Why is there suffering in the first place?

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Why is there suffering in the first place?

Postby ravkes » Mon Jan 24, 2011 4:23 am

Seems like for most people, suffering is a part of their daily lives. Especially those in poverty. So why is there suffering in the first place and how come people can't get out of it unless they meditate, or until they see clearly.
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Re: Why is there suffering in the first place?

Postby clw_uk » Mon Jan 24, 2011 4:29 am

Suffering is found when people dont understand feeling


In the case of pleasant feelings, O monks, the underlying tendency[1] to lust should be given up; in the case of painful feelings, the underlying tendency to resistance (aversion) should be given up; in the case of neither-painful-nor-pleasant feelings, the underlying tendency to ignorance should be given up.

"If a monk has given up the tendency to lust in regard to pleasant feeling, the tendency to resistance in regard to painful feelings, and the tendency to ignorance in regard to neither-painful-nor-pleasant feelings, then he is called one who is free of (unwholesome) tendencies, one who has the right outlook. He has cut off craving, severed the fetters (to future existence), and through the full penetration of conceit,[2] he has made an end of suffering."


If one feels joy, but knows not feeling's nature,
bent towards greed, he will not find deliverance.

If one feels pain, but knows not feeling's nature,
bent toward hate, he will not find deliverance.

And even neutral feeling which as peaceful
the Lord of Wisdom has proclaimed,
if, in attachment, he should cling to it,
he will not be free from the round of ill.

And having done so, in this very life
will be free from cankers, free from taints.

Mature in knowledge, firm in Dhamma's ways,
when once his life-span ends, his body breaks,
all measure and concept he has transcended.


http://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitaka ... .nypo.html


We suffer in the first place because we are taught from birth that "this is mine, this is I, I want this, I dont want this" etc
“The Great Way is not difficult for those who have no preferences. When love and hate are both absent, everything becomes clear and undisguised." Verses on the Faith Mind, Sengcan
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Re: Why is there suffering in the first place?

Postby ravkes » Mon Jan 24, 2011 4:31 am

True, however like I guess why this is here in the first place. Seemingly metaphysical question though I guess, so no one knows. Like children absorb automatically, they have no choice. All sentient beings are drenched in karma when they get here, essentially taught to suffer. What an interestingly horrible world. Especially for the impoverished. I always ask why I'm the lucky one or whoever else who has come across the dharma and has been in a situation (basic needs wise) to practice it. Seemingly random. I feel bad I guess for those still lost, roaming. For those who starve and thirst. Why does this happen in the first place? It's hell.
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Re: Why is there suffering in the first place?

Postby nalandaleong » Mon Jan 24, 2011 8:02 am

first of all - is suffering there 'in the first place' ?
or is suffering merely there as a 'resulting factor' of greed, hatred and delusion ?

it is due to the weakness of the human mind that suffering has a chance to take root.
and why do we have greed, hatred and delusion ? this is a million dollar question which every one of us is seeking an answer to..I think.
It is for each individual to reflect and ponder according to the teachings of Buddha and to open their eyes and mind to the causes..

Once the root causes are properly diagnosed and ascertained then suffering cease to exist in such an awakened person.
That is when that person becomes so-called enlightened.
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Re: Why is there suffering in the first place?

Postby ravkes » Mon Jan 24, 2011 2:25 pm

I guess the right way to phrase this is: Why do we have to go through this? Why can't we all come to this Earth already enlightened? I can see how when someone wakes up, he sees he's already enlightened. However, when he seemingly wasn't and dealing with demons of his own design it was hell. Why is this hell here in the first place and why do more reproduce to put others in it? Because obviously, taking a look around (3 Bil in poverty and suffering) very very few are enlightened. Most are stuck in a seemingly hellish realm from which they can't get out of.
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Re: Why is there suffering in the first place?

Postby meindzai » Mon Jan 24, 2011 4:17 pm

ravkes wrote:I guess the right way to phrase this is: Why do we have to go through this?


Because we asked for it. That's what the Buddha essentially means when he gives craving as the cause for suffering. You wanted to be here, so here you are.

