The 5 Causes of Suffering According to Buddhism And How You Can Overcome Them

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We all encounter mental roadblocks in life. To feelings of self-doubt to anxiety and depression, mental hindrances can be extremely tough to deal with.

However, we’re not the first human beings that suffered from such obstacles.

Buddhist monks and philosophers have studied and practiced the art of freeing the mind from these negative emotions that tie us to what they call the Wheel of Suffering.

They found 5 common hindrances to the mind.

We’ve gone through each of them below and we’ve also discussed how we can actually go about overcoming these obstacles for a peaceful and happy life.

1) The Mental Hindrance of Desire for Sensing.

What is it:

The hindrance of sensory desire is latching onto thoughts or feelings based on the pleasures of the five senses.

Buddhist master Traleg Kyabgon explains it best:

“This term alludes to the mind’s tendency to latch on to something that attracts it–a thought, a visual object, or a particular emotion. When we allow the mind to indulge in such attractions, we lose our concentration. So we need to apply mindfulness and be aware of how the mind operates; we don’t necessarily have to suppress all these things arising in the mind, but we should take notice of them and see how the mind behaves, how it automatically grabs onto this and that.”

How to overcome it:

To overcome the hindrance of sensory desire, the meditator must use mindfulness and acknowledge the hindrance. Then they must observe the hindrance and experience it fully. Once experienced fully, the meditator must contemplate the impermanence of the pleasant desire. Buddhist master Ajahn Brahmavamso emphasizes the technique for letting go of concern for the body and five senses completely:

“In meditation, one transcends sensory desire for the period by letting go of concern for this body and its five sense activity. Some imagine that the five senses are there to serve and protect the body, but the truth is that the body is there to serve the five senses as they play in the world ever seeking delight. Indeed, the Lord Buddha once said, “The five senses ARE the world” and to leave the world, to enjoy the other worldly bliss of Jhana, one must give up for a time ALL concern for the body and its five senses.”

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