkha - how to observe this Dhamma?

Postby Reductor » Mon Apr 26, 2010 7:08 am


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Re: Sabbe sankhara dukkha - how to observe this Dhamma?

Postby acinteyyo » Mon Apr 26, 2010 7:11 am

Thag 1.20. Ajita - I do not fear death; nor do I long for life. I’ll lay down this body, aware and mindful.

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Re: Sabbe sankhara dukkha - how to observe this Dhamma?

Postby retrofuturist » Mon Apr 26, 2010 7:19 am

"Do not force others, including children, by any means whatsoever, to adopt your views, whether by authority, threat, money, propaganda, or even education." - Ven. Thich Nhat Hanh

"The uprooting of identity is seen by the noble ones as pleasurable; but this contradicts what the whole world sees." (Snp 3.12)

"To argue with a person who has renounced the use of reason is like administering medicine to the dead" - Thomas Paine

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Re: Sabbe sankhara dukkha - how to observe this Dhamma?

Postby Dan74 » Mon Apr 26, 2010 7:40 am

By "sankhara", is it not meant the mental act of reifying, of "making" formations?

The reason I ask is that one position is that there are no formations really. That delusion makes formations. And as anything else that is delusory, they are inherently dukkha.

If so, then a rock false identity is a formation, and that is inherently stressful, this "making of formations." But when the "housebuilder" has been seen and all his works recognized as delusory formations, then there is no more dukkha.

?
_/|\_

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Re: Sabbe sankhara dukkha - how to observe this Dhamma?

Postby retrofuturist » Mon Apr 26, 2010 7:46 am

"Do not force others, including children, by any means whatsoever, to adopt your views, whether by authority, threat, money, propaganda, or even education." - Ven. Thich Nhat Hanh

"The uprooting of identity is seen by the noble ones as pleasurable; but this contradicts what the whole world sees." (Snp 3.12)

"To argue with a person who has renounced the use of reason is like administering medicine to the dead" - Thomas Paine

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Re: Sabbe sankhara dukkha - how to observe this Dhamma?

Postby acinteyyo » Mon Apr 26, 2010 7:56 am

Thag 1.20. Ajita - I do not fear death; nor do I long for life. I’ll lay down this body, aware and mindful.

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Re: Sabbe sankhara dukkha - how to observe this Dhamma?

Postby tiltbillings » Mon Apr 26, 2010 8:03 am


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Re: Sabbe sankhara dukkha - how to observe this Dhamma?

Postby acinteyyo » Mon Apr 26, 2010 8:12 am

Thag 1.20. Ajita - I do not fear death; nor do I long for life. I’ll lay down this body, aware and mindful.

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Re: Sabbe sankhara dukkha - how to observe this Dhamma?

Postby retrofuturist » Mon Apr 26, 2010 8:16 am

Greetings,

I don't think observing impermanence of dhammas is enough to know that they are suffering. The hedonist knows all to well the impermanence of sensuous pleasures, but it doesn't stop their relentless quest to pursue them... the hedonist sees them as sukha, not dukkha.

Metta,
Retro. :)
"Do not force others, including children, by any means whatsoever, to adopt your views, whether by authority, threat, money, propaganda, or even education." - Ven. Thich Nhat Hanh

"The uprooting of identity is seen by the noble ones as pleasurable; but this contradicts what the whole world sees." (Snp 3.12)

"To argue with a person who has renounced the use of reason is like administering medicine to the dead" - Thomas Paine

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Re: Sabbe sankhara dukkha - how to observe this Dhamma?

Postby acinteyyo » Mon Apr 26, 2010 8:20 am

Thag 1.20. Ajita - I do not fear death; nor do I long for life. I’ll lay down this body, aware and mindful.


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