ADVAITA SAMKHYA
Psychology of Suffering

The Truth of Suffering

[Buddha]
Figure 6: The Buddha, Gautama Siddartha

Suffering (duhkha) is the separation (viyoga) of the knower and the known (jna and jneya) [1], or the seer and the seen (drashta and drishya).  This perceived division is the basis of all psychological pain.  The search for happiness (sukha) is the attempt to reunite the two.  Suffering has nothing to do with our bank account, how full our belly is, our relationship status, whether people like us, or whether they agree with us.  Rather, it’s an inner experience of incompleteness that no amount of superficial remedies can fix.  We inwardly yearn to experience the wholeness of our being.  But something inside of us prevents it.  Therefore, we must stop blaming others and remedy the problem through our own efforts.

The Arising of Suffering

  A: Klesha B: Ashaya
1 avidya prakriti
2 asmita sattva
3 ragadvesha rajas
4 abhinivesha tamas
Table 1: The Four Afflictions

The Afflictions

The arising of suffering (udaya of duhkha) is egoism, attachment and aversion, and inertia (asmita, ragadvesha, and abhinivesha). [2]  They’re three of the four afflictions (klesha chatushtaya).  The first being ignorance (avidya).  It’s the field (kshetra) of the subsequent afflictions (uttara kleshas). [3]

A Quarrelsome Quartet

The Yoga Sutras list attachment and aversion (raga and dvesha) as separate afflictions (kleshas). [4]  But Advaita Samkhya considers them to be two sides of the same coin.  Hence, there are four afflictions (klesha chatushtaya).

Their Abodes

Each of these four has its own abode (ashaya). [5][6]  Nature (prakriti) is the abode of ignorance.  Mind (sattva) is the abode of egoism.  Emotion (rajas) is the abode of attachment and aversion.  And physics (tamas) is the abode of inertia.

The Cessation of Suffering

[Weed]
Figure 7: Pulling the Weed of Suffering

The cessation of suffering (nirodha of duhkha) is the complete cessation (ashesha nirodha) of this triple ignorance (avidya traya). [7]  If one is wounded by a poisoned arrow, one removes it without delay.  Idly questioning the nature of the arrow beforehand wastes precious time. [8]  Likewise, the afflictions must be removed as quickly as possible.

The Path of Cessation

  A: Bheshaja B: Ashaya
1 vidya purusha
2 mumukshutva sat
3 vairagya ananda
4 viveka chit
Table 2: The Four Remedies

The Remedies

The path of cessation (nirodhamarga) is the repetition (abhyasa) of discernment, non-attachment, and seeking liberation (viveka, vairagya, and mumukshutva). [9]  They’re three of the four remedies (bheshaja chatushtaya).  The first being wisdom (vidya).  It’s the field (kshetra) of the subsequent remedies (uttara bheshajas).

Their Abodes

Each of these four has its own abode (ashaya). [5][6]  Spirit (purusha) is the abode of wisdom.  Existence (sat) is the abode of seeking liberation.  Bliss (ananda) is the abode of non-attachment.  And consciousness (chit) is the abode of discernment.

Walking the Path

A path (marga) isn’t a belief system but rather a process of self-transformation.  In other words, it must be walked.  The term “abhyasa” means “repetition,” “repeated performance,” or “continued application.”  In this case, it’s the repetition of the discernment, non-attachment and seeking liberation.  These remedies (bheshajas) cure the afflictions (kleshas) of egoism, attachment and aversion, and inertia (asmita, ragadvesha, and abhinivesha).  This is the essence of spiritual practice (sadhana).

References

  1. Vyas, S. K. Advaita Samkhya Sutras 1.1.
  2. Vyas, S. K. Advaita Samkhya Sutras 1.2.
  3. Patanjali. Yoga Sutras 2.4.
  4. Patanjali. Yoga Sutras 2.3.
  5. Vyas, S. K. Advaita Samkhya Sutras 4.5.
  6. Vyas, S. K. Advaita Samkhya Sutras 4.18.
  7. Vyas, S. K. Advaita Samkhya Sutras 1.3.
  8. Gautama Buddha. Chulamalukya Sutta MN63.
  9. Vyas, S. K. Advaita Samkhya Sutras 1.4.