Why can't we all come to this Earth already enlightened?


For one who is enlightened there is no "becoming" so there is no need for them to "come to earth" as you put it.

I can see how when someone wakes up, he sees he's already enlightened. However, when he seemingly wasn't and dealing with demons of his own design it was hell. Why is this hell here in the first place and why do more reproduce to put others in it? Because obviously, taking a look around (3 Bil in poverty and suffering) very very few are enlightened. Most are stuck in a seemingly hellish realm from which they can't get out of.


First of all the idea that beings are "already enlightened" does not exist in Theravada Buddhism (which is what we discuss here).

The answers to your questions are subtle and lie in the chain of dependent origination. What you are actually asking is a very good question, and it's the investigation of this question that is the whole practice of Buddhism. It's not something you're going to figure out in a forum.

-M
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Re: Why is there suffering in the first place?

Postby ravkes » Tue Jan 25, 2011 8:28 am

I understand. It's just that sometimes the amount of suffering in this world blows my mind. From physical harms to mental anguish the list is endless and seemingly unavoidable for so many people. I suppose a positive way to look at this is that I'm generating compassion for the less fortunate. Then again, I myself don't even have a job - I'm a student with barely any money so it's not like I can help them. Such is life though, I must be realistic and focus on bettering myself.

Thank you, I'm really hoping this is all a dream and that these people aren't suffering, that this isn't real.
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Re: Why is there suffering in the first place?

Postby Strive » Tue Jan 25, 2011 2:09 pm

We are in this sense-sphere in the first place because of our good and bad khamma, since our mind was filled with a mix of good and bad thoughts, speech, and actions we appear in a world with extreme pleasure and extreme pain. It is because we have not fully penetrated the four noble truth and walked the noble eightfold path is why very few escape suffering. It is good to have compassion and help out the less fortunate whenever possible but I wouldn't pity them because if your not careful you can end up worst off then them. Like you said, keep striving on the path and try to put an end to suffering for the good of yourself and others.
:anjali:
"Faith is here a man's best treasure;
Dhamma practised well brings happiness;
Truth is really the sweetest of tastes;
One living by wisdom they say lives best."--Bhikkhu Bodhi's Samyutta Nikaya, Sagathavagga verse 853
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Re: Why is there suffering in the first place?

Postby Parth » Wed Jan 26, 2011 1:57 pm

Well this why was something which Buddha himself never answered, I seem to remember reading a situation when somebody asked a similar question to Buddha, he said, this question has gone too far and he would not answer. He would rather urge them to put effort on practise so as to come out of misery.

Infact when he said 'dukkha' it was not just the apparant dukkha but a much deeper dukkha. The Dukkha which one observes while practising Vipassana. Probably it is only after reaching the other shore that these questions can get answered.

Metta

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Re: Why is there suffering in the first place?

Postby kirk5a » Wed Jan 26, 2011 3:28 pm

ravkes wrote:Thank you, I'm really hoping this is all a dream and that these people aren't suffering, that this isn't real.

If it is a dream, it seems we each have to wake up for ourselves anyway. If we truly study our own suffering, then we understand other people's suffering too. Then we're really in a position to help.
"When one thing is practiced & pursued, ignorance is abandoned, clear knowing arises, the conceit 'I am' is abandoned, latent tendencies are uprooted, fetters are abandoned. Which one thing? Mindfulness immersed in the body." -AN 1.230
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Re: Why is there suffering in the first place?

Postby ravkes » Wed Jan 26, 2011 6:23 pm

Strive wrote:We are in this sense-sphere in the first place because of our good and bad khamma, since our mind was filled with a mix of good and bad thoughts, speech, and actions we appear in a world with extreme pleasure and extreme pain. It is because we have not fully penetrated the four noble truth and walked the noble eightfold path is why very few escape suffering. It is good to have compassion and help out the less fortunate whenever possible but I wouldn't pity them because if your not careful you can end up worst off then them. Like you said, keep striving on the path and try to put an end to suffering for the good of yourself and others.
:anjali:


Very very true! I've interned at a non-profit before and I've seen how the social workers are always so burnt out. I think both extremes are bad, one shouldn't put others before themselves but at the same time if someone is suffering and one is in a position to help they should. So yeah, middle way FTW! lol. I love that too 'sense-sphere' that's sick haha
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Re: Why is there suffering in the first place?

