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there’s much to be annoyed by …

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… in my neighbourhood this morning. For hours the on-again, off-again racket of a chainsaw down the street; a hacking cough under my bedroom window of young man smoking next door; that pain in the lower back making it difficult to get from sitting to standing … et cetera. Nothing big, just a steady murmur of dissatisfaction, of I wish it weren’t so.

“Dukka” is the Sanskrit word coined when Siddhartha Gautama (a.k.a. The Buddha) took up the task of finding the root of universal suffering. Dukkha can also be translated as sorrow, discontent, unhappiness, anxiety, dissatisfaction, discomfort, anguish, misery, and frustration. Yes, I get it.

In due time the Buddha began to teach that —

Birth is dukkha, aging is dukkha, sickness is dukkha, death is dukkha. Presence of objects we loathed is dukkha; separation from what we love is dukkha; not getting what is wanted is dukkha. 

That he called the first and the second Truths: that there is suffering and that it arises from attachment to desires. Being troubled by noise and pain is normal and the way to get free from frustration is to recognize my clinging to a desired way and, instead, welcome that which is. And not to take it personally. The chainsaw is performing a job and its noise will come and it will go. Ditto for nerve pain. Neither are a conspiracy to disturb my precious day. Neither is about me. They simple are. Which brings us to the third Truth: suffering ceases when attachment to desire ceases.

How many times do I have to be reminded of these self-evident truths?
As often as it takes — that’s why they call it practice
.

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9 responses »

  1. reading an interesting little book called “Kamma and the end of Kamma” by Ajahn Sucitto. He talks about “self making”, my comfort, my peace and quiet, etc. I am finding this resonates so much with my practice these days. I hear these things, see things but sometimes just don’t feel so annoyed anymore. That annoyance feels like an add on. Why do I need to let them spoil the moment.

    Of course there is always the point where I can’t quite do it, the physical pain, whatever and that’s where just noticing what the mind gets up to is so helpful.

    Reply
    • The moment I notice the thing (annoyance for instance) and truly notice … in that moment I realize that I have choices. I don’t have to be annoyed . In the case of the smoker under my window, my heart opened with compassion for him and his addiction … and everything changed in a split second.

      Reply
  2. Well said! It’s what we talked about in my sangha here in St. Petersburg, Fl last week.

    Reply
    • it’s everywhere, anda, and doesn’t seem to go away any time soon. So we continue to practice … and to welcome each opportunity to soften our heart-minds.

      Reply
  3. Patricia Grace

    Thank you.

    Reply
  4. what do we do about the “suffering over the desire to end suffering”?

    Reply

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