This question may seem a little new age. I am often discouraged in my life in general by the belief that I want more, nothing specific, but something is missing, perhaps a more meaningful life. Could this be attachment or thirst for an abstract idea? Can we be attached to the objects of the 6th consciousness? It's not obviously causing me to suffer physically or psychologically, perhaps in a subtle way, and it may be the suffering of change as it manifests to the 6th consciousness and its attachments.

Any ideas? FTR I definitely don't blame - Buddhist - religion for that, even having had religious psychosis. It is just the mundane sense that my past is a disappointment and there's nothing I can do to shift my future into something better than that.

  • What is the sixth consciousness from your understanding?
    – ruben2020
    Commented May 1 at 1:44
  • either the mental organ or the vijnana associated with that @ruben2020
    – user25078
    Commented May 1 at 4:23

3 Answers 3


MHO & Ideas: First, this seems not to be a “new age” question but related to an “age old” question of what our purpose of existence is. Apologies not needed.

Second, I believe that this, indeed is attachment. Attachment is not limited to being related to physical things, but can be Sankhara-dukkha (the dukkha of conditioned experience) which can relate to our “general dissatisfaction with our condition in this existence”.

Third, I believe that despite your protestations you are suffering as indicated by your being motivated to ask this question in this forum. You need to know, you are clinging to this idea. And it might not just be as subtle as you indicated as clinging to this idea might even be guiding important decisions in your life.

To give up this attachment as guided by the third noble truth will lead to the loss of “discouragement” and free you from this self-limitation to your attainment of enlightenment. Respectfully, Jim

  • so all mental objects are possible attachments? i was thinking of this question again, and it does seem to be the prime instacne of my suffering in this life, a need to know. but, new age or not, i am relcutant to give up on it
    – user25078
    Commented May 6 at 20:01
  • the fukanzazengi springs to mind: forget all affairs and true and false.
    – user25078
    Commented May 6 at 20:04

Sure, it is attachment. The mind is attached to a feeling of discontentment.

This said, Buddhist doctrine does encourage the development of contentment.

Contentment is developed when one knows in one's heart one is morally living the right non-harmful way and then when some samatha has been developed.

  • The Buddha actually recommended being discontent over how you're using your life - always trying to improve: “Monks, I have known two qualities through experience: discontent with regard to skillful qualities and unrelenting exertion." dhammatalks.org/suttas/AN/AN2_5.html. He only taught contentment regarding the material requisites of life. Commented Jun 9 at 13:42
  • actually the Buddha did not recommend discontentment. The Buddha encouraged contentment. I appears you are misinterpreting Pali words. Thanissaro's translations are not the words of the Buddha. Your comment also is not related to the question. Its interesting how chatsites for many are the path to hell & the animal world. Commented Jun 9 at 19:38
  • Seems you're wrong, again. dvinnāhaṃ, bhikkhave, dhammānaṃ upaññāsiṃ – yā ca asantuṭṭhitā kusalesu dhammesu yā ca appaṭivānitā padhānasmiṃ. Commented Jun 10 at 3:45

This might be "conceit" e.g. as described

I say this in case a one-word diagnosis might be useful to you -- to recognize it is to know how to handle it.

"Wasting your life" might mean "I am better than this" -- which is a comparison, presumably of the sort described in that answer -- though not a comparison between "you and me", but between "me and my sense of self-worth".

If so:

  • It's persistent or not lightly uprooted -- i.e. until the "fourth stage of enlightenment"
  • It's not -- or maybe shouldn't be -- a "view"

An antidote might be morality -- doing your best, or living your best life -- with "best" in the "morally good" sense. Perhaps this might mean deciding on a "calling" (as they say in English) -- including perhaps, at least in the context of the suttas for example, to become a monk.

  • so a "calling" is conceit but then everything is?
    – user25078
    Commented May 1 at 6:43
  • I don't want to define what a "calling" is: it's a Christian English word, used in the sense that God "calls" you to do something e.g. to ordain or serve -- and I don't mean it in that Christian way, but in a more general lay-English-vocabulary sense. But Buddhism has the notion of "I'm happy (maybe content, even joyful, or satisfied) that I'm doing the right thing (or a good thing, or perhaps the best I know)" -- see e.g. Sīlānussati or AN 11.1.
    – ChrisW
    Commented May 1 at 7:21
  • and this is or isn't conceit? i get i was asking a self help question, but i don't fully understand your answer, except for what you are advising
    – user25078
    Commented May 1 at 7:32
  • I was saying that the perception or thought that there's a difference between "how you're spending your life" and "how you should be spending your life" might be a conceit of the form "I should be (or have) better than this" -- and that a remedy might be morality of the form "I will be good, I am being good, I have been good". I said it hoping you might already know what conceit is, and that by identifying the "nothing specific" in your question as a symptom or form of conceit, that (identification) might help you use your usual tools (for handling conceit) for this unspecified problem too.
    – ChrisW
    Commented May 1 at 7:51
  • 2
    This may be stereotypical of a mathematician's form a problem-solving -- i.e. given a new problem, reformat/convert it into the form of an already-known problem, one which you already know how to solve.
    – ChrisW
    Commented May 1 at 7:54

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