Postby tiltbillings » Wed Jan 26, 2011 6:28 pm

Back to the topic of the OP, please.
This being is bound to samsara, kamma is his means for going beyond.
SN I, 38.

Ar scáth a chéile a mhaireas na daoine.
People live in one another’s shelter.

dheamhan a fhios agam

"We eat cold eels and think distant thoughts." -- Jack Johnson
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Re: Why is there suffering in the first place?

Postby meindzai » Wed Jan 26, 2011 8:24 pm

parth wrote:Well this why was something which Buddha himself never answered, I seem to remember reading a situation when somebody asked a similar question to Buddha, he said, this question has gone too far and he would not answer. He would rather urge them to put effort on practise so as to come out of misery.


Can you find/quote such a Sutta? The causes of suffering are a central teaching:

16. "And what is the origin of suffering? It is craving, which brings renewal of being, is accompanied by delight and lust, and delights in this and that; that is, craving for sensual pleasures, craving for being and craving for non-being. This is called the origin of suffering.


Sammaditthi Sutta

Infact when he said 'dukkha' it was not just the apparant dukkha but a much deeper dukkha. The Dukkha which one observes while practising Vipassana. Probably it is only after reaching the other shore that these questions can get answered.


Without the answer to that question, provided to us by the Buddha, we'd have no way to practice in the first place. You can observe Dukkha all you want but if you do not remove the cause of suffering you'll never see the end of it.

-M
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Re: Why is there suffering in the first place?

Postby wtp » Wed Jan 26, 2011 10:48 pm

As I understand it dukkha is the price of existence.
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Re: Why is there suffering in the first place?

Postby Parth » Thu Jan 27, 2011 3:17 pm

Dear meindzai ,

Just to clarify what this question asks is the reason for the first cause and this was never answered by Buddha ever.

What he did teach was the way out of it

Regards

Parth
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Re: Why is there suffering in the first place?

Postby meindzai » Thu Jan 27, 2011 4:34 pm

parth wrote:Dear meindzai ,

Just to clarify what this question asks is the reason for the first cause and this was never answered by Buddha ever.

What he did teach was the way out of it

Regards

Parth


I guess we are interpreting the question differently, as I do not see it as asking for a first cause. That's usually an ontological question. That would be something like "how was the universe created?" or "what caused everything to exist?"

Can you give me an example of the Sutta you are referring to where the Buddha denies answering the question? That way we can compare the phrasing of the question.

-M
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Re: Why is there suffering in the first place?

Postby Parth » Thu Jan 27, 2011 6:21 pm

I agree we are interpreting the question differently, thereby coming to different conclusions.
:namaste:
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Re: Why is there suffering in the first place?

Postby rowyourboat » Fri Jan 28, 2011 4:13 pm

Hi ravkes

I think it is not the correct question to ask of suffering 'WHY does it exist?' It exists because that is the way things are. It is only we who want it to be otherwise. As long as we dont want to accept it, as long as we cling to some form of suffering free utopia and try to find it by changing the world (rather than changing ourselves to be in line with the truth of suffering) we shall not escape suffering. Suffering is the nature of existence.

with metta

Matheesha
With Metta

Karuna
Mudita
& Upekkha
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Re: Why is there suffering in the first place?

Postby ravkes » Sun Jan 30, 2011 12:43 am

Suffering is the nature of existence. True words. It's probably true that no one can answer my question, and it's also true that seeing things clearly stops all suffering lol.. so it's straight.
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Re: Why is there suffering in the first place?

Postby Moth » Sun Jan 30, 2011 3:03 am

This is perhaps off topic but I think it relates to the OP's question, so I'll ask it here instead of starting a new thread. Why does this Samsara (with all its suffering) exist, why must we go through this process towards enlightenment? Is this ever answered in the Suttas or is it an imponderable?
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