Joseph Goldstein – Insight Hour – Ep. 75 – Turning the Wheel of the Dharma: Understanding Dukkha

understanding dukkha

Joseph explores the unsatisfying nature of conditioned phenomena and how understanding the truth of dukkha is necessary for liberation.

Listen to part one of this series – Turning the Wheel of the Dharma: The Middle Path
A Bad Fit

Joseph breaks down the term dukkha and talks about the different ways it is translated into English. While many think of it as suffering, it can also be translated as unsatisfying or unreliable, or simply a bad fit.

“What actually does dukkha mean? In many ways, this one term defines the entire spiritual path.” – Joseph Goldstein

Pain, Attachment, and Conditioned States (13:30)

Joseph reflects on the three ways we experience dukkha in our lives: pain in our bodies and minds, along with the pain and suffering of the world around us; attachment and the unreliability of constant change; and the experience of all conditioned states, such as the drive to reproduce.

“While love can be enhanced in the awareness of change, attachment in the face of change only and inevitably brings suffering.” – Joseph Goldstein

The Five Aggregates (35:43)

Joseph explores how dukkha is perhaps best defined as attachment to the five aggregates: material elements, feelings, perceptions, formations, and consciousness. He talks about how understanding dukkha itself is the path to awakening.

“It became so clear in just watching in this careful way, the different aggregates were simply coming and going according to changing conditions. Nothing belonged to me, and there was no ‘me’ to whom they could belong.” – Joseph Goldstein

understanding dukkha
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Images via Phonphan Wichukijmongkol and Pxhere