RELI 448N Week 3 Discussion: Buddhism 

RELI 448N Week 3 Discussion: Buddhism 

RELI 448N Week 3 Discussion: Buddhism 

You have made it to the Week 3 Discussion. You may begin posting on Sunday 11/08/20. This week’s discussion gives you the choice of two options. The first focusses on the Buddhist teachings concerning nirvana, and the second deals with issues surrounding suffering. Please make your TWO posts each week on any of the eight days allotted from preview Sunday to closing Sunday that work with your schedule. Both posts may be on the same day.

Remember to use an outside resource in the main post, and you should also be reminded that your follow-up posts are to do more than simply comment on what your classmate has written. Your goal is to work to further the dialogue by providing more information and clarification in a respectful and positive way.

You are once again encouraged to take a look at the discussion rubric as you are working on your initial post. And, again, if you have any questions, please don’t hesitate to contact me.

Here again are some articles that former students have found helpful on these topics.

Self-immolation and Martyrdom in Tibet – (Links to an external site.)

Self-Immolation for Tibet: Why the Dalai Lama’s Silence is Costing Lives (Links to an external site.)

Buddhists, Hindus, and Sikhs in America (Links to an external site.) 

How does mindfulness transform suffering? I: The Nature and Origins of Dukkha (Links to an external site.) 

Four Noble Truths of Buddhism (Links to an external site.)

Dukkah (Links to an external site.) 

Not Misunderstanding Dukkha (Links to an external site.) 

Three Marks of Existence (Links to an external site.)

Understanding Nirvana in Theravada and Mahayana Buddhism (Links to an external site.) 

The DIfference Between Buddhism and Zen (Links to an external site.)

The Four Noble Truths

Click here to ORDER an A++ paper from our Verified MASTERS and DOCTORATE WRITERS RELI 448N Week 3 Discussion: Buddhism :

According to Malloy (2020), “The third characteristic of reality, known as dukkha (Pali), or duhkha (Sanskrit), is usually translated as “suffering” or “sorrow.” It may also be translated as “dissatisfaction” or “difficulty.” It refers to the fact that life, when lived conventionally, can never be fully satisfying”. The understanding is that because in life things are always changing it is impossible to achieve permanent satisfaction. Many scholars think it is a misleading translation because suffering is typically associated with negative situations that arise in our life. But as Durk (2012) explains, “Even the most positive, rewarding and enjoyable experience is at least slightly colored by the fact that it will end, or by the fact that at the same moment innocent people are in the midst of terrible suffering”. While I do not think there is one simple translation for this complex term, a better translation of the word may be discontent. Using this term, it does not isolate the meaning to only include sad and depressing situations but can also include the downside of even the positive feelings.  

What Buddha offered as a way to overcome dukkha is the Four Noble Truths and the Noble Eightfold Path. By understanding the Four Noble Truths you understand that suffering is a natural part of life. The suffering that you experience comes from your desires. If you can cut off your desires, this will simultaneously end your suffering. And if you follow the Noble Eightfold Path you can reach nirvana. This path focuses on having the right understanding, intention, speech, action, work, effort, meditation, and contemplation. The following of this path is the key to reaching inner peace.  

The notion of dukkha challenges Western medical practices because in Western medicine there is a large emphasis on mental health practices. When focusing on our mental health we are taught to embrace our emotions and explore them further. We also focus on the fact that some emotions are out of our control if there is a mental health disorder. This does not align with the notion of dukkha in that we cannot simply end suffering by eliminating our desires.  


Burk, D. (2012, November 18). Not Misunderstanding Dukkha. Retrieved November 09, 2020, from to an external site. 

Molloy, M. (2020). Experiencing the world’s religions: Tradition, challenge, and change (pp. 25) (8th ed.). McGraw-Hill 

Another aspect of Dukkha, and the reasons we experience suffering, comes from the notion that one of the problems human’s have is that we focus on the “wrong” things in life. Dean C. Halverson writes that this concept teaches that “we suffer because we desire that which is temporary, which causes us to continue in the illusion of the existence of the individual self.” (Halverson, 1996)

Therefore, Buddhist would say that our suffering is not only in the fact that suffering is going to happen, but that we are the causes most often of our suffering. When we place our focus on things that will not last, this realization is what causes us to suffer. If we can change our focus, and instead focus on those things that are eternal, then our suffering will cease.

Halverson, D.C. (1996). The compact guide to world religions. Minneapolis, MN: Bethany House.

Interesting take on how dukkha compares with western medical practice.  My head went directly to the physiological side of healthcare and completely forgot about mental health.  I do not have much experience in mental health or mental health nursing.  I do agree with you in some respect.  My initial thought, with Alcoholics Anonymous for example, is that we do acknowledge those desires and how we are powerless to it.  Then one would admit their wrongs and make amends with self, others, and God before asking for forgiveness for our shortcomings.  In someone’s personal story and version, that can be construed as giving up one’s desires to be free of suffering.   Will it lead to inner peace and nirvana – or the end of suffering and liberation from the limitations of the world?  That may be personal and specific, depending on how it’s defined.

