Q: I am currently reading and enjoying ‘The Mind’s Own Physician’ in which Jon Kabat-Zinn mentions that some Buddhist scholars are beginning to translate duḥkha as ‘stress’ rather than ‘suffering’. This is personally significant as the original translation has probably caused me more confusion and difficulty than anything else.
‘Suffering’ seems a harsh appraisal of life, somewhat devoid of hope, rather negative and far from the entirety of my own experience. It suggests an improved situation ‘post enlightenment’ and fails to emphasize the positive benefits of enjoying what time we have – disturbingly at odds with Buddhist ethic and contrary to the non-dual teachings of Advaita.
There is also a danger that if the idea of suffering is repeated often enough it becomes an unhealthy and out of balance baseline perspective. Assertions that the modern era is more stressful than times past tend to go unchallenged.