I'm reading Thich Nhat Hanh's "The heart of the Buddhist teaching". When discussing the three dharma seals he talks about misconceptions of suffering. He says that teachings where suffering is considered a basic element of reality are wrong:

But sometimes only Two Dharma Seals are taught - suffering and nirvana. .... But suffering is not a basic element of existence. It is a feeling. When we insist on something that is impermanent and without self being permanent and having a self, we suffer. The Buddha taught that when suffering is present, we have to identify it and take the necessary steps to transform it. He did not teach that suffering is always present.

This makes sense to me intuitively How do the different schools, i.e. TNH as well as those opposing, justify their position? What do they use as their reference?

I have read this Q/A here however I am more interested in the references and how the different ideas are defended. The Q/A linked seems to be more opinion based, which is fine of course.


I think that the second noble truth says that suffering co-arises with craving -- and the third noble truth says that cessation (of craving and suffering) happens.

It's being called "pervasive", I think, comes from the tilakkhaṇa -- i.e.:

  • sabbe saṅkhārā aniccā — "all saṅkhāras (conditioned things) are impermanent"
  • sabbe saṅkhārā dukkhā — "all saṅkhāras are unsatisfactory"
  • sabbe dhammā anattā — "all dharmas (conditioned or unconditioned things) are not self"

Note that it's "sabbe saṅkhārā" i.e. "all conditioned things" -- not "all dhammas" -- that are unsatsifactory.

Also note that "dukkhā" there is translated "unsatisfactory" not "suffering" -- i.e. the things themselves are unsatisfactory and impermanent.

Whereas "suffering" (with is another translation of "dukkhā", a context in which "dukkhā" is used) might be slightly different -- i.e. an aspect of consciousness which co-arises with craving and attachment -- i.e. craving and attaching to sankharas which are unsatisfactory and impermanent.


This makes sense to me intuitively How do the different schools, i.e. TNH as well as those opposing, justify their position? What do they use as their reference?

There's no contradiction between what TNH said versus any other school 'cuz really whenever you ask: "Is suffering always present", it's normally assumed that the sentence meant: "Is suffering always present relative to whose frame of reference"?, not some ontological inquiry into the existence of suffering in and of itself. Because of that, TNH's explanation was based on the former context and it is indeed very true, ie. for a Buddha or His arahant disciples, suffering is not present from their frame of reference. It obviously is from a run-of-the-mill's frame of reference.


I think . We should know suffering very deeply. I have read krishnamurti 'article In this artical.
Our opposite desire cause suffering.. For example

"I am thin and I want to become body builder " That opposite desire cause suffering.

"I should and I should be " That is conflict . That is friction.

"Friction cause suffering "

Please aware this friction..

'There is no friction. There is no suffering "

For example

"I am this and I want to that "

"Friction " suffering


I am this

"No friction " No suffering "

Our idea cause suffering..

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