“…any desire-passion with regard to craving for forms is a defilement of the mind. Any desire-passion with regard to craving for sounds… craving for aromas… craving for flavors… craving for tactile sensations… craving for ideas is a defilement of the mind. When, with regard to these six bases, the defilement’s of awareness are abandoned, then the mind is inclined to renunciation. The mind fostered by renunciation feels malleable for the direct knowing of those qualities worth realizing.”
Those are the words of the Buddha from the Tanha Sutta.
And a really wonderful in-depth explanation of the Second Noble Truth can be found here.
But I will try to talk about how I see this truth, as I have come to understand it, so far on my journey.
Last night, one of the Monks made a very good point to me. If one is striving hard to reach enlightenment, that is a desire also. Wow, what a conundrum!
Then he related the old Buddhist story of a young Monk who asked his Teacher how long it would take to become enlightened. The older Monk told him ten years. Then the young Monk said, “No, no, what if I study really hard and work diligently at it, how long will it take?”. The older Monk looked at him and said “Oh, if you work really hard at it, the it will take twenty years!”.
So if the Second Noble Truth is about desire and attachment, how does one go about desiring freedom from this, or attaching to that desire?
I believe it is simply to be aware of desire and attachment as the cause of suffering.
I can tell you that I still have attachments and desires, but not so greatly as previously in my life. I have a genuine awareness of how these cause me suffering, and gently I attempt to let these go. Again, I believe that loving kindness is the fuel for this metamorphosis. By simply loving the self and loving others with acceptance and compassion, I ease any desire to achieve or gain something. I find I am creating a place of peace within, while cravings and attachments melt away. There is no pressure in this at all. No sense of another goal or challenge. Just peace and acceptance.
So I think that my explanation of the Second Noble Truth has in part led into the Third Noble Truth. But I hope to be able to expound more deeply on the Third Truth another time.
I hope this made sense to some of you, and perhaps may be of benefit.
The key takeaway I believe, is that the cause of suffering is desire and attachment. But please do not let this awareness be the cause of more suffering (dukkha) for you.
Simply see it, accept it, and live compassionately with equanimity.
May you be well, happy and peaceful.