Is the First Noble Truth Really Pessimistic?

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5 thoughts on “Is the First Noble Truth Really Pessimistic?

  1. As a novice to the teachings of Buddha, dukkha was one of the hardest concepts to wrap my head around. Seeing dukkha as “difficult to bear” and describing it as meeting you you where you are at, is a great way of describing the term.

    Dukkha did sound pessimistic to me too. Did this mean I had to be pessimistic in everything I saw around me? I found the answer in the sublime states! I can still experience Compassion, Metta, Equanimity and Appreciative Joy, ALL while experiencing dukkha! I am thankful for living in the moment and I also recognize that each time I cling to anything, (especially my own obsessive or negative thoughts), I am experiencing dukkha. When faced head-on, dukkha actually provides calm because I realize that things, thoughts, events, whether good or bad will not ever totally satisfy. The breath reminds me that I am a part of this universe and I am not defined by things, thoughts or events. The sublime states remind me that I can actually feel happy while acknowledging dukkha.

    I like the way you use contemporary life to exemplify teachings. For me, the first time I tried to wrap my head around dukkha, a movie line resonated in my mind, which I will share with you….

    “We spent ’em and traded ’em and frittered ’em away on drink and food and pleasurable company. The more we gave ’em away, the more we came to realize, the drink would not satisfy, food turned to ash in our mouths, and all the pleasurable company in the world could not slake our lust.” That is Captain Barbossa, from Pirates of the Carribean….. totally sounded like dukkha to me 🙂

    Thanks for your time. I hope to meet you in April 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    1. you are quite welcome, thank you for the kind words and I’m always happy to see that sharing the dhamma has been of benefit to others.

      also I quite remember those movies AND that quote, I wasn’t a Buddhist then, but that quote always stuck with me, well quoted my friend.

      Are you coming for a retreat or a visit in Aprl?

      May you be happy and may your practice flourish 🙂

      Bhante J

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Thank you for your kind reply. Unfortunately, I cannot attend the retreat I had signed up for, but I hope to visit for a few hours soon 🙂 Meanwhile, my “Mindfulness in Plain English” has notes all over it, with notes on my computer too! The book is so very dense with wonderful insight and lessons, that I have had to dissect it. I try to review my notes daily. I have also made small copies of excerpts that speak to me and I carry them in my purse, like a first-aid kit 😉 The funny thing is that I seem to be better at active ongoing meditation than sitting on the cushion. I was hoping to learn more during the retreat. Maybe someday I can talk to you about that 🙂 Until then, continued blessings to you and thank you for sharing your story 🙂

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