Welcome Visitor !

It is currently Thu Oct 30, 2014 7:55 pm
Pathway:  Board index Zen Discussion Forum Beginners Questions Forum

What is Dukkha?

For beginners there is no such thing as a bad question. Feel free to ask any and all questions here. Member's responses should be made within the "beginner's mind" perspective.

What is Dukkha?

Postby So-on Mann on Thu Dec 30, 2010 3:15 am

Maybe you don't believe that because core Buddhist truths are real, are actually true and not just a system of meaning, they are spoken in every language.


Well, it's just easier to say "dukkha" than "a wheel that has a crappy axle hole and kinda teeters along, so it refers to a state of unsatisfactoriness"
Facing a precious mirror, form and reflection behold each other. You are not it, but in truth it is you.
User avatar
So-on Mann
Global Moderator
 
Posts: 3926
Joined: Thu Feb 05, 2009 8:43 pm
Location: Portland, OR

Re: Studying Zen without Buddhism, is it possible?

Postby amelia on Thu Dec 30, 2010 3:31 am

Some words work better than others or for others... I often find myself very inspired by a different way of phrasing something I already know.
迎 Geika
User avatar
amelia
 
Posts: 173
Joined: Sat Dec 18, 2010 2:38 am
Location: California

Re: Studying Zen without Buddhism, is it possible?

Postby slice on Thu Dec 30, 2010 4:04 am

So-on Mann wrote:
Maybe you don't believe that because core Buddhist truths are real, are actually true and not just a system of meaning, they are spoken in every language.


Well, it's just easier to say "dukkha" than "a wheel that has a crappy axle hole and kinda teeters along, so it refers to a state of unsatisfactoriness"

What?
slice
 
Posts: 188
Joined: Sun Nov 14, 2010 7:52 pm

Re: Studying Zen without Buddhism, is it possible?

Postby So-on Mann on Thu Dec 30, 2010 4:47 am

slice wrote:
So-on Mann wrote:
Maybe you don't believe that because core Buddhist truths are real, are actually true and not just a system of meaning, they are spoken in every language.


Well, it's just easier to say "dukkha" than "a wheel that has a crappy axle hole and kinda teeters along, so it refers to a state of unsatisfactoriness"

What?


That's what dukkha means.
Facing a precious mirror, form and reflection behold each other. You are not it, but in truth it is you.
User avatar
So-on Mann
Global Moderator
 
Posts: 3926
Joined: Thu Feb 05, 2009 8:43 pm
Location: Portland, OR

Re: Studying Zen without Buddhism, is it possible?

Postby hungryghost on Thu Dec 30, 2010 7:39 am

That's just it...dukkha translated as "suffering", or even "unsatisfactoryness" doesn't quite get the whole meaning. Same with karuna, "compassion" doesn't quite cut it. A lot of these terms are better left untranslated and understood thru the practice of zen and the study of buddhism.
User avatar
hungryghost
Global Moderator
 
Posts: 383
Joined: Sun Oct 18, 2009 9:46 am
Location: Rochester, NY

Re: Studying Zen without Buddhism, is it possible?

Postby Huifeng on Thu Dec 30, 2010 8:42 am

So-on Mann wrote:
slice wrote:
So-on Mann wrote:
Maybe you don't believe that because core Buddhist truths are real, are actually true and not just a system of meaning, they are spoken in every language.


Well, it's just easier to say "dukkha" than "a wheel that has a crappy axle hole and kinda teeters along, so it refers to a state of unsatisfactoriness"

What?


That's what dukkha means.


So-on, may I inquire as to your source on this?
Bhikṣu & Mahāyāna bodhisattva ordination by Ven Master Hsing Yun (星雲大師) et al, Foguang Shan Monastery (佛光山寺) Taiwan.
Teaching: http://buddhist.fgu.edu.tw/main.php Blog: http://prajnacara.blogspot.com/
User avatar
Huifeng
Teacher
 
Posts: 1396
Joined: Mon May 18, 2009 11:42 am
Location: Fo Guang University (佛光大學), Ilan (宜蘭), Taiwan.

