DEVELOPMENT OF THE MEANING OF DUKKHA AND SUKKHA
Sukkha is when the wheel is running smoothly.
Dukkha is when the wheel is not running smoothly.
The hub of the ancient wooden spoked wheel symbolises almost perfectly, how life wobbles, and sometimes starts grinding or gets twisted and blocked. There are obviously extreme degrees of Dukkha, but mostly it was the day to day monotonous squeaking, or rhythmic wobble of a wheel.
A good wheelwright would not only be able to cure Dukka, he would know how to make a wheel Sukkha.
Since rotary motion was first conceived and put into practice, the main problem was to get it running smoothly.
Dukkha and Sukkha were not just abstract concepts as they are today in Buddhism, they were about important facts very real and relevant to getting practical life running smoothly.
Words like this often get transferred into everyday language. Expressions like ... 'turn-on' and 'turn-off' (electricity) ... tune in (radio) ... get your head in gear (cars) ... and stuck-in-the-mud (wheels).
It would be understandable if Dukkha was used for anything which went wrong – in a practical or emotional context ... Sukkha for when it was going well. When food tasted good it was Sukkha, when the beans burnt it was Dukkha ... I could easily imagine Dukkha being used as a swear word.
And consider how this axle hub connection is actually a pole through a hole ... and Hindus had no great inhibitions about sexuality, we are in the land of the Karma Sutra ... so really – come on – who hadn't heard that famous chat up line: "How about a bit of Sukkha, honey" ... or reminisced to themselves one lonely night: "Dukkha is better than no Kha".
When this common practical word was suddenly used by Buddha, at the centre of his new teaching, then Dukkha took on completely new dimensions.
Please continue with Development of Dukkha's meaning to Suffering