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Is dukkha just psychological? - Dhamma Wheel

Is dukkha just psychological?

A discussion on all aspects of Theravāda Buddhism
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Spiny Norman
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Is dukkha just psychological?

Postby Spiny Norman » Tue Jul 27, 2010 8:53 am

Sutta references to dukkha including birth, ageing and death, eg here in SN 56.11:

"Now this, monks, is the Noble Truth of dukkha: Birth is dukkha, aging is dukkha, death is dukkha; sorrow, lamentation, pain, grief, & despair are dukkha; association with the unbeloved is dukkha; separation from the loved is dukkha; not getting what is wanted is dukkha. In short, the five clinging-aggregates are dukkha."

But is it the experience of birth, ageing and death which is dukkha, or is it the fear and aversion towards them which is dukkha? From the second Noble Truth we know that dukkha is caused by tanha, craving or attachment to desire, which sounds psychological. And we know from DO that the root cause of dukkha is ignorance, again this seems to be a psychological property.

Your thoughts?

P
"My religion is very simple - my religion is ice-cream."
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Mawkish1983
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Re: Is dukkha just psychological?

Postby Mawkish1983 » Tue Jul 27, 2010 9:00 am

Even after attainment of Nibbana, the Buddha experienced aging, sickness and death (amongst other things). In my understanding, Nibbana is free from Dukkha. I guess, then, that Dukkha is a psychological phenomena.

I might be wrong

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Re: Is dukkha just psychological?

Postby PeterB » Tue Jul 27, 2010 9:06 am

Define psychological, Porpoise.

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Re: Is dukkha just psychological?

Postby Spiny Norman » Tue Jul 27, 2010 9:09 am

"My religion is very simple - my religion is ice-cream."
Dairy Lama

PeterB
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Re: Is dukkha just psychological?

Postby PeterB » Tue Jul 27, 2010 9:18 am

Its difficult. Because that is not a classification that occurs outside modern western thought I would suggest..( see Descartes )
And doesn't occur as such in the Canon.

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altar
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Re: Is dukkha just psychological?

Postby altar » Tue Jul 27, 2010 11:44 am

This clearly is a distinction that occurs outside of Western thought. The Buddha himself makes this distinction............. "two darts."
to finish the analogy, the physical dart remains but the mental disappears. (And by the way, after final nibbana there's no more body so physical pain disappears as well.)
I think dukkha refers to all kinds of suffering. That's why simply pain isn't a good translation of it given certain contexts. We cannot say my leg suffers... There has to be some kind of mental attachment to have suffering... Some kind of anguish, tension, whatever there may be... But Dukkha does also mean pain, so I'm told, so it has this two-fold meaning... And to be honest I'm not experienced enough to tell you enough about the experience of pain without attachment.

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Re: Is dukkha just psychological?

Postby PeterB » Tue Jul 27, 2010 12:07 pm

When the Buddha used the analogy of the two darts or two arrows he was not talking of a Cartesian mind/body split. He was referring to the fact of our experience of dukkha through the thing in itself, and then again in our response to it.
I am still not sure what the OP meant by "psychological ".

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Re: Is dukkha just psychological?

Postby Zom » Tue Jul 27, 2010 12:36 pm

Altar is right :reading:

By the way:

SN 38.14: "There are these three forms of stressfulness (dukkha), my friend: the stressfulness of pain, the stressfulness of fabrication, the stressfulness of change. These are the three forms of stressfulness."

All three kinds of dukkha remain in Buddha till parinibbana, so dukkha is not "just psychological".

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Re: Is dukkha just psychological?

Postby PeterB » Tue Jul 27, 2010 12:39 pm

what is "psychological" ? Until we define that how can we intelligently address the question ?

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Re: Is dukkha just psychological?

Postby PeterB » Tue Jul 27, 2010 12:50 pm

Lets take an example. If someone is stressed and as a result their neck muscles contact and they get a headache is that physical or mental or both ? And it what sense is it " psychological " ?

Or someone suffers from diabetes and their blood sugar is low which results in both weakness in limbs and sweating and faintness but also in high anxiety levels..is that physical or mental or both ? and how is it " psychological " ?

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altar
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Re: Is dukkha just psychological?

