The Cause of Dukkha
The cause of dukkha is Tanha, which means craving. This craving is of three kinds, craving for sensuality, sensual experience (kamatanha), craving for continued existence (bhavatanha), and craving for non-existence (vibhavatanha). Craving for continued existence is linked to the eternalist view, wanting to live forever, whereas craving for non-existence is linked to the annihilationist view of everything ceasing at death.
Craving is exactly the same mental state (cetasika) as greed (lobha), although is has a wider application. The two types of craving connected to existence also have similarities to the opposites of greed and anger, in that they are both attachment to different sides of the same coin. In society these cravings can be recognized by people’s attachment to their appearance and wealth, striving to stash away the millions they estimate will be needed to cover their retirement. The craving for non-existence, on the other hand, leads to such extremes as suicide, alcoholism, narcotic addiction, and pointing out the foibles of your local dictator (death wish).
The concepts of eternalism and annhilationism have been around for thousands of years. Some people attach to the idea of reincarnation, where their self goes on from one life to another, and others believe that everything ends at death. In a way, both of them are half truths.
The error in the first concept is that there is no self, although something does move on, and with the second concept it is true that this particular being we have does come to a complete end, yet again, something moves on.
The problem is that in ignorance we focus upon the product rather than the manufacturer.
Whoever we are, eventually we are most certainly all history, and were only here in the first place so that the mind could continue to experience, so our being here has no great significance. Even many Buddhists think of their being going on and on through different lives, but it doesn't happen like that. It is the mind that goes on and on, using up its creations and then getting another one.
The interesting aspect of Tanha is that it comes down to the primal instinct of greed for survival, greed for experience, and it really is dukkha as there is absolutely nothing at all that will satisfy it. Thus, whatever you do to feed it, and no matter how much money you accumulate, Tanha just increases. What fools most people is that while their mind is being controlled by Tanha they actually think that Tanha is their ‘self’, so they never come to face the reality of their own attachments.
The only significance we can achieve from experiencing our mind’s travels in Samsara is by waking up and seeing things as they really are.
The Cause of Dukkha is the Second Noble Truth.