Monday, June 21, 2010

True Blood, False Dharma

Last night on True Blood Lafayette said to his cousin Tara "The Buddhists weren't crazy when they said that life is suffering!"

Here we go again.

A few months ago, Bill Maher dismissed Buddhism as being nothing more than a philosophy the spews "Life sucks, then you die."

Wrong again.

It seems that people have lots to say about Buddhism without knowing very much about it.

The "Life is Suffering" part comes from the First Noble Truth. Personally, I don't like to translate it as "suffering" since the word that was originally used was a Pali term, "dukkha." which refers to our constant sense of unease or dissatisfaction with the current state of affairs. Dukkha is that feeling we have that things are always a little less than ideal--it's always a little too hot or too cold or too boring or too matter how things are, we're always wishing they were just a little bit different.

Yes, the Buddha taught about this dukkha or unease, but he also taught about HAPPINESS. And for some reason the world doesn't seem open to hearing about this part. I think it's because many Christian religions see suffering on earth as its own reward, but we can talk about that later.

The Four Noble Truths bear some repeating, so here they are:

1. Life is Dukkah (full of unease, dissatisfaction, discomfort)
2. The cause of dukkha is craving and attachment.
3. There is a way to end this discomfort
4. The way to end this dukkha is through the Eightfold Path

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

I heard both of these comments when they were being broadcast and thought the same thing -- an erroneous simplification of Buddhist philosophy.

In addition to the misinterpretation of dukkha as all-out suffering , I was also told, at one point, that the -- the Buddha didn't necessarily say Life = Dukkha, but that life is MARKED by Dukkha. Big difference.

True or does anyone really know?