Postby altar » Tue Jul 27, 2010 1:04 pm

The same way we tackle a number of questions without defining every item in question.
I'll look it up, however I'm guessing it refers to the method or process, the "dhamma" by which the psyche functions. Psyche-logical.
So we have only wonder about the psyche at this point........... The mind is a good one....
Just mental processes....... Hmm... that place where thoughts arise... the way mind with its patterns and thought patterns and wants and desires.......
Maybe the assemblage "aggregate" of thought patterns, desires, wants, cravings and sicknesses and satisfactions and feelings? I'll look it up... Anyway I don't see how it will alter the question, which is just if dukkha is psychological.......ohhh... I do see the problem... It is because psychological has taken on this other meaning when it is used as "just psychological." It means that people only think there is dukkha, or it is some kind of mental problem that makes you think there is dukkha... If that is the case then dukkha isn't just psychological, it's real... However the OP seemed to be using it in the real way of referring to the mind and mental processes "psyche and psychological processes" as opposed to all sorts of pain.
Psychology: 1 a : of or relating to psychology b : mental
2 : directed toward the will or toward the mind specifically in its conative function <psychological warfare>
psyche = mind, the soul, or breath
ology = study of
psychic, psychology, psychadelic, psychotic, psychiatry

Salutations, Peter and Zom

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altar
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Re: Is dukkha just psychological?

Postby altar » Tue Jul 27, 2010 1:14 pm


PeterB
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Re: Is dukkha just psychological?

Postby PeterB » Tue Jul 27, 2010 1:16 pm

My understanding of anatta, altar is that there is no psyche.
And "mental" refers to certain aspects of the khandas and not to others. Conversly the khandas refer to functions not explained simply by "mind" or "body"...I think we need to revisit the O.P.

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Re: Is dukkha just psychological?

Postby PeterB » Tue Jul 27, 2010 1:22 pm


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altar
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Re: Is dukkha just psychological?

Postby altar » Tue Jul 27, 2010 1:31 pm

I get a little confused to be honest when I'm categorizing these different things. Because, taking feeling for example, I'm not sure how many levels to categorize it in.
Feeling (what is felt). Feeling (the act of feeling). Consciousness (of what is felt and the act of feeling). Awareness equals or doesn't equal consciousness. These are all questions. Therefore sometimes I prefer to simply stick with reality and what i know instead of manically categorizing or discussing these things. For that same reason I think it's interesting to read different opinions about the word psyche but do not, simply on the basis of one person's understanding of it, solicit abandoning all discussion of it as a real thing because it is an unfounded concept (soul) with no correspondence to reality. Just as I think it's interesting to hear your understanding of psyche, I think it's easy to talk about it regardless. You can talk about the mind and we can talk about the psyche. It happens that the OP refers to it as the psyche, and I do too sometimes b/c that is the culture I was brought up in, so it might be easier for some of us or more natural to go on calling that. Whether this is an appropriate thing to call it can be discussed elsewhere... The OP is about whether all that is dukkha is psychological... It is in a way a useless distinction. Pyschological or not. What was the proport of the OP? Probably it was to wonder how much dukkha can be eliminated... The answer is a lot. The following question might be, all? The answer is, especially according to buddhism, Yes. Even physical? Yes, because after final nibbana there is no more physical. What about before final Nibbana, just regular nibbana? No, there is still physical pain. I.E. painful feeling. Does it make you suffer at that point, when all attachment has been abandoned? No. Is it still unpleasant and undesireable? Yes, it would seem, from the reports of several suttas and modern day teachers. This last part is a debated point within this forum. Bye everyone! Off to work!

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altar
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Re: Is dukkha just psychological?

Postby altar » Tue Jul 27, 2010 1:38 pm

I don't know what the hell I'm arguing about.

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Re: Is dukkha just psychological?

Postby PeterB » Tue Jul 27, 2010 2:00 pm

:smile: :anjali: Have a good day.

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Goedert
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Re: Is dukkha just psychological?

Postby Goedert » Tue Jul 27, 2010 4:59 pm


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Re: Is dukkha just psychological?

Postby mikenz66 » Tue Jul 27, 2010 9:27 pm


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Spiny Norman
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Re: Is dukkha just psychological?

Postby Spiny Norman » Wed Jul 28, 2010 8:19 am

"My religion is very simple - my religion is ice-cream."
Dairy Lama


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