The First Noble Truth
The teaching on dukkha is not meant to be pessimistic. It does not deny that life also includes pleasure, joy, and beauty. However, it does teach that loss, pain and sickness are an inevitable part of life and that there is a freedom that comes from understanding this clearly.
One way to begin contemplating dukkha is to reflect on the difference between struggles that are intrinsically part of human life and those that come from resistance to these difficulties. We see that ultimately we cannot stop the body aging and getting sick and that we struggle when we try to hold on the things that by their nature will not last. As we make peace with the losses and changes that are intrinsic to life, the secondary sense of struggle with these events begins to soften.
These kind of reflections lead us naturally to explore what supports and strengthens the arising of dukkha and what helps us to let it go. These questions form the heart of the truth of the origin of suffering, which we’ll explore in the next session.
Mindfulness of breath and body
Write brief notes in your journal about what you notice in your practice.