Why suffer?

A discussion on all aspects of Theravāda Buddhism
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ronir583
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Why suffer?

Post by ronir583 » Mon Jul 17, 2017 12:51 am

Have you been in a situation wherein you just accept it because it is natural? For example, an earthquake that just devastated a city and killed thousands of people and you as a survivor because it is natural, just start to clean up and then move on?

Thus, if Dukkha is natural, birth old age are natural right? So what is the point of getting angry, upset, paranoid about Dukkha, the fact that these are natural? The nature of existence is impermanent, unsatisfactory and no self and these are natural right? Its nature is like a nature of an earthquake or a storm right? So why would we be upset about these 3 nature of existence? So, I have this insight now, that if I am not suffering even to this tragedy because it is natural, then why would I suffer also with Dukkha? Why would I suffer with birth old age and death? Why would I suffer with things that I cannot get and why would I suffer if being with a person that I do not like?

These are natural right? What Can I do to an earthquake? I have no power whatsoever, to stop it, to avoid it. I have no power whatsoever, to avoid, to stop sickness and old age now since I have this body already and so sickness, old age and death are natural. So why would I suffer? What I am going to do now, is to let go of this body and mind. This body will grow old, get sick and disentigrate, will be eaten by maggots until skeleton is left. I would say, big deal! This is not my body, there is no one own this body. It is sick with AIDS, cancer, leprosy, the smell is terrible, it stinks etc. I would say, BIG DEAL! It is simply following its course, it is its nature to get sick, grow old and disentigrate, thus why suffer? :buddha1:

chownah
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Re: Why suffer?

Post by chownah » Mon Jul 17, 2017 4:35 am

And yet people do suffer. I think one of the four noble truths explains why. You might go look there to find your answer.
chownah

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Pondera
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Re: Why suffer?

Post by Pondera » Mon Jul 17, 2017 7:50 am

As you say, you will let go of this mind and body. How does one simply "let go" of this mind and body? How do you escape your past karma? Your present karma? Your future karma?
A wise man once asked an audience, "why do the ignorant shrug their shoulders?"

No one in the audience knew. They shrugged their shoulders, however the wise man only laughed and shook his head. He didn't explain any further.

SarathW
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Re: Why suffer?

Post by SarathW » Mon Jul 17, 2017 8:14 am

What about bodily pain and mental torcher?
“As the lamp consumes oil, the path realises Nibbana”

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WindDancer
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Re: Why suffer?

Post by WindDancer » Mon Jul 17, 2017 9:41 am

In my area of the world, I frequently hear people say, "Pain is inevitable, but suffering is optional." I typically hear this quote from affluent people who never have experienced extreme pain, real hardship or tragedy. I understand that we are going to feel physical pain in life. I understand that we can reduce the amount of unnecessary mental and emotional suffering which we experience; however, I have never met a person who has become totally free of all suffering.

When they say that suffering in this life is optional, they say it in a way that adds unnecessary shame to how people actually feel. People feel suffering ranging from slight dissatisfaction to intense unbearable suffering. The first step to freedom is found in the 4 Noble Truths. We first need to accept that suffering exists before we can take the remaining steps of the Path to freedom.

I have met a few people who use meditation as a spiritual bypass, using it as a way to not face the suffering they have experienced for many years. They are some of the people who use the quote mentioned above. This approach didn't work for them. They got away with it for a while, but after several months the old mental and emotional suffering came back to the surface with increased power, driving them back into the clutches of alcoholism, lust and addiction.

My current understanding is to accept that there will be both physical pain and suffering in life; however, I can feel grateful and hopeful that the Buddha has shared with us a Path to freedom.
Live Gently....

ronir583
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Re: Why suffer?

Post by ronir583 » Mon Jul 17, 2017 9:23 pm

Pondera wrote:As you say, you will let go of this mind and body. How does one simply "let go" of this mind and body? How do you escape your past karma? Your present karma? Your future karma?
Thanks for reading. As for your question, my answer is that there is no reason whatsoever in 'letting go' because if there is a reason, an idea of why we 'let go', then we can never let go of it. You see, this is where we get stuck, we are told to let go, but we ask, how and why do I have to let go of this body and mind for example? Maybe because we are still trying, hoping that somehow, somewhere in time, this body and mind can provide us true happiness? No, we can't because this body and mind that we have now, as long as we are born already, that is already corrupted by Karma, which means this body and mind that we have now is a conditioned thing.

