The under lying sorrow is an inherent dissatisfaction within our mortal existence.
While happiness and joy does exist, they are marked by impermanence. Since antiquity mankind had yearned for long lasting happiness. Without the wisdom to find it in their existing life, many had pinned their hope of getting eternal happiness as a reward from another higher being/beings after death.
The Buddha advised us to face our underlying sorrow squarely.
These inherent dissatisfaction with life is gnawing at mankind’s consciousness. They influence our behaviour and shape the society.
If we face them with wisdom, we create cause for happiness.
If we hold ignorant views, it results in actions that create more sufferings.
What are the 8 unsatisfactory conditions that are troubling mankind’s consciousness?
I remembered learning about death from a TV soap opera at 5. In that same year I witness death when my pet died. It had a huge impact on me. Wouldn’t it be nice if we do not have to worry about death? Immortality or eternal existence had been high on mankind’s wish list. Many religions market themselves by promising its follower an eternal existence after their mortal death. In contrast, Buddha taught that death is unavoidable in Samsara.
Old age and death go hand in hand. Our body grows old and our senses become weak. Our youthful skin becomes wrinkled. Walking or breathing becomes laborious. This inevitable path is another source of dissatisfaction. We can do nothing about it as we experience old age in life. An unsatisfactory condition in life. A cause of our underlying sorrow.
Nobody can predict when sickness will strike. The burden of an illness robs us of all enjoyment in life. A situation that is feared by all. An underlying fear and dissatisfactory condition in life.
When there is birth in a family, we gain a kin. We celebrate a new life. However, it also means another human existence with its underlying imperfection is created. Another being with underlying sorrow has arrived.
Not getting what we desire.
There is a long list of things, situations, people, abilities etc that I wish for. However, we do not get what we want most of the time. Things don’t happen the way we want it. Then we console ourselves and say: “That is what makes life interesting.” In reality, not getting what we want creates an underlying sorrow.
Getting what we dislike
The opposite is also a cause of our underlying sorrow. Some people develop a chronic fear of unpleasant things happening to them. Whether we focus on this fear or not, we know deep inside; life does not always goes according to our wish. We just pray that unhappy things do not happen to us. That is an underlying sorrow within us.
Being separated from people we like.
We know that we will ultimately have to part with our beloved one. No matter how close we are, separation is inevitable. We just pray, that day does not arrive too soon. That is our underlying sorrow in life.
Being with people we dislike.
While being with good company brings us joy, the arrival of enemies and foe bring us distress. Some have a chronic fear of meeting bad people, preferring to eliminate that risk by isolation. No matter what we choose to do, that underlying condition in life creates an underlying sorrow.
The above is why Buddhist states that life is suffering. While we may choose to “forget’ about it, the conditions never disappear.
The Buddha taught that there is a way to end these underlying sorrow.
He taught a way of achieving that state of True happiness.
The way of the Noble eightfold path.