To what extent is dukkha central to the beliefs and practices of Buddhism?

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pmiranda2857 eNotes educator| Certified Educator

Suffering is central to understanding Buddhism.  At the heart of the Buddha's teaching is the challenge to escape suffering, a difficult task, since the human condition is characterized by suffering.  However, the Buddha responding to the caste system in India during his lifetime realized that suffering can be stopped, however, his prescription is a difficult one to embrace.

In order to escape suffering, we must free ourselves of all attachments.  The Buddha gave us the preeminent example of this life choice when, in the middle of the night, he left his wife and new born son, his life of material comfort, to find a life of true peace and happiness as a wandering mendicant.

In order to free ourselves from dukkha, we must free ourselves from all attachments, everything in our lives is impermanent, it is transitory, it will fade, die or be lost.  The Buddha said to find peace, we must extinguish desire which is the cause of suffering, desire comes from our attachments.  When we accept the temporary nature of all relationships in our lives and understand how we do not need material objects to make us happy, then we can find peace from dukkha.  Walking the path to enlightenment is a journey of meditation, building inner strength to resist the temptation to feel too connected to this life. 

user1450001 | Student

I feel - any dukkha (suffering or pain) is practices of Spritualism ultimately .  And Pain is the only path to get towards sprituality.

The Buddha taught there are three main categories of dukkha. These are:

  1. Suffering or pain (dukkha-dukkha)
  2. Impermanence or change (viparinama-dukkha)
  3. Conditioned states (samkhara-dukkha)

The Buddha's first sermon after his Enlightenment centered on the Four Noble Truths, which are the foundation of Buddhism. The truths are:

  1. The truth of suffering (dukkha)
  2. The truth of the cause of suffering (samudaya)
  3. The truth of the end of suffering (nirhodha)
  4. The truth of the path that frees us from suffering (magga)  .



user1450001 | Student

The search for a spiritual path is born out of suffering. It does not start with lights and ecstasy, but with the struggle of pain, disappointment, and confusion. The four nobel truth are the foundation and it has to trigger inner realization.