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Glossary
Latter Day Buddhism


Dukkha:
(From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia)

Dukkha (Pa-li; according to grammatical tradition from Sanskrit dus-kha "uneasy", but according to Monier-Williams more likely a Prakritized form of dus-stha "unsteady, disquieted") is a central concept in Buddhism, the word roughly corresponding to a number of terms in English including sorrow, suffering (or pain), affliction, anxiety, dissatisfaction, discomfort, anguish, stress, misery, and frustration. The term is probably derived from duh.stha, "standing badly," "unsteady," "uneasy."

In classic Sanskrit, the term dukkha was often compared to a large potter's wheel that would screech as it was spun around, and did not turn smoothly. The opposite of dukkha was the term sukkha, which brought to mind a potter's wheel that turned smoothly and noiselessly. In other Buddhist-influenced cultures, similar imagery was used to describe dukkha. An example from China is the cart with one wheel that is slightly broken, so that the rider is jolted each time the wheel rolls over the broken spot.

Although dukkha is often translated as "suffering", its philosophical meaning is more complex. It also contains such deeper ideas as "imperfection", "unease", "anguish" and "unsatisfactoriness". "Suffering" is too narrow a translation with "negative emotional connotations" (Jeffrey Po) and it is sometimes best to leave dukkha untranslated. The translation into "suffering" gives the impression that the Buddhist view is one of pessimism, but Buddhism is neither pessimistic nor optimistic.


















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