The Buddhist First Noble Truth, the reality of dukkha, was described in contemporary terms. The traditional translation of dukkha is “suffering”; modern commentators prefer words such as “stress”, “insufficiency”, and “dissatisfaction”, among others, to describe current cultural experience. Peter talked of the increasingly stressful characteristic of modern cultures, with the imposed stressors of consumerism and media indoctrination, and the impact stress has on the human body/mind process. This was related to the Five Hindrances, with emphasis on the hindrance of restlessness/worry.
The ways and means that Buddhism provides relief from contemporary stress was described, followed by lively discussion of what this means to those attending the meeting.
Here are the notes prepared for this presentation: STRESS AND THE DHAMMA The notes provide data on the prevalence and impact on contemporary society as a result of stress, derived from the National Institute for Mental Health, a governmental organization.
Next week’s topic will address the issues associated with anxiety, from a Buddhist perspective as well as various levels of clinical anxiety disorders.