Re: Studying Zen without Buddhism, is it possible?

Postby Huifeng on Thu Dec 30, 2010 8:53 am

hungryghost wrote:That's just it...dukkha translated as "suffering", or even "unsatisfactoryness" doesn't quite get the whole meaning. Same with karuna, "compassion" doesn't quite cut it. A lot of these terms are better left untranslated and understood thru the practice of zen and the study of buddhism.


While you certainly have a point here, I would make a counter argument by pointing out that where single terms are left untranslated, the meaning is easily further misconstrued by those who do not speak the language, and the results are sometimes even more bizarre than when they are translated.

Examples abound. eg. the word "wu" / "mu", which in the so-called Zhaozhou dog and buddha nature story, the term now takes on some "special" meaning, which totally ignores the fact that it is just a regular word in Chinese. 你聽明無?
Or, the word "Buddha". Some people ask "is the Buddha awakened?" Well, duh! Of course, by leaving the word in an Indic "Buddha" form, the very fact that the word means "awakened" is completely lost by most people.

Groups that leave a large amount of terms untranslated also run the risk of turning their activities into a bunch of jargon that only the "insiders" have a clue what they are talking about. It can foster eliteness and other unsavory social dynamics.

In fact, sometimes Chinese and East Asian Buddhism falls into this trap itself. The original translators mostly translated, but sometimes left terms as transliterations. At that time, they provided rigorous definitions of those transliterated terms, so it was not a problem. Later, the transliterations were maintained, but the correct definitions lost. Because transliterations are not regular words in the language, people soon associated a range of other bizarre and inaccurate meanings to those terms. In effect, while originally they were trying to preserve the meaning through transliteration rather than translation, it may have hastened the semantic corruption of the term.

Best to translate where one can, but also be aware of the entirety of the meaning and usage of the term in question. In some cases translate, and in others transliterate, depending on the audience. This can help to preserve the dynamics involved.
Bhikṣu & Mahāyāna bodhisattva ordination by Ven Master Hsing Yun (星雲大師) et al, Foguang Shan Monastery (佛光山寺) Taiwan.
Teaching: http://buddhist.fgu.edu.tw/main.php Blog: http://prajnacara.blogspot.com/
User avatar
Huifeng
Teacher
 
Posts: 1396
Joined: Mon May 18, 2009 11:42 am
Location: Fo Guang University (佛光大學), Ilan (宜蘭), Taiwan.

Re: Studying Zen without Buddhism, is it possible?

Postby So-on Mann on Thu Dec 30, 2010 10:36 am

Dukkha literally means having a poor axle hole in a wheel. Literally. But of course it points to something else, something much fuller in meaning to the human condition. Like Huifeng said, it's important that followers of the teachings understand what these terms and teachings mean, and not just leave it to some cadre of experts to know. There is a fullness and richness to these teachings that may be missed otherwise.
Facing a precious mirror, form and reflection behold each other. You are not it, but in truth it is you.
User avatar
So-on Mann
Global Moderator
 
Posts: 3926
Joined: Thu Feb 05, 2009 8:43 pm
Location: Portland, OR

Re: Studying Zen without Buddhism, is it possible?

Postby Huifeng on Thu Dec 30, 2010 11:42 am

So-on Mann wrote:Dukkha literally means having a poor axle hole in a wheel. Literally. But of course it points to something else, something much fuller in meaning to the human condition. Like Huifeng said, it's important that followers of the teachings understand what these terms and teachings mean, and not just leave it to some cadre of experts to know. There is a fullness and richness to these teachings that may be missed otherwise.


"Dukkha literally means having a poor axle hole in a wheel" - yes, so you claim.

Can you show me how it "literally" means that, because there is no way that I can make Pali, or Prakrit or Sanskrit for that matter, make it have this "literal" meaning.

