Samudaya sacca

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Translations of
Samudaya saccã
English truth of the origin,
truth of the origin of suffering
Pali samudaya saccã
samudaya sacca
Sanskrit samudaya-satya
Chinese 集 (T) / 集 (S)
(RR: jib)
Tibetan ཀུན་འབྱུང་བའི་བདེན་པ་
(Wylie: kun 'byung;
THL: kunjung

Samudaya sacca (Pali, also Samudaya saccã; Sanskrit: samudaya-satya) is the second of the four noble truths within Buddhist tradition. It refers to the origin or causes of dukkha (suffering).


Samudaya has several meanings. It is usually translated as "origin" or "source", but does also mean "whole", "combination" and junction".[1] According to James Woods,

...a collection (samuddya) is not merely an assemblage of parts, but is a unity performing functions which the parts by themselves cannot perform, for example, the blanket, the rope, The chariot, as compared with the threads, the fibres, the chariot-parts.[2]

Sacca, Sanskrit satya, means "truth" or "reality".

Thus, samudaya sacca is typically translated as the "truth of the origin" or "truth of the origin of suffering." It refers specifically to the origin or causes of dukkha (suffering).[lower-alpha 1]

Within the four noble truths

Within the context of the four noble truths, the origin (Pali: samudaya) of suffering (Pali: dukkha) is commonly explained as craving (Pali: tanha) conditioned by ignorance (Pali: avijja).[4][web 1][lower-alpha 2] This craving runs on three channels:[4][5][6]

  • Craving for sense-pleasures (kama-tanha): this is craving for sense objects which provide pleasant feeling, or craving for sensory pleasures.
  • Craving to be (bhava-tanha): this is craving to be something, to unite with an experience. This includes craving to be solid and ongoing, to be a being that has a past and a future,[7] and craving to prevail and dominate over others.
  • Craving not to be (vibhava-tanha): this is craving to not experience the world, and to be nothing; a wish to be separated from painful feelings.[8]

Ignorance (Pali: avijja) can be defined as ignorance of the meaning and implication of the four noble truths.[9] On a deeper level, it refers to a misunderstanding of the nature of the self and reality.[10]

Another common explanation presents the cause of dukkha as disturbing emotions (Sanskrit: kleshas) rooted in ignorance (Sanskrit: avidya).[lower-alpha 3] In this context, it is common to identify three root disturbing emotions, called the three poisons,[11][12] as the root cause of suffering or dukkha. These three poisons are:

  • Ignorance (Sanskrit: avidya or moha): misunderstanding of the nature of reality; bewilderment.
  • Attachment (Sanskrit: raga): attachment to pleasurable experiences.
  • Aversion (Sanskrit: dvesha): a fear of getting what we don't want, or not getting what we do want.[13]

Within the Abhidharma

Within the Theravada Abhidharma teachings, the origin of dukkha is identified as the three unwholesome roots. The Pali terms for the unwholesome roots are:

The three unwholesome roots are referred to as the three poisons in the Mahayana tradition. The equivalent Sanskrit terms for these three kleshas are:

See also


  1. Contemporary psychologist David Brazier states that "dukkha samudaya" may also been interpreted as the response to dukkha, or the emotions that rise up together with dukkha.[3]
  2. This explanation is more common in commentaries on the Four Noble Truths within the Theravada tradition: e.g. Ajahn Sucitta (2010); Ajahn Sumedho (ebook); Rahula (1974); etc.
  3. This explanation is more common in commentaries on the Four Noble Truths within the Mahayana tradition: e.g. Ringu Tulku (2005), p. 30; Chogyam Trunpa (2010); Thich Nhat Hahn (1999), p. 22. This explanation is also given in the Abhidharma teachings of both the Theravada and Mahayana traditions; see Kleshas (Buddhism).


  1. Sanskrit Dictionary for Spoken Sanskrit, samudaya
  2. James Woods (1914), “The yoga-system of Patañjali; or, The ancient Hindu doctrine of concentration of mind, embracing the mnemonic rules, called Yoga-sutras, of Patañjali, and the comment, called Yoga-bhashya page xvii
  3. David Brazier, The Feeling Buddha
  4. 4.0 4.1 Walpola Rahula 1974, p. 791-809.
  5. Gethin (1998), p. 70
  6. Ajahn Sucitto (2010), Kindle Location 943-946
  7. Ajahn Sucitto (2010), Kindle Locations 966-979
  8. See the article Tanha for further citations and clarification.
  9. Ajahn Sucitto (2010), Kindle Locations 1125-1132.
  10. See the article Avidya (Buddhism) for further citations and clarification.
  11. Dalai Lama (1992), p. 4, 42
  12. Ringu Tulku (2005), p. 30.
  13. See the respective articles for citations and further clarification.

Web references


  • Ajahn Sumedho (2002), The Four Noble Truths, Amaravati Publications 
  • Ajahn Sucitto (2010), Turning the Wheel of Truth: Commentary on the Buddha's First Teaching, Shambhala 
  • Bhikkhu Bodhi (translator) (2000), The Connected Discourses of the Buddha: A New Translation of the Samyutta Nikaya, Boston: Wisdom Publications, ISBN 0-86171-331-1 
  • Bhikkhu Nanamoli (translator) (1995), The Middle Length Discourses of the Buddha: A New Translation of the Majjhima Nikaya, Boston: Wisdom Publications, ISBN 0-86171-072-X 
  • Bhikkhu Thanissaro (translator) (1997), Tittha Sutta: Sectarians (AN 3.61), retrieved 2007-11-12 
  • Brazier, David (2001), The Feeling Buddha, Robinson Publishing 
  • Chogyam Trungpa (2009), The Truth of Suffering and the Path of Liberation (edited by Judy Leif), Shambhala 
  • Dalai Lama (1992), The Meaning of Life, translated and edited by Jeffrey Hopkins, Wisdom 
  • Duff, Tony (2008), Contemplation by way of the Twelve Interdependent Arisings, Padma Karpo Translation Committee, retrieved 2008-08-19 
  • Epstein, Mark (2004), Thoughts Without A Thinker: Psychotherapy from a Buddhist Perspective, Basic Books, Kindle Edition 
  • Feer, Leon (editor) (1976), The Samyutta Nikaya, 5, London: Pali Text Society 
  • Geshe Tashi Tsering (2006), Buddhist Psychology: The Foundation of Buddhist Thought, Perseus Books Group. Kindle Edition. 
  • Gethin, Rupert (1998), Foundations of Buddhism, Oxford University Press 
  • Ringu Tulku (2005), Daring Steps Toward Fearlessness: The Three Vehicles of Tibetan Buddhism, Snow Lion 
  • Thich Nhat Hanh (1999), The Heart of the Buddha's Teaching, Three River Press 
  • Walpola Rahula (2007), What the Buddha Taught, Grove Press. Kindle Edition. 

External links

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