The Gnostics were right, to know yourself is to know the divine.
Just a reminder, this is a dark metaphysics subject. I haven’t written an advisory warning yet, but no actual offense is meant. This being the type of class it is, we are talking about dukkha, but we will not be talking about liberation from dukkha, not as tonight’s focus.
Perhaps some clarification… Dukkha is Sanskrit for suffering, and most schools of philosophy and mysticism seek to help alleviate this or transcend it. But there is a less spoken of school of thought on the topic of suffering.
Buddhism speaks of all of life experience having an element of suffering in it, not because they believe nothing is good or enjoyable, far from it, but the effort behind Buddhist practice is to find what has lasting relevance. A moment’s pleasure now will be longed for in the future as it will inevitably end.
It could be sort of like a mother who welcomes the pain of childbirth because they feel the experience should be whole. That is the outer form of suffering, and we will all inevitably experience this suffering. It’s an innate part of reality itself. But there are more dimensions to suffering than simple physical distress. Our awareness is arranged most often so we will experience suffering even before an event has occurred, or long after it has ceased. This is thought of as an innate dissatisfaction in trying to achieve happiness in a world inevitably subject to change. The sweetest song ends, and in time these good things begin to feel like empty things, meaningless things.
Yet another dimension of suffering arises with the realization that even our very own nature is changing. We are changed by the passage of time and chance occurrence of events, which produces a deep sense of insecurity. No pain produces more fear than the realization that your deepest held joys are forgotten, that who you thought you were was just as empty as what you thought you experienced.
Nothing lasts forever? That is one way of summarizing dukkha, yes. Everything is mortal. It’s all ash and rot and dust in the wind. That’s the world in one way of viewing it. It’s a very common way to view it.
Your thoughts are welcome. Be well friends.