This seal seems to be the one which is translated in the greatest variety of ways, and of which there is also the greatest disagreement regarding the proper expression, although the expression above seems to be the most coherent form for Western readers. Some of the other translations commonly given are:
All compounded things are (or entail) dukkha.
All emotions are (or entail) dukkha.
All stained emotions are (or entail) dukkha
This list is by no means exhaustive.
“Dukkha” (as stated earlier) is variously translated as “unsatisfactoriness,” “inadequateness,” “suffering,” “anxiety,” or “stress.” “Stained,” as used in the context of the translations above, refers to something which is driven by “craving,” which in turn is the result of dualistic, ego-driven thoughts and desires. Scionics identifies various “modes of conscious relation,” which include the “driven,” “loving,” “observational,” and “unitary” modes. Such dualistic, ego-driven thoughts and desires as are associated with “dukkha” are primarily the product of the driven mode of conscious relation, although they are also produced to a lesser degree by the loving and observational modes as well. [See: The Protocols of Scionics | 1:2 Consciousness.]Thus, the most direct and accessible translation, as well as the most precise expression of this Dharma Seal is that given by: “All dualistic experience entails dukkha.”
All Compounded Things Have no Inherent Existence
This is very closely related to the First Dharma Seal: “All compounded things are impermanent.” One is almost the corollary of the other. What this Dharma Seal refers to is the fact that all compounded things only exist by virtue of their compounded nature, and that what any such compounded thing really is is are the constituent parts from which they are compounded.
While some compounded thing remains compounded, it may be useful to refer to it or to think of it as a unit. This usefulness, however, should not fool one into the false belief that it ultimately really is a unit. Instead one must always recognize that under the superficial unity of the thing lies any number of constituent parts, temporarily compounded together.
When examining the First Dharma Seal, the special cases of reality, mathematics, and information were examined. These can be examined with reference to this Seal as well.
When the compounded constituents of reality decay or combine into other things, these things which they decay or combine into remain a part of reality. Thus reality does have an inherent existence as a whole, although the compounded things within it do not.
All of mathematics exists as an infinite, eternal, unitary whole. It exists as one, and can never not exist. Mathematics is a case of something being, in a sense, “compound” without being “compounded.” It has many parts, but no part of mathematics can be removed from the rest. Mathematics is non-compounded, non-impermanent, and like reality itself, has an inherent existence.
Information (other than purely mathematical information) is compounded as it requires some form of substrate (such as matter or energy) for it to be stored, copied, represented, processed, and so on. Furthermore, any such substrate will always be compounded, and therefore not have an inherent existence of its own. Such substrate-dependent information is both compounded and has no inherent existence.
Nirvana is Beyond Concepts
Nirvana is typically translated as something like “liberation,” “freedom,” or “peace.” When put in such terms, nirvana does not seem to be “beyond concepts” at all, as these are easily understood and communicated concepts. Nirvana, however, actually refers to something beyond these words: to the freedom from dukkha which arises when all separating, dualistic, ego-based drives and demands are completely eliminated and replaced by the experience of profound unity between oneself and the world – but even these are fairly easily understood and communicated concepts.
It is the experience of nirvana which is beyond concepts. This experience cannot be fully communicated to one who has not experienced it for oneself, just as one cannot fully explain the experience of “redness” to a blind person. To a blind person, certain things about “redness” may be comprehensible, such as the fact that it is distinguishable from other colors or that it is associated with certain wavelengths of light, but the experience of redness would be completely incomprehensible. In the same way, certain aspects of nirvana may be comprehensible, such as that is involves a form of freedom from suffering, for example, but the actual experience of nirvana, by its very nature, is incomprehensible to anyone who has not personally experienced it.