This Dark Age

A manual for life in the modern world.

By Daniel Schwindt

NOTICE:
This Dark Age is now available in paperback on Amazon. The print version is MUCH cleaner than this online version, which is largely unedited and has fallen by the wayside as the project has grown. If you’ve appreciated my writing, please consider leaving a review on the relevant paperback volumes. The print edition also includes new sections (Military History, War Psychology, Dogmatic Theology).

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Dukkha

Dukkha means Suffering. Suffering is to Buddhism what sin is to Christianity. It is the reason for being of the Buddhist gospel, the ailment for which it provides the cure.

“If these things were not in the world, my disciples, the Perfect One, the holy Supreme Buddha, would not appear in the world; the law and the doctrine which the Perfect One propounded would not shine in the world. What three things are they? Birth, old age, and death.

“Both then and now, says the Buddha again, just this do I reveal : Suffering and the Extinction of Suffering.”

Is this, then, the Gospel of pleasure? Absolutely not, says the Buddha, for pleasure is a kind of pain:

“Sorrow springs from the flood of sensual pleasure as soon as the object of sensual desire is removed.”[1]

And again:

“From merriment cometh sorrow; from merriment cometh fear. Whosever is free from merriment, for him there is no sorrow: whence should fear come to him? From love cometh sorrow; from love cometh fear. Whosoever is free from love, for him there is no sorrow: whence should come fear to him?”

Here we might find agreement with Nietzsche that “Pleasure if a form of pain” and again: “Said ye ever Year to one joy? O my friends, then said ye Yea also unto all Woe.” [Thus Spake Zarathustra, “The Drunken Son”] Such an attitude offers a welcome answer to the modern ideology of happiness and worldly satisfaction.

What is at the root of this teaching is the fact that happiness which depends on contact with the object of pleasure is by its nature passing, and depends from moment to moment on continued contact, and therefore must come to an end, and that end is pain. To illustrate this we see that Buddhism devotes much of its time to analyzing the consciousness and is determined to reveal is ever-changing character, always mixed in some way with passing things.

[1] Visuddhi Magga, xvii.

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