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How does the exterior is suffering?

In this Sutta series from SN35.140 it says the following.

Eye etc and its objects are impermanence, notself, and suffering. I understand all except that eye etc and its objects are suffering. For instance, if my eye arises as a result of a physical object, how the physical object is suffering?

https://suttacentral.net/sn35.144/en/sujato

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It is the sensation created by the touch of the object which is suffering regardless of whether it is pleasant, unpleasant or neutral. The whole sphere of sensations is unsatisfactory.

External objects are not suffering until you come in contact and it creates a sensation. Anything physical object you have not experienced is not unsatisfactory to you. You don't know about it and not registered in your mental model of the world. For someone who experiences it, it will be unsatisfactory. To experience an object you need contact: the object, faculty and attention to the faculty.

Your mental model of the world is all that you have experienced. So everything you have experienced is unsatisfactory hence the world at large is unsatisfactory.

Also, the world is the 5 aggregates. Past experiences leave an impression in sanna and what is experienced now is registered through consciousness and recognised though sanna - which essentially builds your mental model of the world. Physical objects which are in your world is what is unsatisfactory to you. Objects in another's world unsatisfactory to them. External objects on their own are not unsatisfactory.

Essentially what is know wold to a being is unsatisfactory. Everything in the known world is unsatisfactory. Anything which is unknow becomes unsatisfactory then it is experienced, until then it is not known hence neither satisfactory nor unsatisfactory. What you crave for is also unsatisfactory as you might not get it.


The faculty (e.g. eye) itself is not suffering. It is the sensation produced which lead to suffering.

If there are an eye and an external object and attention which gives rise to eye consciousness. This results in a sensation due to contact.

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    "The faculty (e.g. eye) itself is not suffering", huch? Sounds like Brahma Baka or Mara. Eye-faculty is lasting, real not subject to decay. Better to cite the Buddha, Upasaka. Otherwise much danger. – Samana Johann Jul 18 at 2:21
  • It is the vedana in the new body due to the eye which is suffering. The eye in the already dead body doesn't give suffering, as it doesn't cause vedana to any body. – Suminda Sirinath S. Dharmasena Jul 18 at 4:20
  • Comments are not for extended discussion; this conversation has been moved to chat. – ChrisW Jul 18 at 8:09
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The word 'dukkha' here means 'unsatisfactory' or 'cannot bring happiness'. It does not mean 'suffering', as translated by Sri Lankan N.K.G. Mendis, Indian Acharya Buddharakkhita and Thai Bhikkhu Buddhadasa:

"What do you think of this, O monks? Is form permanent or impermanent?"

"Impermanent, O Lord."

"Now, that which is impermanent, is it unsatisfactory or satisfactory?"

"Unsatisfactory, O Lord."

"Now, that which is impermanent, unsatisfactory, subject to change, is it proper to regard that as: 'This is mine, this I am, this is my self'?"

"Indeed, not that, O Lord."

SN 22.59


  1. "All conditioned things are impermanent" — when one sees this with wisdom, one turns away from suffering. This is the path to purification.

  2. "All conditioned things are unsatisfactory" — when one sees this with wisdom, one turns away from suffering. This is the path to purification.

  3. "All things are not-self" — when one sees this with wisdom, one turns away from suffering. This is the path to purification.

Dhammapada


"Vipassana" means "seeing clearly," having direct insight into the truth of aniccam (impermanence), dukkham (unsatisfactoriness) and anatta (not self).

Buddhadasa

The Buddha said:

Open are the doors to the Deathless to those with ears.

MN 26

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Householder, that's the Dhamma which, if seen, makes a wordling to a Noble One and had to see for those with dust in the eyes, yet so clear and easy at the same time.

Very raw ask-answered: Will the eye grow old and decay, or not? Is it real or not? Will the object, say house, grow old or last, will it decay or not? Isit real, lasting, a refuge or not?

No this should be clear. Look at something. How long does the object last, does it change, move, change color, right there, or not? Does the eye stay with the object, sharp, focused, or chance, grow sick, die off from the object?

Observe that, no need for intelectualization. Thats the way to stream-enter, right here and now, and nothing needed to believe.

Now, don't delay.

Okkanta-samyutta — Entering

At Savatthi. "Monks, the eye is inconstant, changeable, alterable. The ear... The nose... The tongue... The body... The mind is inconstant, changeable, alterable.

"One who has conviction & belief that these phenomena are this way is called a faith-follower: one who has entered the orderliness of rightness, entered the plane of people of integrity, transcended the plane of the run-of-the-mill. He is incapable of doing any deed by which he might be reborn in hell, in the animal womb, or in the realm of hungry shades. He is incapable of passing away until he has realized the fruit of stream-entry.