The 5 senses are already an outcome, it has been here already based on the teaching of the 12 dependent origination, I have a body already therefore it has reach the 3rd stage which is the Six Spheres of Sense arises Contact. Now, your question is actually valid because it is not easy just to 'let go' of this body and mind but I think if we just meditate, put everything what we have read and learned into practice then we can somehow taste the fruit of Dhamma. :buddha1:

ronir583
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Re: Why suffer?

Post by ronir583 » Mon Jul 17, 2017 9:38 pm

SarathW wrote:What about bodily pain and mental torcher?
Thanks for reading. That is a good question actually, but based on my reflection on this my bodily pain, I have realized that like all Buddhists, they cannot do anything on this body. And why is that? It is because going back to what I have presented, this body is not MINE. It is true that the Lord Buddha teached us that I am the owner of Karma, I am the heir of Karma... but does it mean that I would just wallow and die without trying to totally end this Karma? The Lord Buddha's Four Noble Truth clearly wants us to see that existence is Dukkha but it does not mean that there is no way, a path that would get us out from this Dukkha. The 8 noble path lead us to Nirvana but only if we put it into practice.

It is inevitable that anyone can criticize, question our way of understanding in regards to Lord Buddha's teaching, but the experiences, the glimpse of Nirvana that we encountered during our day to day practice, let me ask, can anyone destroy that? No one, no God's, no Mara can ever destroy that experiences. We have tasted the Dhamma on our own and that is what matters most. :buddha1:

ronir583
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Re: Why suffer?

Post by ronir583 » Mon Jul 17, 2017 9:51 pm

chownah wrote:And yet people do suffer. I think one of the four noble truths explains why. You might go look there to find your answer.
chownah
Thanks for reading. I am a bit curious on what you've said, "And yet people do suffer"? :buddha1:

ronir583
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Re: Why suffer?

Post by ronir583 » Mon Jul 17, 2017 10:33 pm

WindDancer wrote:In my area of the world, I frequently hear people say, "Pain is inevitable, but suffering is optional." I typically hear this quote from affluent people who never have experienced extreme pain, real hardship or tragedy. I understand that we are going to feel physical pain in life. I understand that we can reduce the amount of unnecessary mental and emotional suffering which we experience; however, I have never met a person who has become totally free of all suffering.

When they say that suffering in this life is optional, they say it in a way that adds unnecessary shame to how people actually feel. People feel suffering ranging from slight dissatisfaction to intense unbearable suffering. The first step to freedom is found in the 4 Noble Truths. We first need to accept that suffering exists before we can take the remaining steps of the Path to freedom.

I have met a few people who use meditation as a spiritual bypass, using it as a way to not face the suffering they have experienced for many years. They are some of the people who use the quote mentioned above. This approach didn't work for them. They got away with it for a while, but after several months the old mental and emotional suffering came back to the surface with increased power, driving them back into the clutches of alcoholism, lust and addiction.

My current understanding is to accept that there will be both physical pain and suffering in life; however, I can feel grateful and hopeful that the Buddha has shared with us a Path to freedom.
Thanks for reading. Yes, you are correct that there are some people who have not experienced extreme pain or real hardship or tragedy, however, this has to be clarified because actually it is not Suffering but Dukkha is the word that was used originally.

Suffering is very limited because it cannot provide us an understanding on a situation wherein even in extreme pleasure, Buddhists would still describe this as Dukkha. For even if our body is not sick, healthy still it is Dukkha because it is impermanent. It would grow old and die still. For me, as much as possible, we have to use Dukkha and not suffering because in Dukkha it would show and reveal to us the more subtle form and those are the 3 marks of existence which are Impermanence, Unsatisfactoriness, and No-Self.

It is also correct that there are no person who has become totally free of all suffering but I think this is only a matter of perspective because I think the Lord Buddha in the first place, is a being that has been totally free of all suffering. There are also Arahants whom I really believe beings that has totally extinguished Dukkha. And finally, us, you and me, each one of us, if we just practice the path, the 8 noble path would somehow be totally liberated from Dukkha, if not in this lifetime then another lifetime even if it is an eon of lifetime. :buddha1:

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WindDancer
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Re: Why suffer?

Post by WindDancer » Tue Jul 18, 2017 2:44 am

Thank you ronir583 for your thoughtful replies.

:namaste:

WindDancer
Live Gently....

Caodemarte
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Re: Why suffer?

Post by Caodemarte » Tue Jul 18, 2017 3:09 am

Am I correct that dukkha can also be translated as instable, unsteady, like riding on a cart with wheels missing some spokes, dis-ease (uneasy, not illness) or unsatisfactory?

