DB Samsara and Nirvana Homework for May 8

May 8 subject areas: understanding the afflictive emotions; karma.


1. Do the lists of three, six, and eight sufferings  seem complete? Have you experienced a type of suffering that is not included in one of these categories? How are the three lists related?

2. Samsara is defined as the continuum of the contaminated five aggregates. Or, samsara is the continuum of an ordinary person bound by the mental afflictions to the five aggregates. In your own words, define renunciation from samsara.

3. Second Noble Truth, the origin of suffering. Explain why ignorance is the root cause of samsara. Be sure to discuss  the relationship between ignorance and the six root mental afflictions.

Readings: In the Liberation in the Palm of Your Hand and the Required Readings, finish reading about the six afflictions and twenty secondary afflictions; read about karma. Wish Fulfilling Golden Light of the Sun — concentrate on the 3rd PDF file.  You might also want to explore the Four Noble Truths in greater depth.

Meditations – for students who have attended class, please visit the URL given out in class. A nice Lam Rim meditation guide has been posted. Please do the meditations for the topics covered during our last class.

If you have any questions or feedback about the class, please feel free to contact me. I hope you are enjoying the class and finding it to be of some benefit to your practice.


2 thoughts on “DB Samsara and Nirvana Homework for May 8

  1. Homework for May 8


    The three lists of sufferings appear to cover everything relating to mental and physical suffering. I personally have not experienced a suffering that is absent from these lists. I believe the lists are related because they all reveal there is no satisfaction to be found in samsara. We will always crave more and more due to our ignorance.


    One should have a strong aversion to the worldly pleasures of this life, due to the unmistaken realization that they are only temporary and bring absolutely no chance of lasting happiness. This thought should instill a strong desire to completely free oneself from cyclic existence.


    Ignorance is the root cause of samsara because of self-grasping: clinging to the “I” as separate, permanent and independent. From the list of the six root delusions, “Ignorance” is like a tree and the other five root delusions are the branches on that tree. Ignorance is the main root delusion as we are under the influence of attachment, anger, doubt and the constant grasping at an illusory “I.”

  2. Deanna, thanks for great answers. I’d like to add a couple of thoughts on the second question and answer:
    I could be wrong, but I think that it’s OK to enjoy worldly pleasures of this life. There is nothing bad in them. In fact, we all need homes, food, friends, money, good health and so on… to live a harmonious life.
    I see the cause of suffering not in worldly pleasures but in attachment to them. Unattached person can greatly benefit others and himself by using material things, money and power.
    In my understanding the renunciation from samsara should come naturally and gradually with a spiritual growth of a person. There are tools that we should use to speedup a process. But it’s important not to force ourselves and always follow our heart.

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