dukkha (Buddha’s first noble truth)

(I published this poem 6 years ago. Seeing it today, I have thoughts. And that’s as good a reason to write as any.)

You Think You Are Meant

you think you are meant
to be happy all the time
you think
you are

mucking it up sad angry
as if
sad angry are bad things

but no
you are just wrong
about being happy
all the time

see now
don’t you feel better?

Oh I have thoughts.

At the time I was still reading a lot of Buddhist thought and listening to teachers of a particularly dry yoga lineage. I was still deep in the Seeker phase – SEEKING enlightenment, SEEKING the magical piece of wisdom that would transport my poor befuddled depressed confused anxiety-prone brain to the Promised Land of equanimity, knowledge, and ultimate peace of mind, I wanted to be HAPPY.

But at long last the lessons of the Buddha’s First Noble Truth had begun to take on a different, less dramatic color. The First Truth is dukkha. Usually this word is translated to mean “suffering”.

The First Truth: life is suffering. What a downer. But this translation is not entirely accurate. Dukkha might be more accurately described as “dissatisfaction” – far less dramatic, but super-relatable, right?


dukkha (Buddha’s first noble truth)

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