The notion of dukkha (of which it is translated as suffering or sorrow)  is one of the Three Marks of Existence.  Dukkha goes hand in hand with one of the Eightfold Paths taught by the Buddha himself which is the the right to mindfulness. The right to mindfulness is to be particularly aware, attentive and mindful regarding the things (translated to dhamma) conceptions, thoughts and ideas. This puts dukkha and right to mindfulness together on how one can train their mind regarding their surroundings and accept that one can never be fully satisfied or that sorrow will be experienced as life changes all the time. It is the mental development to bring peace to one’s mind. 


Molloy, M.(2020).Experiencing the world’s religions: radition, challenge, and change (pp. 25) (8th ed.). McGraw-Hill 

 Sivan, P. R.(January,2005). Hinduism For Beginners: A concise introduction to the Eternal Path to Liberation (pp 5-9) Simha Publications. 

The 4 noble truths are actually set apart inside the body of the Buddha’s teachings, not since they’re by definition sacred, but since they’re both a doctrine and a symbol and transformative inside the sphere of view that is right. As a single doctrine among others, the 4 noble truths make explicit the framework inside which one must find enlightenment; as a symbol, the 4 noble truths evoke the potential for enlightenment (Molloy, 2020). As equally, they occupy not merely a central but a singular placement in the Theravada canon and tradition. Once the 4 noble truths are viewed in the canon as the very first training of the Buddha, they perform like a perspective or maybe doctrine which assumes a symbolic feature. The place that the 4 noble truths show up in the guise associated with a religious sign in the Vinaya-pitaka and the Sutta-pitaka of the Pali canon, they symbolize the enlightenment expertise of the possibility and the Buddha of enlightenment for all the Buddhists in the cosmos (Molloy, 2020). The 4 facts explain dukkha plus its ending as a way to reach out peace of imagination in this particular lifetime, but additionally as a way to stop rebirth. Molloy, M. (2020). Experiencing the world’s religions: Tradition, challenge, and change (pp. 25) (8th ed.). McGraw-Hill 

A characteristic of Buddhism is dukkha which is often translated to “suffering”. This can often be misleading and viewed as pessimistic but in reality, it is not. “Indeed, no one can escape suffering, but each person can decide how to respond to it” (Molloy, 2020). Buddha’s teachings are not of sorrow, but that sorrow and suffering whether it a large event or a simple daily frustration are always bound to happen. Furthermore, just because life and all of its objects are constantly changing, and “suffering” occurs, it does not mean we have to suffer. If life is constantly changing then suffering will always have an end. As part of the Four Noble Truths to desire something can be seen as suffering and instead by living a modest life, you eliminate potential suffering. However interpreted, living a modest life does not mean giving up your possessions but trying to find peace within and live in the moment rather than the past or future (Molloy, 2020).

The word dukkha can be seen as misleading is because many can view “suffering” as a very pessimistic and negative connotation. “Most Buddhist scholars agree the word suffering is too limited in its meanings to serve as a direct translation. Thus, dukkha has been alternatively translated to anxiety, uneasiness, stress, unsatisfactoriness, and discontent” (Burk, 2012). These are a few better translations in today’s world that reflect the teachings of dukkha better than the word “suffering”. Some can view dukkha the wrong way like it is a teaching of compartmentalization and heartlessness. By encompassing these other alternative words, dukkha can be more properly taught, understood, and lived by.

The Buddha explains that everything in life is changing, even ourselves along with our possessions. Instead of acting surprised by things in life changing, accept that everything is always going to change. Family, friends, ourselves, pets, and possessions will always change and will grow older. By truly knowing, understanding, and accepting this, one can find inner peace and will then stop experiencing and overcome dukkha.

I think dukkha both affirms and challenges Western medicine. I think mainly for healthcare workers, especially ones who deal with and see a lot of death, dukkha, and its existence make sense. Sometimes, dying is not suffering but can allow peace and I believe some medical professionals understand this and see that life and death are a part of life that is inevitable. However, Western medicine is so advanced now that most people live longer. The most amount of healthcare dollars are spent on the last year of life because accepting death is not always an option in western culture. Most people in Western Medicine are accustomed to dukkha, and in our nation and culture, there is no other way to see past suffering or accept it. It exists and we all deal with it without really philosophizing life and understanding suffering occurs and will come to an end as well.



Burk, D. (2012). Not misunderstanding dukkha. Retrieved from to an external site.

Molloy, M. (2020). Experiencing the world’s religions – tradition, challenge, and change (8th ed.). 2 Penn Plaza, New York, NY: McGraw-Hill Education.