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All Is Suffering

By Frank Simons

During his life the Buddha had been a focus of veneration and a source of authority. What was left to fill the void after his death? For those who wanted to worship, he left behind a “form body,” comprised of relics from his cremation. Over time this came to include objects the Buddha touched, places he visited, and images of the Buddha’s form. For those who wanted to follow the Buddha’s example, he left behind his dharma, the teaching that expressed the content of his awakening and showed the way for others to achieve this realization for themselves.

Video Presentation
Buddhism; Part 5, All Is Suffering
Thu, Jan 14, 5:30pm
Meditation Center
Callejón Blanco 4
Free, donations accepted
044 415 111 0644

Buddhists say the Buddha has two bodies: a physical, or “form body,” which arises and passes away like any other part of this changeable and transient world, and a dharma body, which is eternal and does not change. It is misleading, however, to think that the Buddha is divine with respect to either of these two bodies.

The topic of this lecture is the Buddha’s dharma, his most important legacy to his followers, and the most useful way for us to try to understand the content of his awakening. The traditional summary of the Buddha’s teaching is The Four Noble Truths: 1) The truth of suffering (dukkha). 2) The truth of the arising of suffering. 3) The truth of the cessation of suffering (also known as nirvana or nibbhana). 4) The truth of the path that leads to the cessation of suffering. Some say all four Noble Truths are contained by implication in the truth of suffering. Our job is to understand how this simple statement about suffering leads not to pessimism but to a sense of liberation and peace. Suffering comes in three ways: 1) things that cause physical and mental suffering; 2) suffering due to change; even the most pleasurable things cause pain when they pass away; 3) suffering due to conditioned states. The significance of these three kinds of suffering can be explained by relating them to the three “marks” of existence. Everything is suffering. Everything is impermanent. Nothing has any self, or “all is no self.”

Questions: What do Buddhists mean when they say there is no self? Is there a good analogy that would make this concept clear? Why is it so attractive to think that there is no self? Would this be a dangerous idea if it were understood in the wrong way? Do Buddhists have a way of protecting themselves against these dangers?


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