Dukkha

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When we experience dukkha, our first instinct is to move our attention away and distract ourselves. We have billion-dollar industries based on entertainment and consumption keeping us distracted from this core truth of life. But are we more content? Conversely, we can become addicted to pain, finding ourselves repeatedly gravitating toward worry, old wounds, and resentments. We can even wallow in suffering, our own and others’. Some people become sufferers, great martyrs thinking “no one suffers as much as me—let me just tell you about it.” We all have complex reactions to this everyday experience of unsatisfactoriness…

The meaning of dukkha that conveys this process is derived from the breakdown of the word into du, which means “apart from” and kha—or akash—which means “space.” This gives the sense of being apart from the spacious, the perfect, and the complete. In this way dukkha conveys the deepest anguish and dilemma of the self, which is its state of separation from the whole.

– From Listening to the Heart: A Contemplative Journey to Engaged Buddhism by Kittisaro and Thanissara

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