What is dukkha? In English, dukkha is translated as suffering. And suffering is defined as the state of undergoing pain, distress, or hardship. However, suffering is a word translation from the Latin – sufferre that means to bear, undergo, endure, carry or put under. The word suffering seems to appear in every corner of Buddhism. And generally, one would tend to associate suffering with pain, anxiety, agony, sadness, dissatisfaction and all sorts of negativity in one’s lifetime. Unfortunately, this is not precisely the case in the eyes of the Buddha.
The First Noble Truth says that the suffering of birth, old age, sickness and death is inescapable. The Buddha has revealed that suffering is part of life and that it cannot be evaded. He also taught that suffering does not only come from the body but also from the mental attributes. In a Buddhist context, the dependent nature is known as samsāra. Samsāra literally means continuous flow - referring to a repeating cycle of birth, life, death and re-birth. When there is samsāra arising, the dukkha would arise concurrently and it means to continue with; to persevere with; to soldier on with; to carry on with; to undertake with; and to go through with.
In fact, one should let go the ill-perceived phenomena of pain, anxiety, agony, dissatisfaction, joyfulness or happiness - for they are merely the consequences of dukkha arising. The antonym of suffering is letting go. By not submitting oneself to any conditional circumstances, one would be liberated and neutralised. At the end of the day, one should only cure the cause, but not the symptoms.
Meanwhile, cessation literally means discontinuance, ending, suspension, etc. And cessation can be temporary or complete stopping. In Buddhism, does cessation mean an annihilation altogether? The answer is Negative. In the scientific world, everything that exists would involve with energy, without exception. In a way, the so-called consciousness is also deemed to be under the ambit of energy. But can one obliterate the elements of energy? The answer is Negative, as well.
As mentioned earlier, in samsāra, there is an element of suffering. In a Buddhist context, suffering means bearing with and letting go is the antonym of it. Literally, there are no elements of grasping when one practises letting go in meditation. When no grasping arises, the becoming process would also slow down. This is because everything in the dependent nature is nothing but energy. And energy is nothing but mere vibration. When the becoming process slows down, it means energy expands away from the centre point of the source at a slower rate. When the becoming process ceases, energy literally stops vibrating. Literally, energy just got frozen - just like a black hole is also known as a frozen star. (In Tibetan Buddhism, the innate condition of the mind is luminous a.k.a. clear light that also reveals a similar characteristics of a black hole).
Zero vibration means zero becoming. Zero becoming means an absolute cessation of any changing activities. Thus, an absolute stage of absence is realised. Absence means a perfect state of balance. Therefore, absence is not about nothingness but instead, no-thing-ness (just like +2-2 = 0, +154-154=0). No thing means no becoming or no changing. No changing means no suffering. No suffering means no mind (no consciousness in individuality). In Buddhism, mind is the forerunner of all states. No mind means a completely neutralised state of affairs - that is nibbāna. The state of nibbāna is inexplicable in conventional terms but still, it can be tasted by the enlightened ones during deep meditation.
The principle-in-effect: -
Upon entering a single-pointed concentration, the prevailing mind consciousness would be separated from the subtle mind consciousness (just like a joint dislocation). The main reason for engaging samatha meditation is to calm or tranquil the wilderness of the subtle mind consciousness. Thereafter, the prevailing mind consciousness enters a state of pure observation (mindful) without identification on the flow of thoughts conjured up by the subtle mind consciousness until pure awareness is attained.
When one has gained enlightenment while sustaining with a living body, the mind (consciousness in individuality) would still exist. However, it would merely perceive all things or happenings from the ultimate perspectives without delusion or hesitation. The mind has not gained with a full liberation yet and this circumstance is also known as cessation with remainder. The ultimate liberation or cessation without remainder can only be achieved without sustaining a living body i.e. with the passing into parinibbāna.
~ Ignorance triumphs when wise men do nothing ~