Dukkha, All Conditioned Things Are Suffering

9 Dec 2014  Posted in Mind and Body 

The Pali word, Dukkha, in ordinary usage means ‘suffering’, ’pain’, ’sorrow’ or misery’.

In my last post, one of the three universal truths is All Conditioned Things Are “Suffering”.

“Suffering” or Dukkha in the Budhha’s teaching has a deeper meaning.

It also includes ideas such as imperfection, impermanence, emptiness, insubstantiality.


Last week, I heard conversations about maintaining a relationship which a guy thought is difficult.

However, this guy set up everything to meet this girl whom he wanted to keep the relationship.

It seems he was confused about how to treat this relationship. 

This is one kind of mental phenomena that can be spotted every day.

What Are Phenomena?

Phenomena can be spotted every day, for example, the taste of sea water is salty.

The properties of salt are salty, white in colour and in form of powders which is called “lakṣaṇa”.

[The word “lakṣaṇa” (Sanskrit) is to denote the specific identifying attribute or defining characteristic of an entity.]

People are suffering because they are chasing after lakṣaṇawhich is a non-existing substance.

That is people are chasing after the taste of salty but do not realize that the taste, salty, cannot “exist” without sea water.

What Is A Relationship?

Does this guy have relationship with this girl if he has not seen her for a while?

Has he lost the relationship if he has not seen the girl?

The lakṣaṇa of this relationship attaches to actions this guy has taken since he tends to see her.

However, we cannot see and touch this relationship as this relationship does not exist like a concrete substance.

This guy is chasing after a thing which he never can touch.

In A Relationship, What Is Love?

He is happy that he has got love.

She is sad that she has lost love.

It seems that love is a concrete stuff which can be traded and exchanged.

Actually, love is lakṣaṇa.

You can dine with a girl, holding her hand, touching her face, kissing her…

However, you cannot smell or touch love as a concrete stuff because it is not a substance.

It has to be a substance so that you can lose or obtain it.

lakṣaṇa exists relatively attached to the way you look, your conversations and your behavior, etc.

They have got married seeing each other every day.

One day, when they are old and busy, they don’t kiss each other and don’t holding hands, have they still been in love?

If they don’t love each other, when do they lose their love?

Tomorrow, if he talks to her again or sacrifice for her, has he got her love back again?

Does love he had in past the same as love he has now?

Or are they different?


People are spending their lives looking for things such as respect, romance, achievement, etc.

They obtain and lose them but they have not realized that they are chasing after lakṣaṇa.

lakṣaṇa is existing in the world but it is impermanent and changed constantly.

It is called Śūñyatā (Sanskrit)– emptiness (Please note that it does not mean there is nothing).


All conditioned things are “suffering”.

If people understand this, verify “emptiness” and reach enlightenment, they can eliminate all emotion and vexation in mind.

Then, their mind will be totally tranquilized.

Related Articles 

Three Universal Truths For Spiritual Seekers


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