by Vickramabahu Karunaratne
( Colombo, Sri Lanka Guardian)The Government of Lanka says that on Wesak day this year, 2600 years after Buddha will be completed. Of course there are those who dispute the calculations of advisers to the government. In any case it must be pproximately true; and after so many years it is worth making an investigation into the fundamental teachings of Buddha. Buddha was probably the first human teacher to reject the idea of God or the Creator. Also, he rejected metaphysics and beliefs in super natural phenomena that existed in the religious practices at that time. In particular he rejected the idea of soul and the transmigration of soul towards an eternal life. In opposition to all that he put forward the idea of Dukkha as the fundamental truth of the universe. What is meant by Dukkha? Generally we hear, that Dukkha means suffering of the human subject. In that sense it is a universal truth confined to the human existence. However, what Buddha preached was a universal truth about the whole universe, or the total reality.
What is the objective meaning of dukkha? In the most general sense, dukkha means severe emptiness or negative nothingness. Does that mean continuous negation is the fundamental reality? Buddha often referred to a universal formula to depict the basic character of the reality: anitta- dukkha- anatma, meaning change-negation- lack of soul or substance. However Buddha was eager to explain the idea of dukkha referring to twelve varieties of happenings or movements. Rise and collapse, growth and decay, damage and recovery, unity of the opposite and separation of the equals, pressure and release, disturb and settle. In some places Buddha removed the last two sets and included these within damage and recovery.
In that case there were only eight movements included within dukkha. Inspite of such variations dukkha means all such possible severe happenings common to any thing and every thing within the universe. Impermanence, negation in nothingness- dukkha- is at the bottom of every thing. Physical world is a product of this self movement. Buddha said the four physical states, maha bhootha meaning general physical states, patavi or solidness, aapo or liquidness, vayo or gases, and thejo or fire are products of dukkha. In turn all physical things arise from four maha bootha. Read the rest of this entry »