There is a "duḥ" which is pretty straightforward; and a "kha" (or "ka"), which is usually the tricky part; where is the axle hole or wheel?
Bhikṣu & Mahāyāna bodhisattva ordination by Ven Master Hsing Yun (星雲大師) et al, Foguang Shan Monastery (佛光山寺) Taiwan.
Teaching: http://buddhist.fgu.edu.tw/main.php Blog: http://prajnacara.blogspot.com/
User avatar
Huifeng
Teacher
 
Posts: 1396
Joined: Mon May 18, 2009 11:42 am
Location: Fo Guang University (佛光大學), Ilan (宜蘭), Taiwan.

Re: Studying Zen without Buddhism, is it possible?

Postby jiblet on Thu Dec 30, 2010 1:15 pm

Hi Huifeng, All,

I haven't posted here in while, although I often check out what you're all up to...

Huifeng asked:
"Can you show me how it "literally" means that, because there is no way that I can make Pali, or Prakrit or Sanskrit for that matter, make it have this "literal" meaning.

There is a "duḥ" which is pretty straightforward; and a "kha" (or "ka"), which is usually the tricky part; where is the axle hole or wheel?"



This is from the still authoritative Monier-Williams Sanskrit-English Dictionary (I've edited out references to lexicographers and literature) - -


"KHA - a cavity, hollow, cave, cavern, aperture.
An aperture of the human body (of which there are nine , viz. the mouth , the two ears , the two eyes , the two nostrils , and the organs of excretion and generation).
(hence) An organ of sense .
(in anat.) The glottis.
"The hole made by an arrow ", wound.
The hole in the nave of a wheel through which the axis runs.
Vacuity, empty space, air, ether, sky.
Heaven.
Brahma (the Supreme Spirit).
(in arithmatic) The anusvara represented by a circle (bindu).
Name of the tenth astrological mansion.
Talc.
A city.
A field. "

So there it is (my bold).

...And duH (=dus) is, of course, "implying evil, bad, difficult, hard; badly, hardly; slight, inferior &c."

So the supposition Of "the grammarians" - for it is only that - is that the original meaning of duHkha may be *an ill-fitting wheel*. MW says of DuHkha:

" duHkha (according to grammarians properly written duS-kha and said to be from dus-kha [cf. su-kh/a] ; but more probably a Prakritized form for duH-stha*) uneasy, uncomfortable, unpleasant, difficult."

*For dus-stha, MW has : "standing badly", unsteady, disquieted (lit. and fig.)
Uneasy, unhappy, poor, miserable.
Ignorant, unwise, a fool .
Covetous .
dus-stham badly , ill.


I'm not sure where that takes the discussion, but...you did ask!
User avatar
jiblet
 
Posts: 616
Joined: Fri Mar 13, 2009 3:17 pm
Location: London, UK

Re: Studying Zen without Buddhism, is it possible?

Postby Anders on Thu Dec 30, 2010 1:32 pm

tbh, I thought it was common knowledge. I've seen this definition given by scores of pali commentators.
"Even if my body should be burnt to death in the fires of hell
I would endure it for myriad lifetimes
As your companion in practice"
--- Gandavyuha Sutra
User avatar
Anders
 
Posts: 1481
Joined: Wed Feb 04, 2009 11:58 pm

Re: Studying Zen without Buddhism, is it possible?

Postby Huifeng on Thu Dec 30, 2010 1:35 pm

jiblet wrote:Hi Huifeng, All,

I haven't posted here in while, although I often check out what you're all up to...

Huifeng asked:
"Can you show me how it "literally" means that, because there is no way that I can make Pali, or Prakrit or Sanskrit for that matter, make it have this "literal" meaning.

There is a "duḥ" which is pretty straightforward; and a "kha" (or "ka"), which is usually the tricky part; where is the axle hole or wheel?"



