Saturday, September 4, 2021

Is There a Purpose to Suffering?

     Part of living is experiencing suffering.  There's no escaping it.  But why do we suffer?

     Suffering, according to the Buddha, comes in three forms:  pain, such as illness or death; the change of a situation from pleasure to pain; and the pain that comes from the impermanence in life.  We suffer because we falsely believe that things will not change for the worse, or that we are somehow immune to pain in life, or we are too attached to things, people or situations.  

     So many people, when met with a painful situation, ask, "Why me?"  Their pain is then compounded by self-pity.  Their pain is all that they can think or talk about, and pain is added upon pain.  They fall into a rabbit hole of misery.  

     Some recognize that others in this world are suffering much more than they are, and ask, "Why not me?"  Or they find some measure of gratitude that their situation is not far worse.  They know that focusing on the negative only makes things much more difficult.

     But if life is about learning and growth, then what is the purpose of suffering?  Let's explore some ideas next week.

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