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Lankamed
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Re: Why suffer?

Post by Lankamed » Tue Jul 18, 2017 3:34 am

Hi,

Knowing and acknowledging that the world is "Dukkha" is the first step. Dukkha can range from tiny inconvenience from having to take staircase instead of an elevator to unbearable physical and mental pain. This depends on the person's ability to grasp the dhamma ( bhawitha hitha or trained mined). Thats why world saw great arahaths like Nanda ( Buddha's cousin) and Kisagothami. One just wanted to get much beautiful companion and saw his current one likened to a monkey while the other one had lost everything in her life.

We suffer because ignorance( avidya, now avidya takes foothold because of Lobha and Dvesha). But neither mere acceptance nor just knowing is enough to weed out ignorance. iirc there are three types of gnana. Suthama(hearing dhamma in the form of sermons) Chinthama (reflection on Dhamma), Bhavanamaya (Meditation in order to realize that dhamma for yourself with in yourself).

Now only through Meditation ( I should say vipassana or higher knowledge) one can completely eradicate avidya. Realizing that there is no self but an ever changing stream of nama rupa, and how it arise in accordance with dependent origination. How it arise and and cease. When you gain such insights you will gradually start loosing Lobha and Dvesha which would contribute to eradication of avidya (ignorance) and finally be free of samsara.

chownah
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Re: Why suffer?

Post by chownah » Tue Jul 18, 2017 3:38 am

ronir583 wrote:
chownah wrote:And yet people do suffer. I think one of the four noble truths explains why. You might go look there to find your answer.
chownah
Thanks for reading. I am a bit curious on what you've said, "And yet people do suffer"? :buddha1:
It is not too important. You asked "why suffer" and then showed many good reasons why the suffering is not necessary. I'm just saying that inspite of all the good reasons for not suffering people still do suffer......and then went on to suggest studying the four noble truths which I think explains why inspite of the fact that there is no reason to suffer that people still do suffer.
chownah

ronir583
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Re: Why suffer?

Post by ronir583 » Tue Jul 18, 2017 5:34 am

chownah wrote:
ronir583 wrote:
chownah wrote:And yet people do suffer. I think one of the four noble truths explains why. You might go look there to find your answer.
chownah
Thanks for reading. I am a bit curious on what you've said, "And yet people do suffer"? :buddha1:
It is not too important. You asked "why suffer" and then showed many good reasons why the suffering is not necessary. I'm just saying that inspite of all the good reasons for not suffering people still do suffer......and then went on to suggest studying the four noble truths which I think explains why inspite of the fact that there is no reason to suffer that people still do suffer.
chownah
So what is important for you? And by the way, your suggestion is not too important also, for it is not a suggestion. You are not actually providing some answer to what I have presented. Do not pretend as if you are an all known teacher okay? If people are still suffering despite of the 4 noble truths, then by your saying that 'still people suffer' does not add clarification or provide any help with it. :jawdrop:

chownah
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Re: Why suffer?

Post by chownah » Tue Jul 18, 2017 6:14 am

ronir583 wrote:
chownah wrote:
ronir583 wrote: Thanks for reading. I am a bit curious on what you've said, "And yet people do suffer"? :buddha1:
It is not too important. You asked "why suffer" and then showed many good reasons why the suffering is not necessary. I'm just saying that inspite of all the good reasons for not suffering people still do suffer......and then went on to suggest studying the four noble truths which I think explains why inspite of the fact that there is no reason to suffer that people still do suffer.
chownah
So what is important for you? And by the way, your suggestion is not too important also, for it is not a suggestion. You are not actually providing some answer to what I have presented. Do not pretend as if you are an all known teacher okay? If people are still suffering despite of the 4 noble truths, then by your saying that 'still people suffer' does not add clarification or provide any help with it. :jawdrop:
I think you have misunderstood my post. I was commenting on my own statement ( "And yet people do suffer") and saying that my own statement was not too important.

I did try to provide an answer to your question about why suffer because the four noble truths does exactly answer your question I think.

I am not pretending to be an all knowing teacher.....my reply to look to the four noble truths is a pretty standard sort of answer when someone asks why people suffer. Here is a short statement of the second noble truth about the origin of suffering or stress:
http://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitaka ... .than.html
And this, monks, is the noble truth of the origination of stress: the craving that makes for further becoming — accompanied by passion & delight, relishing now here & now there — i.e., craving for sensual pleasure, craving for becoming, craving for non-becoming.
If you want more details that provide help with the ending of suffering you might look at the last of the four noble truths which tells how to end suffering.
chownah

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