This is from the still authoritative Monier-Williams Sanskrit-English Dictionary (I've edited out references to lexicographers and literature) - -


"KHA - a cavity, hollow, cave, cavern, aperture.
An aperture of the human body (of which there are nine , viz. the mouth , the two ears , the two eyes , the two nostrils , and the organs of excretion and generation).
(hence) An organ of sense .
(in anat.) The glottis.
"The hole made by an arrow ", wound.
The hole in the nave of a wheel through which the axis runs.
Vacuity, empty space, air, ether, sky.
Heaven.
Brahma (the Supreme Spirit).
(in arithmatic) The anusvara represented by a circle (bindu).
Name of the tenth astrological mansion.
Talc.
A city.
A field. "

So there it is (my bold).


There is what?

Dictionary entries for "kha", from a Skt dictionary that covers a huge range of stuff.
Do these amount to a definition of "dukkha" or "duhkha"? I think not.
One could equally say with such logic that "dukkha" means "a bad case of the tenth astrological mansion", or "difficult sun".

Moreover, as anyone familiar with Skt and Prakrits knows, the Prakritic "kha" could easily come from a Skt "ksa" stem. Yet none of these has been considered.

...And duH (=dus) is, of course, "implying evil, bad, difficult, hard; badly, hardly; slight, inferior &c."

So the supposition Of "the grammarians" - for it is only that - is that the original meaning of duHkha may be *an ill-fitting wheel*. MW says of DuHkha:

" duHkha (according to grammarians properly written duS-kha and said to be from dus-kha [cf. su-kh/a] ; but more probably a Prakritized form for duH-stha*) uneasy, uncomfortable, unpleasant, difficult."

*For dus-stha, MW has : "standing badly", unsteady, disquieted (lit. and fig.)
Uneasy, unhappy, poor, miserable.
Ignorant, unwise, a fool .
Covetous .
dus-stham badly , ill.


The "sthA" root kind of contradicts what you have above. Which is the root, after all? You want to have it both ways?

I'm not sure where that takes the discussion, but...you did ask!


I'm really sorry, but I think it takes the discussion into bad amateur Indic etymology, armed with an online dictionary and a lot of imagination. We too much of this elsewhere at ZFI ...

What I was asking for was a reliable Buddhist source which explains dukkha in this manner, and - though I didn't state this - an explanation that makes coherent sense with the rest of the Buddhist teachings.
Bhikṣu & Mahāyāna bodhisattva ordination by Ven Master Hsing Yun (星雲大師) et al, Foguang Shan Monastery (佛光山寺) Taiwan.
Teaching: http://buddhist.fgu.edu.tw/main.php Blog: http://prajnacara.blogspot.com/
User avatar
Huifeng
Teacher
 
Posts: 1396
Joined: Mon May 18, 2009 11:42 am
Location: Fo Guang University (佛光大學), Ilan (宜蘭), Taiwan.

Re: Studying Zen without Buddhism, is it possible?

Postby Huifeng on Thu Dec 30, 2010 1:36 pm

Anders Honore wrote:tbh, I thought it was common knowledge. I've seen this definition given by scores of pali commentators.


Could you give one or two? Would appreciate it.
Bhikṣu & Mahāyāna bodhisattva ordination by Ven Master Hsing Yun (星雲大師) et al, Foguang Shan Monastery (佛光山寺) Taiwan.
Teaching: http://buddhist.fgu.edu.tw/main.php Blog: http://prajnacara.blogspot.com/
User avatar
Huifeng
Teacher
 
Posts: 1396
Joined: Mon May 18, 2009 11:42 am
Location: Fo Guang University (佛光大學), Ilan (宜蘭), Taiwan.

Re: Studying Zen without Buddhism, is it possible?

Postby Huifeng on Thu Dec 30, 2010 1:36 pm

Sorry, Mods, maybe you want to split all this sub-discussion off elsewhere.
Bhikṣu & Mahāyāna bodhisattva ordination by Ven Master Hsing Yun (星雲大師) et al, Foguang Shan Monastery (佛光山寺) Taiwan.
Teaching: http://buddhist.fgu.edu.tw/main.php Blog: http://prajnacara.blogspot.com/
User avatar
Huifeng
Teacher
 
Posts: 1396
Joined: Mon May 18, 2009 11:42 am
Location: Fo Guang University (佛光大學), Ilan (宜蘭), Taiwan.

