The Noble Truth of Dukkha, Part 2: Caught in the Causal Matrix
We have so far considered two of the three aspects of Dukkha. First,
life inevitably entails a great deal of suffering. This ranges from the
acute (produced by wars, famines, disease, etc.) to the commonplace (feelings that frequently wash over us: grouchiness, fear, anger, boredom, depression, aches and pains, loneliness, etc.).
Second, although suffering is frequently not experienced, it is always potential. The angel of suffering, so to speak, lurks about us even in the best of times.
The third aspect is perhaps the most subtle. There is a causal character throughout Hindu and Buddhist thinking. It is not uncommon to read metaphors like: "The person in this world of Dukkha is like a leaf blown by the wind." Or ". . . is like a cork bobbing in the ocean, pushed this way, now that, by the waves." We have already discussed the concept of Karma, which holds that our current suffering, circum-