"One who, after pondering with a modicum of discernment, has accepted that these phenomena are this way is called a Dhamma-follower: one who has entered the orderliness of rightness, entered the plane of people of integrity, transcended the plane of the run-of-the-mill. He is incapable of doing any deed by which he might be reborn in hell, in the animal womb, or in the realm of hungry shades. He is incapable of passing away until he has realized the fruit of stream-entry.

"One who knows and sees that these phenomena are this way is called a stream-enterer, steadfast, never again destined for states of woe, headed for self-awakening."

Objects of eye,...

At Savatthi. "Monks, forms are inconstant, changeable, alterable. Sounds... Aromas... Flavors... Tactile sensations... Ideas are inconstant, changeable, alterable.

"One who has conviction & belief that these phenomena are this way is called a faith-follower: one who has entered the orderliness of rightness, entered the plane of people of integrity, transcended the plane of the run-of-the-mill. He is incapable of doing any deed by which he might be reborn in hell, in the animal womb, or in the realm of hungry shades. He is incapable of passing away until he has realized the fruit of stream-entry.

"One who, after pondering with a modicum of discernment, has accepted that these phenomena are this way is called a Dhamma-follower: one who has entered the orderliness of rightness, entered the plane of people of integrity, transcended the plane of the run-of-the-mill. He is incapable of doing any deed by which he might be reborn in hell, in the animal womb, or in the realm of hungry shades. He is incapable of passing away until he has realized the fruit of stream-entry.

"One who knows and sees that these phenomena are this way is called a stream-enterer, steadfast, never again destined for states of woe, headed for self-awakening."

The elements "of themselves"

At Savatthi. "Monks, the earth property is inconstant, changeable, alterable. The liquid property... The fire property... The wind property... The space property... The consciousness property is inconstant, changeable, alterable.

Viññana — Consciousness, Phassa — Contact, Vedana — Feeling , Sañña — Perception, Cetana — Intention, Tanha — Craving... what ever arises with the eye-faculty coming together by mind and matter, is anicca, in short the Khandhas — Aggregates, the world.

On FIRE!

“Monks, the All is aflame.

“What All is aflame?

“The eye is aflame.

“Forms are aflame.

“Consciousness at the eye is aflame.

“Contact at the eye is aflame.

“And whatever there is that arises in dependence on contact at the eye — experienced as pleasure, pain or neither-pleasure-nor-pain — that too is aflame.

When the eye is clear, check out the ear and sound, even more easy visible.

(Note that this is not given for trade, exchange, stacks, entertainment and akusala deeds, but as a share of merits and to continue such for release)

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The buddha says jivhā, rasā, jivhāviññāṇaṃ, jivhāsamphasso, vedayitaṃ and all the other sensual stuff are afflicted with bad things

The tongue, brethren, is afflicted, savours are afflicted, tongue-conseiousness, is afflicted, tongue-contact, is afflicted, that weal or woe or neutral state experienced, which arises owing to tongue-contact,- that also is afflicted.

Afflicted with what?

Afflicted with birth, decay and death, sorrow and grief, woe, lamentation and despair.

So I declare.

http://obo.genaud.net/dhamma-vinaya/pts/sn/04_salv/sn04.35.029.wood.pts.htm#p1

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This is very well explained in MN 38:

"On seeing a form with the eye, he is infatuated with pleasing forms, and gets upset over unpleasing forms. He dwells with body-mindfulness unestablished, with limited awareness. He doesn't discern, as it has come to be, the awareness-release & discernment-release where those evil, unskillful qualities cease without remainder. Engaged thus in compliance & opposition, he relishes any feeling he feels — pleasure, pain, neither-pleasure-nor-pain — welcomes it, & remains fastened to it. As he relishes that feeling, welcomes it, & remains fastened to it, delight arises. Now, any delight in feeling is clinging/sustenance. From his clinging/sustenance as a requisite condition comes becoming. From becoming as a requisite condition comes birth. From birth as a requisite condition, then aging-&-death, sorrow, lamentation, pain, distress, and despair come into play. Such is the origination of this entire mass of stress & suffering.

"On hearing a sound with the ear...

"On smelling an aroma with the nose...

"On tasting a flavor with the tongue...

"On sensing a tactile sensation with the body...

"On cognizing an idea with the intellect, he is infatuated with pleasing ideas, and gets upset over unpleasing ideas. He dwells with body-mindfulness unestablished, with limited awareness. He doesn't discern, as it has come to be, the awareness-release & discernment-release where those evil, unskillful qualities cease without remainder. Engaged thus in compliance & opposition, he relishes any feeling he feels — pleasure, pain, neither-pleasure-nor-pain — welcomes it, & remains fastened to it. As he relishes that feeling, welcomes it, & remains fastened to it, delight arises. Now, any delight in feeling is clinging/sustenance. From his clinging/sustenance as a requisite condition comes becoming. From becoming as a requisite condition comes birth. From birth as a requisite condition, then aging-&-death, sorrow, lamentation, pain, distress, & despair come into play. Such is the origination of this entire mass of stress & suffering.

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