Three Types of
First, there is the suffering of suffering. This level of suffering is easy to
recognize and relatively easy to find solutions for. It includes physical and mental pain. Even animals can
understand this level of suffering.
Second, there is the suffering of change. With awareness, or mindfulness, one
observes that suffering comes when things change. At first, some objects and events appear desirable – they do
look as if they will bring happiness, and for a time they do. However, when time passes and circumstances
change, the same desirable objects and events can turn into something undesirable, something one wants to avoid.
Because of changing circumstances, our view of objects or events also changes.
In reality, everything is
impermanent. The reason that change brings suffering is because we want things to remain as they
To get an insight into how this
happens, we need an understanding of the gross levels of impermanence, how things come into being, remain, then
cease, by the power of others. They arise by the power of others, while they remain they are still under the
power of others and their cessation depends on the power of others. Nothing happens independently. If
we really understand that very gross level of impermanence and how we have so little freedom, it will help us
understand the more subtle levels of impermanence.
This process of change has the nature
to produce some kind of
suffering. We all know things change,
but we need to know this at more than an intellectual level; it must be at the heart level. Things are changing,
and these changing processes (whether human emotions or actions are involved or not) have the potential to bring
I am not saying the nature of change
itself is suffering. There is a big difference. The change from autumn to winter itself is not suffering but it
has the nature to bring some kind of suffering because we cling on to what is there and do not want to lose it.
There is nothing wrong with enjoyment,
but when we are attracted to something we have to bear in mind that it will change. If we are not really aware
of that changing nature, then when this change comes, as it must, it will be a big shock. Through constant
effort, we can avoid falling prey to strong emotions which lead to strong