Thread: "All Life is Suffering"

  1. #1

    "All Life is Suffering"

    Soto Zen teacher Brad Warner talks for about 5 minutes.





    Any comments about what was said in the video?



  2. #2
    Forums Member Olderon's Avatar
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    Hi, Aloka.

    Comments about the video:

    1. The title should be changed to "Everyone Suffers", as not all life is suffering. There are times when each of us does not suffer, just as there are times when we all suffer, but not all of life is suffering.

    2. I am not pleased with political statements in Buddhist forums, as invariably, some members will be offended. IMHO speakers' political opinions should be kept to themselves, while teaching their versions of Buddhism.

    3. I will sorely miss Tim Conway. He was a great comedian.

    Ron

  3. #3
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    There are many kinds of suffering of course, and just as many causes of that suffering. Pain, for example, can be good as well as cause us suffering. We rely on our nervous system to survive, and pain is an important survival factor. Mental anguish about something is a different order of suffering, even if it is anguish about some pain we are in. We can't get rid of our propensity for pain but we can do something about the mental anguish arising from it. There are a number of meditation courses to lessen the suffering physical pain brings us, quite apart from any medication.

    On the other hand, many other forms of suffering are different in that the causes are largely psychological, but no less damaging for that. We may be happy, but we can still have some kind of suffering hovering there in the background, even if it is just the awareness that the happiness may end someday. I remember someone coming to one of our open days at the Buddhist centre and deciding that he didn't need Buddhism because his life was a pretty happy and successful one. I could see that he had no intention of even taking up meditation, so I didn't say anything.

    What I wanted to say to him was that that was the best time to take up meditation and Buddhism, when you are going through a stable, happy time. That way you are in a much better position when things go wrong, as they usually do at some time or other. You have the path and a practice already in place to help with the suffering which either wells up to the surface or which lurks behind your thoughts waiting to pounce. In some ways I envy people who are always happy (not that I've ever met anyone like that) but if it means that they don't even start along the path then it's too high a price to pay.

  4. #4
    Here's an excerpt from the Buddha's words in sutta SN 56.11:


    "Suffering, as a noble truth, is this: Birth is suffering, aging is suffering, sickness is suffering, death is suffering, sorrow and lamentation, pain, grief and despair are suffering; association with the loathed is suffering, dissociation from the loved is suffering, not to get what one wants is suffering — in short, suffering is the five categories of clinging objects.

    "The origin of suffering, as a noble truth, is this: It is the craving that produces renewal of being accompanied by enjoyment and lust, and enjoying this and that; in other words, craving for sensual desires, craving for being, craving for non-being.

    "Cessation of suffering, as a noble truth, is this: It is remainderless fading and ceasing, giving up, relinquishing, letting go and rejecting, of that same craving.

    "The way leading to cessation of suffering, as a noble truth, is this: It is simply the noble eightfold path, that is to say, right view, right intention; right speech, right action, right livelihood; right effort, right mindfulness, right concentration.

    https://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipi....011.nymo.html

    and here's an excerpt from the article "Life isn't just Suffering" by Bhikkhu Thanissaro:


    So the first noble truth, simply put, is that clinging is suffering. It’s because of clinging that physical pain becomes mental pain. It’s because of clinging that aging, illness, and death cause mental distress. The paradox here is that, in clinging to things, we don’t trap them or get them under our control. Instead, we trap ourselves. When we realize our captivity, we naturally search for a way out. And this is where it’s so important that the first noble truth not say that “Life is suffering.” If life were suffering, where would we look for an end to suffering? We’d be left with nothing but death and annihilation. But when the actual truth is that clinging is suffering, we simply have to look for the clinging and eliminate its causes.

    https://www.dhammatalks.org/books/Ka...ction0004.html


  5. #5
    Forums Member Genecanuck's Avatar
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    Hi Aloka,

    Thank you for starting and sharing this thread.

    I really appreciated the article, "Life isn't just Suffering" by Bhikkhu Thanissaro.

    It helped me to deepen my understanding that it is not life that is suffering, but clinging that causes suffering. I think that this distinction is important because if life in general was simply suffering, this causes Nihilistic thinking.

    Thanks for sharing.

    Kind regards,

    Gene

  6. #6
    Quote Originally Posted by Genecanuck View Post

    Thanks for sharing.

    Thank you for joining in the discussion, Gene!


  7. #7
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    Yes, it's that phrase 'as a Noble Truth' that's important. Understand suffering in this way and you've understood one of the key elements of Buddhism.

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