Denial of Suffering
Suffering is something we usually do not want to know - we just
want to get rid of it. As soon as there is any inconvenience or
annoyance, the tendency of an unawakened human being is to get
rid of it or suppress it - or seek pleasure and delight in what
is new, exciting or romantic.
When we find ourselves
with something we do not like, we try to get away from it and
towards something we do like. If we feel boredom,
we go to something interesting. If we feel frightened, we try
to find safety. This is a perfectly natural thing to do - it is
called the pleasure/pain principle; being attracted and repelled
in turn or in Buddhist terms, clinging and aversion.
So if the mind is not full and receptive, then it is bound
to be selective - it selects what it likes and tries to suppress
what it does not like.
TO INVESTIGATE SUFFERING
We should try to understand dukkha: to really look at, stand
under and accept it as suffering. Try to understand it when
you are feeling physical pain or despair and anguish or hatred
and aversion - whatever form it takes, whatever quality it has,
whether it is extreme or slight.
This teaching does not mean that to get enlightened you have
to be utterly and totally miserable. You do not have to have
everything taken away from you; it just means that you become
able to look at suffering, even if it is just a mild feeling
of discontent, and understand it.
With mindfulness, we are willing to bear with the whole of
life; with the excitement and the boredom, the hope and the
despair, the fascination and the weariness, the beginning and
the end. We are willing to accept the whole of it in the mind
rather than just becoming absorb into just the pleasant and
suppress the unpleasant. The process of insight is the going
to dukkha, looking at dukkha, admitting dukkha, recognising
dukkha in all its forms.
These teachings are not outside our experience. They are, in
fact, reflections of our actual experience - not complicated
Make this resolution to go where the suffering is and then abide
with it because it is only by examining and confronting suffering
in this way that we can hope to have the tremendous insight
of: 'This suffering has been understood.'
So these are the three aspects of the First Noble Truth. This
is the formula that we must use and apply in reflection on our
lives. Whenever you feel suffering, first make the recognition:
'There is suffering', then: 'It should be understood', and finally:
'It has been understood'.
This understanding of dukkha is the insight into the First