Week 40 - The Second Noble Truth - The Origin of Dukkha

Having defined and described dukkha, this week Joseph explains the cause of dukkha, which is craving.  Joseph discusses three domains of craving:

1.   The desire for sense pleasures,

2.   The desire to be, and

3.   The desire for non-existence.

He elaborates on these, with a great deal of attention to the desire for sense pleasures. As he says, “these desires are just our usual engagement with life – enjoying and wanting what is pleasurable , avoiding as best we can what is disagreeable.” However, Joseph then describes the drawbacks of the sense pleasures, or “the downside of things”. In brief, these downsides are:

1.   Craving doesn’t deliver happiness,

2.   Craving can lead to suffering, and

3.   Craving can lead to agitation.

The second domain of craving, the desire to be, often manifests in the planning mind. On a more momentary level, it can be experienced as a “leaning forward, anticipating the next moment”.

The third domain, the desire for non-existence may manifest as a desire to end it all, or a desire for the non-existence of something unpleasant.

Joseph describes how these three domains are interrelated.  He concludes with the words Buddha spoke upon his awakening:

        “Realized is the unconditioned.

        Achieved is the ending of creation.”

Discussion Questions

1.   Can you describe your personal experience with both the allure and the drawbacks of sense pleasures?

2.   What is your personal relationship with craving?  When and how does it cause suffering in your life?

3.   How does the desire of becoming manifest in your life?  What does the planning mind feel like in terms of the felt senses it produces?

4.   Can you recall a time when you experienced the desire for nonexistence?  What were the internal conditions in terms of your own perceptions of pleasant, unpleasant, and neutral?


1.   Either while sitting or in daily life, try to notice, name, and distinguish the difference of both the inspiration that comes with aspiration and the wanting and agitation of expectation as they arise and pass away.  Share your experience in the blog below.

2.   During your meditation practices this week take particular notice of the becoming mind – the planning mind.  What are you attempting to become?   Are you attempting to relive the past or shape the future?  Share your experience in the blog below.

3.   Over the next several days take note of flashes of deep aversion – those ‘my life sucks’ / not me, not again, moments … quickly reflect on the story that is causing this sensation.  Note: where is your sense of self in relation to the rest of the world at that moment.  Share your experience in the blog below.