Hunger is the greatest affliction,
conditionality the greatest source of despair.
The wise, seeing this as it is,
realise liberation, the greatest joy.
Dhammapada v. 125
Our Teacher, the Buddha, realised that knowing the true nature of existence is the source of the greatest happiness, not by our struggling to gratify preferences. Conditioned preferences exist for all beings, those who are liberated or those lost and confused. Our spiritual work is to see all conditions for what they truly are – the natural activity of existence – and not become caught up in this activity. The temptation that we face is to try to hold onto those conditions which accord with our preferences and to get rid of those which don’t. This futile pursuit leads to perpetual disappointment; at best we manage to gratify preferences once in a while. Dhamma teaches us that the effective way to true satisfaction is by letting go of preferences with understanding; it is this right understanding that leads to joy.