Individual wrote:Do we consciously choose to suffer?
Absolutely. It has my contention following a ten-day course over 20 years ago.
Since then, I have become increasingly convinced that we choose and are addicted to certain forms of dukkha.
We also know from the Tipitaka:
"Intention, I tell you, is kamma. Intending, one does kamma by way of body, speech, & intellect.
By intending, one chooses to think, talk and act in certain ways which matures, sooner or later, in vipaka.
Individual wrote:If no, then how can there be responsibility or control over something which we are not conscious of?
By this I take it to mean how do we become responsible for habituation. We may not be conscious of say, how we spontaneously react negatively to someone cutting us off in traffic or reaching for that cigarette. But my contention is that we are responsible for those seeming unconscious reactions. Afterall they are our kilesas arising as the result of sankhara (mental formations) which connect the stimulus with our response. We are responsible for the formation of sankharas from reacting with greed, ignorance and aversion to the pleasant, neutral and unpleasant vedanas that arise following sense contact. From the very first instance, an association is being made with the vedanas from sensory contact and our response to those vedanas. And over time, as we encounter those same sensory inputs, our reaction to them can become habituated and we find ourselves reacting blindly. Although we may say that we are not conscious of habituated response, we are continually conscious of everything that is going on.
On another Abhidhammic level, through our actions we condition future cittas which correspond to the 31 planes of existence. Through our intentional actions, we project ourselves into the multifarious situations of the myriad realms of samsara.
Individual wrote:If yes, then why would we choose to suffer, when suffering is undesirable by definition? Why consciously make a decision that is immediately regrettable? Why even choose one form of suffering over another?
Everything that we experience in the mundane field is by definition, dukkha. We become attached to certain forms of suffering because they maybe more comfortable/comforting than without it. Especially if some forms of suffering provides support for a sense of self/identity. on a more elemental level, I think we are all addicted to various sensations whether they be pleasant, unpleasant or neutral.
“No lists of things to be done. The day providential to itself. The hour. There is no later. This is later. All things of grace and beauty such that one holds them to one's heart have a common provenance in pain. Their birth in grief and ashes.”
- Cormac McCarthy, The Road
Learn this from the waters:
in mountain clefts and chasms,
loud gush the streamlets,
but great rivers flow silently.
- Sutta Nipata 3.725Compassionate Hands Foundation
(Buddhist aid in Myanmar) • Buddhist Global Relief