insight by The Practicing Dhamma expounder for today

Learning Dhamma in a small way

Lets try to understand our problems


Leading a pleasant life

Being born into this world as humans we all would like to lead a happy and a pleasant life until we die some day. This is the intention of all of us and there is no doubt about it. But is it the reality facing us? Is it happening the way we would like it to be? In reality it is not so. So what are these unsatisfactory matters we have to face in our lives?

Addressing the above issue and finding a permanent solution was Prince Gauthama Siddhartha's main intention, even before he renounced the princely comforts and became an ascetic searching for the lasting solution for the above problems.


Identify the faces of 'sufferings' we have to face

Gauthama Buddha explained to us in a complete sense what actually the unsatisfactoryness the humans have to undergo in their lives. He explained them as Jara, Vyadhi, Marana, Soka, Parideva,Dukka, Domanassa and Upayasa. So we will try to understand what was actually meant by the words Lord Buddha used to describe Dukka or the suffering we all want to avoid.



Jara - Old age

After we are born, we get into the old age once we pass about sixty years of the life span. During the early years, a majority of humans may lead a healthy life so the effect of one becoming old slips through our mind until we actually face that situation. The physical body of ours gives us many problems as we reach the old age and majority of us don't know how to manage it correctly mentally. The body that was once very strong becomes frail and the physical features of us deteriorates and the personality and the beauty once we had will no more be there. One may even not be able to move at will to places since mobility of the body diminishes. Physical strength and mental activities such as good memory fades and forgetfulness will be prominent then. The bodily features once you adored, will be no more there to be proud of. One even may become sorrowful thinking of the good old days he once had.

So Lord Buddha pointed the above to be wary of . He had the greatest kindness towards us letting us realise the problems before we are engulfed in it.


Vyadhi- Sickness

This is us becoming sick physically. One can become very sick any time unexpectedly. In many instances, there will be no prior warnings appearing on a sicknesses. Great pain can accompany a sickness immobilizing a person with normal activities of a human being. There is no age limit for becoming sick. Many times we may be able to overcome sicknesses through medication but there are also many instances that we have to suffer due to various illnesses until we get cured. Some illnesses are quite grave that one has to suffer throughout the lifetime due to that sickness. Even a newborn child might be affected this way and not to say all other probabilities of sicknesses one might come across during the lifetime. No one would like to be sick but can we avoid it altogether in our lifetime?

Realising above and trying to find a way to minimise the bad effects if one is to undergo the above is an important task we have to think about.


Marana - Death

One might be spared of Jara and Vyadi but never from this. Even then this might be the least thing any of us would like to think about. The nature of humans is that they will avoid thinking anything that brings unpleasantness and fear into one's self. However healthy is oneself, it is seldom that a person can live over 100 years these days. If one tries to think correctly, it will be seen that many of us would die unexpectedly before we are hundred years old. Right around us we hear about, or see people die, unknown people and the loved ones. From babies, children, teens, middle aged to the old. The reality is there but we are not ready to accept it for ourself. 'It happened to the other but not to me, so what. That's nature'. That's how we argue with our inner self. We stop thinking about it then and there. A death elsewhere is only an incident for us. Only if a death of a loved one happens, then only we feel it for ourselves. Lord Buddha told us to be mindful about this factor. It will be seen that many of us would die unexpectedly without spending that 100 years we talked about earlier. Every passing moment is a moment that we all come near to that unavoidable unpleasant situation we call as death. But in our daily life, we live without sparing a single thought on it. Aren't we cheating ourselves thus becoming foolish in a sense by not accepting a reality of the life? One can argue with hundreds of reasons for not thinking about that reality. Will say it is not positive thinking. But accepting a Truth as a Truth itself is a first step into Positive thinking. We always get blinded with illusions and never called the shots honestly. We tried to hide behind a curtain when the things were not to our likings .Though we don't know about it, we are driven by fear within inside but Lord Buddha invites one to be brave and to accept the reality .There is no harm in it but you will grow in self confidence being able to accept the worst and to live the life with acceptance of correct facts with a brave and understanding character behind you. That person will be ways forward than the lesser fortuned persons who could not fathom the reality of life due to ignorance or we can say uneducatedness of the correct facts.



Soka - Worry

How often you get worried over something? Our worries may be never ending. We worry about our future, our health , about our loved ones. ' What happens suppose I lose my job due to the present economic downfalls ? What happens if I have to undergo the heart surgery and engage only in very light work? ' When worry comes in and engulfs, a person who don't know to overcome it will suffer due to it might lead a miserable life worrying unduly.


Parideva - lamentation

Some times if one cannot bear the grief due to some incident, will lament or grieve audibly or wail. These might reoccur sometimes making life too miserable for the person. It can also be expressed as passionate and animated activity of expressing grief and others may not able to bring comfort to the sufferer easily and quickly.


Dukka - Pain

This is the physical pain one undergoes due to a body injury , disease or a similar occurrence to the body. Until the cause gets cured, the pain will be there for pro longed periods. Everyone of us might have undergone pain due to a bodily injury at some time of the life. How we all want it to be cured in double quick time? Well no one would like to suffer from pain thought it might be unavoidable.


Domanassa - Grief

This is a mental factor of grief occurring over something which has a burning effect within inside self. The physical pain gets cured once the body heals but this is not so. Our mind can be driven to this situation quite often without being able to control it. Mental agony is so depressive that a person may not know how to get rid of it. Addressing mental disorders could be quite a challenge these days as more and more is noticeable in our society now.


Upayasa - Despair

This is loosing hope on something or one's self or overcome by a sense of defeat. Suppose a loved one died near to us so a sense of defeat overcome the mind. Never would be that loving person be there again - that sort of thought will drive the sufferer to a sense of defeat and a depressive mood.


Lord Buddha explained that the above factors as a part of sufferings humans have to undergo. He just did not stop on the statement on suffering itself, but showed the way out from it. It is called the Noble Eightfold Path.



There is a great possibility of experiencing the above mentioned phenomena or qualities ( regarding death- it's writing on the wall ! ) by any of us during our lifetime. Being in any of that status would not be a pleasant experience to anyone. Getting known of the worst itself is a great plus point as one knows how to counter it when it appears. The remedial actions are there to take for the Buddha disciple. If anyone is ignorant on these, that person would be ill prepared once he encounter them in real life. Making use of the Lord Buddha's wisdom is the way out from these pit holes. In our day to day affairs we used to mention the phrase -' in the worst scenario this is what will happen 'etc.- In the same way we need to asses the worst scenarios beforehand as that's what the wise has to do. Buddha's teachings are numerous and merits for persuasion spending even a persons entire lifetime. That's why many became Bhikkus to spend the entire lifetime following the path shown by the Buddha. Here we might just touch a thing or two from what the Buddha had expounded but even that might help someone immensely as a stepping stone to the wisdom Buddha had shown us.