Dhamma Letter No. 16

Dukkha No. 3

Dhamma Letter No. 14 outlined the numerous emotions that manifest as dukkha. With regard to the alleviation of these emotions, we must now begin to answer the question, ‘how do we practice?’.

When we experience dukkha, the first step is to recognize it as such (see Dhamma Letter No. 15). Upon seeing dukkha as it is, the next step towards its assuagement is to investigate its causes.


In this life, our mind has been habituated since birth. However, this habit accumulation extends indefinitely into past lives beginning with those of our parents and cultures. The patterns of our minds, thoughts, and intentions are conditioned by our parents and cultures, past kamma, and a causal structure extending infinitely into the past. That to which we are attached, i.e. our ‘likes’ (lobha), and towards which we have aversion, i.e. our ‘dislikes’ (dosa), arise from these conditions. Conditions are the cause; our likes and dislikes are the results.


Let’s begin with the supposition that every person has varied tastes (likes) from one and other. One might ask, ‘why is it that I have this taste?’ Well, on what is this taste dependent? This is how we begin investigation of these patterns.

When we determine the causes and conditions giving rise to our dukkha, we can develop solutions to let go of them. In doing so, we liberate ourselves from stress-inducing attachments and delusion.


The stress and discomfort we experience is caused by the three poisons:

  1. Moha (delusion)

  2. Lobha (greed)

  3. Dosa (aversion)

A vipassana meditator can observe their mind in the present moment and ask themselves, ‘what do I like or dislike?’ Begin with knowing the patterns of the mind. See that which you crave. Notice if you are contented if you fulfill that craving. If you resisted the craving or it proved unattainable, notice if you are sad, angry, etc.

What prevents your mind from peace and contentedness? Try to let it go. If you notice the cause of your minds discontent, try to do the opposite. Observe the results. This is difficult, but with practice it will prove easier. This is how you train an equanimous mind through the wisdom. Do not be discouraged. This process is arduous and varies in length depending on the degree of your attachment.

To practice is to make a path in the mind that we take to develop wisdom.

May you be free from any physical suffering !
May you be free from any mental suffering !
May you develop the wisdom more and more!

With Metta,

Ayyā Kosallā & Mahāpajāpatī Bhikkhunī Sangha
Edited by Max Montgomery 

If you have any questions related to dhamma, please feel free to ask. You can reach Ayya Kosalla directly at bhikkhuni.kosalla@gmail.com. We will answer your questions and include them in future Dhamma Letters.

Bhikkuni Kosalla Vipassini is the Abbess of Mahapajapati Monastery in Pioneertown, California. For monastery updates, please see Mahapajapati’s Facebook. Donations are gratefully accepted, whether you volunteer your time, offer funds, or provide needed requisites for the monastics. If you are inspired to donate, you may do so here.

Buddha Sāsanaṁ Ciraṁ Tiṭṭhatu! 
May the Buddha’s teachings last a long time!

​Bhavatu Sabba Sotiṁ ca Maṅgalaṁ ca!!  
May everyone be led on the path of peace and blessing!!

Sādhu Sādhu Sādhu !

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