Aaron: The Second Noble Truth says the cause of suffering is our grasping—grasping for things to stay as they are, not to change. This is impossible; because in this world of conditions, as conditions change the results of those conditions will change.
Can any of you remember being young children and being so excited about each birthday, wanting to get older? “I want to be 9!” “I want to be 12!” “I want to be 18!”
Anybody here who can’t wait to be 92? Anybody here who can’t wait to be 80 or 70? Maybe it would be a delightful celebration for your birthday; maybe not. But being that age, wanting the body to age, to get older, none of you really want that.
But you can’t stop it; the body will age.
Aaron: After his enlightenment, the Buddha reflected on what could be shared with others, to try to find some concise format in which to express it. The formula that came up for him is this Four Noble Truths. He based it on the way a physician visiting a sick person would state what he had learned. What is the problem? What is the cause of the problem? What is the possible outcome, and how do we move toward that outcome? This was a prescribed formula of his day, in which a physician worked.
So, the first: what is the problem? There is suffering, dukkha. The word ka in Pali means the hub of a wheel. Du means “off-center”. Thus, dukkha is the wheel that is off-center. Conversely, the prefix su means “center”. Sukkha is happiness, the wheel that is centered.