Re: Studying Zen without Buddhism, is it possible?

Postby jiblet on Thu Dec 30, 2010 1:52 pm

Hi Huifeng,

You asked:
There is what?


There is the reference to the 'hole in the wheel-hub' thing. That's all. Not "There is the proof that DuHkha means...." I didn't say, or mean to imply such a thing. I simply quoted the dictionary regarded as thorough and reliable.

Dictionary entries for "kha", from a Skt dictionary that covers a huge range of stuff.
Do these amount to a definition of "dukkha" or "duhkha"? I think not.
One could equally say with such logic that "dukkha" means "a bad case of the tenth astrological mansion", or "difficult sun".


Yes, it would appear so. I can only guess "the grammarians" MW refers to took context into consideration when deciding on meaning.

The "sthA" root kind of contradicts what you have above. Which is the root, after all? You want to have it both ways?


Yes, it does, doesn't it. To clarify - this is not "how I want it" (where did you get that idea from?); it's what it says in a book. That's all.

...bad amateur Indic etymology, armed with an online dictionary and a lot of imagination.


Gee, H - you sure know how to hurt a guy! (jk). I have a hard copy of MW too, ya know...and I have been studying Sanskrit seriously, daily, for five years...I don't believe I imagined the Dictionary, but I can't rule out the possibility.

Yep. WAY off topic now lol!
User avatar
jiblet
 
Posts: 616
Joined: Fri Mar 13, 2009 3:17 pm
Location: London, UK

Re: Studying Zen without Buddhism, is it possible?

Postby Anders on Thu Dec 30, 2010 1:59 pm

Huifeng wrote:
Anders Honore wrote:tbh, I thought it was common knowledge. I've seen this definition given by scores of pali commentators.


Could you give one or two? Would appreciate it.


Might as well ask me for a reference for Dharma = Law, venerable. Look anywhere! I wager you'd be hard pressed to find a Theravadin commentator making anything more than a cursory analysis of the word who doesn't refer to this, to my mind rather classic, definition. It's just one of those things I encountered so often back when I used to study a lot of Theravada teachings, that it philtered in as standard vocabulary. giyf.
Last edited by Anders on Thu Dec 30, 2010 2:05 pm, edited 2 times in total.
"Even if my body should be burnt to death in the fires of hell
I would endure it for myriad lifetimes
As your companion in practice"
--- Gandavyuha Sutra
User avatar
Anders
 
Posts: 1481
Joined: Wed Feb 04, 2009 11:58 pm

Re: Studying Zen without Buddhism, is it possible?

Postby jiblet on Thu Dec 30, 2010 2:02 pm

PS and BTW re:

The "sthA" root kind of contradicts what you have above. Which is the root, after all? You want to have it both ways?


(Again) you seem to believe this is MY analysis. It isn't. As I think I made clear, it's Monier-Williams dissenting, or alternative, opinion of the derivation of duHkha.

I wasn't trying to start a war, just trying to be helpful - and show off a bit, perhaps. You? ;)
User avatar
jiblet
 
Posts: 616
Joined: Fri Mar 13, 2009 3:17 pm
Location: London, UK

Re: Studying Zen without Buddhism, is it possible?

Postby Huifeng on Thu Dec 30, 2010 2:09 pm

Anders Honore wrote:
Huifeng wrote:
Anders Honore wrote:tbh, I thought it was common knowledge. I've seen this definition given by scores of pali commentators.


Could you give one or two? Would appreciate it.


Might as well ask me for a reference for Dharma = Law, venerable. Look anywhere! I wager you'd be hard pressed to find a Theravadin commentator making anything more than a cursory analysis of the word who doesn't refer to this, to my mind rather classic , definition. giyf.


"Look anywhere!"

Well, I've been looking through this Buddhism thing for a while now, and apart from some internet references which provide little explanation and no reliable sources, I haven't found anything that backs up the "wheel" explanation for dukkha.

