Sukha and dukkha, expansion and contraction

Sukha is a Sanskrit and Pali word often translated as “ease,” “happiness,” “pleasure,” or “bliss.”

In yoga, sukhasana is the Sanskrit for “easy pose,” which is simple cross-legged sitting.

Dukkha is a Sanskrit and Pali word often translated as “suffering.” The First Noble Truth of Buddhism: Life is suffering. Life is dukkha.

Wikipedia provides these meanings. Note the range, from mere discomfort to misery and anguish:

suffering, pain, discontent, unsatisfactoriness, unhappiness, sorrow, affliction, anxiety, dissatisfaction, discomfort, anguish, stress, misery, and frustration

Wikipedia’s entry on dukkha includes this on the etymology of the word:

Sargeant, et. al. (2009: p. 303) provides the etymology of the Sanskrit words sukha and dukkha:

It is perhaps amusing to note the etymology of the words sukha (pleasure, comfort, bliss) and dukkha (misery, unhappiness, pain). The ancient Aryans who brought the Sanskrit language to India were a nomadic, horse- and cattle-breeding people who travelled in horse- or ox-drawn vehicles. Su and dus are prefixes indicating good or bad. The word kha, in later Sanskrit meaning “sky,” “ether,” or “space,” was originally the word for “hole,” particularly an axle hole of one of the Aryan’s vehicles. Thus sukha … meant, originally, “having a good axle hole,” while dukkha meant “having a poor axle hole,” leading to discomfort.

Good space, bad space. Pleasure, pain. Sweetness, stress. Sukha, dukkha.

How about this word pair? Expansion, contraction.

These terms get the concept across in a less judgmental way, and they are keys to your energy map. Does something expand or contract you? Is your mind or heart expanding or contracting? Big mind, small mind, big heart, small heart. Expansion, contraction.

Works for me.


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