The four Noble Truths of Buddhism and the M/s dynamic
My slave and I were discussing this website the other day that illustrates the Four Noble Truths of Buddhism and the Eightfold Path. Im always interested in the cryptic and mystical and as I read, because we had also been having a lengthy conversation about M/s relationships, a number of observations occurred to me at the time and I wrote them down in about 20 minutes or so. Im going back to read them again and possibly flesh them out some, but in the meantime I figured I’d post the first one, corresponding to the first Noble Truth….Life Means Suffering. Im surmising from the article that I was reading that the actual word for this is Dukkha…the explanation reads as follows, my commentary follows the definition.
1. The Noble Truth of the reality of Dukkha as part of conditioned existence. Dukkha is a multi-faceted word. Its literal meaning is “that which is difficult to bear”. It can mean suffering, stress, pain, anguish, affliction or unsatisfactoriness. Each of the English words is either too strong or too weak in their meaning to be a universally successful translation. Dukkha can be gross or very subtle. From extreme physical and mental pain and torment to subtle inner conflicts and existential malaise.
This first Noble Truth as applied to the M/s dynamic seems to have a lot of resonance or implied association at first glance with Mastery.. Mastery can be both gross or very subtle – it as with the original word can be considered as “that which is hard to bear”, but just as a life that is lived with awareness, the bearing of Mastery and the application of conciousness to the slave on a continual basis has its own rewards that are experiential in nature. As a result I would rather characterize the joint experience of the M/s dynamic for both Master and slave as Dukkha, rather than solely the experience of the Master alone. As a concept, Dukkha is difficult to understand when applied to one party in the M/s dynamic – its too closely associated with the negative and the subtlety of the the definition is missed because we tend to focus exclusively on the difficulty of life itself when talking about life and the difficulty in general of owning a slave instead of the benefits. Perhaps our language is just too crude and we need a different term instead of difficulty. Speaking of crude examples – your local healthclub is the nearest example of what Im trying to depict here. These modern edifices are shining shrines to pain and torment of all sorts. The act of ‘working out’ if done correctly, isnt necessarily pleasurable, although the results of working out definitely are.. Exercising is stressful. Short of breath, aching muscles and a protesting body are signs that you’re doing it right. Yet, healthclubs are a common fixture within the modern cityscape, and health and fitness clubs are a billion dollar enterprise in the modern economy. We don’t flash handsigns warding off evil when we drive past the Golds Gym in our neighborhood. It is commonly accepted that the experience of working out carries with it a host of ancilary benefits for the participants, from longevitiy to weightloss to stronger bodies. Although the day to day situational experience of M/s may be frought with suffering, stress, pain, anguish, affliction or unsatisfactoriness, deep and long lasting satisfaction is at the root of the experience even in the middle of these day to day inconveniences. The tension of the rope on flesh, the burn of the whip, correcting the slave and being corrected in service by the Master – all of these experiences provide a universe of tension from which we draw our experience of Dukkha in the M/s dynamic. Through the gateway of suffering we find peace. I would submit that the peace and centeredness that we find on the other side of that gateway are so profound in their simplicity and so deep in their satisfaction that we are compelled to seek out this Truth where it is hidden in our relationships and we are motivated to live it out … both Master and slave collude on some level to create the conditions under which this Truth might arise in anticipation of that benefit. It is both a part of continued existence as Master and slave, something to be endured and at the same time a very necessary ingredient for growth and transformation. It is a paradox. We embrace ‘that which is difficult to bear” in our shared walk as Master and slave with the realization that suffering is essential to our collective well being and the clearing at the end of this path is one of deep and abiding pleasure. Suffering is a gateway.