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From: Keith (
Subject: Suffering
Date: December 19, 2005 at 4:03 pm PST

In Reply to: definitions posted by vv on December 19, 2005 at 2:20 pm:

All negative emotions, all positive emotions, it's all suffering.

The word that is commonly translated as "suffering" is perhaps better translated as "unsatisfactoriness". If you find something unsatisfactory, it is suffering.

When viewed from an ordinary perspective, everything is unsatisfactory, because nothing, not even pleasant things, is permanent. Everything arises dependent on certain conditions; when those conditions no longer hold, the dependent thing ceases to be. Everything is made up of component parts; when those parts come apart, the thing ceases to be. In other words, nothing is perfect. Even if you don't yet find something to be unsatisfactory, eventually, you will. Everything is unsatisfactory in some way.

Picking and choosing which phenomena we like and which we don't like is not going to end suffering/unsatisfactoriness. Only changing one's viewpoint can do it.


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