Theravadin commentators usually refer to Buddhaghosa, and his definition in the Visuddhimagga. This includes the connection to "kha" as per "akasa", ie. "empty", but the meaning is as "tuccha", which is "empty, vain, worthless" rather than a physical space. In addition, there is another definition through "khana", relating dukkha to impermanence; and to "kham" as in Skt "ksan" meaning "to endure", ie. that dukkha is "what is difficult to endure", which also stacks up.

Honestly, if it is just a classic and common definition, shouldn't be too difficult to come up with a good cited example for an illiterate like myself, no?
Bhikṣu & Mahāyāna bodhisattva ordination by Ven Master Hsing Yun (星雲大師) et al, Foguang Shan Monastery (佛光山寺) Taiwan.
Teaching: http://buddhist.fgu.edu.tw/main.php Blog: http://prajnacara.blogspot.com/
User avatar
Huifeng
Teacher
 
Posts: 1396
Joined: Mon May 18, 2009 11:42 am
Location: Fo Guang University (佛光大學), Ilan (宜蘭), Taiwan.

What is Dukkha?

Postby Huifeng on Thu Dec 30, 2010 2:22 pm

jiblet wrote:PS and BTW re:

The "sthA" root kind of contradicts what you have above. Which is the root, after all? You want to have it both ways?


(Again) you seem to believe this is MY analysis. It isn't. As I think I made clear, it's Monier-Williams dissenting, or alternative, opinion of the derivation of duHkha.

I wasn't trying to start a war, just trying to be helpful - and show off a bit, perhaps. You? ;)


But it isn't even the analysis of the MWD. It is partial lists of definitions for word parts. You can't just pick a couple of word parts, be they roots or stems or whatever, and then slap them together and call it a definition!

As for me, on one hand I am trying to find credible and reliable evidence for this definition of "dukkha" as related to wheels and hubs; and on the other hand, if none is forthcoming, I'm trying to point that out to people so that they don't take it as some actual Buddhist definition of the term.

Are you trying to suggest that I am here to "show off"?
Bhikṣu & Mahāyāna bodhisattva ordination by Ven Master Hsing Yun (星雲大師) et al, Foguang Shan Monastery (佛光山寺) Taiwan.
Teaching: http://buddhist.fgu.edu.tw/main.php Blog: http://prajnacara.blogspot.com/
User avatar
Huifeng
Teacher
 
Posts: 1396
Joined: Mon May 18, 2009 11:42 am
Location: Fo Guang University (佛光大學), Ilan (宜蘭), Taiwan.

Re: Studying Zen without Buddhism, is it possible?

Postby jiblet on Thu Dec 30, 2010 2:31 pm

FWIW...

I've no idea what the correct and *true* etymological derivation of the Sanskrit word duHkha, or its Pali equivalent dukkha is. I'm kinda in your camp, Hiufeng; I harbour doubts about the *hole in the hub* = "hard going" thing. But it doesn't bother me...

While I find etymology - and language in general - a fascinating thing, and agree that much ill-informed rubbish is spouted by those who uncritically accept received, traditional explanations of WHY things mean what they mean and go on to justify all sorts of questionable notions and theories based on those misunderstandings, in THIS case, I'm content that duHkha has come to mean "uneasy, uncomfortable, unpleasant, difficult; uneasiness, pain, sorrow, trouble, difficulty..." (all better, IMO, than "suffereing"). That'll do me. The WHY, I'm not so bothered about.

...FWIW.
User avatar
jiblet
 
Posts: 616
Joined: Fri Mar 13, 2009 3:17 pm
Location: London, UK

Next

Return to Beginners Questions Forum

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 1 guest

 
RocketTheme Joomla Templates

Who is online

In total there is 1 user online :: 0 registered, 0 hidden and 1 guest (based on users active over the past 5 minutes)
Most users ever online was 146 on Fri May 29, 2009 2:49 am

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 1 guest