Buddhism And The Human Condition

1289 Words6 Pages
In looking at the human condition, one cannot deny the immutable presence of suffering as a central tenet of life. Nobody, not even the Buddha, walks through life without experiencing pain, anguish, and suffering. However, one cannot experience suffering without also knowing its opposite of love, joy, and happiness. Buddhist terminology refers to these emotional states as dukkha and sukha. Importantly, however, these emotional conditions are impermanent and deeply related to one another. Dukkha comes from the fruitless but eternal human plight of grasping at an ephemeral sense of happiness. Too many live without acknowledging that their endeavors of maintaining a static feeling of bliss, or sukha, is both unrealistic and futile. While some would criticize this life philosophy as deeply pessimistic, the reality is that the Buddha’s observations are an insightful and irrefutable fact of life. The human race’s continuous inability to grasp the concept of life as suffering has led to the erroneous and often western misconception that Buddhism is an inherently cynical religion. This ethnocentric line of criticism, however, ignores the rewarding and deeply spiritual facets of Buddhism that attempt to enrich one’s life by mitigating dukkha. The Buddha’s Four Noble Truths reflects this understanding, and serves to remind adherents that life is suffering and that it arises from the existential plight of impermanence. In this vein, life is dukkha but there are ways to alleviate the
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