Do we consciously choose to suffer?

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Individual
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Do we consciously choose to suffer?

Postby Individual » Mon Jun 08, 2009 12:05 am

Do we consciously choose to suffer?

If no, then how can there be responsibility or control over something which we are not conscious of?

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?
The best things in life aren't things.

The Diamond Sutra

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Ben
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Re: Do we consciously choose to suffer?

Postby Ben » Mon Jun 08, 2009 1:47 am

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.
AN 6.63


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.
Metta

Ben
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in mountain clefts and chasms,
loud gush the streamlets,
but great rivers flow silently.

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sobbhesu padaresu ca,
saṇantā yanti kusobbhā,
tuṇhīyanti mahodadhī.

Sutta Nipata 3.725

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pink_trike
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Re: Do we consciously choose to suffer?

Postby pink_trike » Mon Jun 08, 2009 2:10 am

Individual wrote:Do we consciously choose to suffer?

If no, then how can there be responsibility or control over something which we are not conscious of?

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?


Yes, we choose to suffer. We can't control events or circumstances, but we do choose how we respond (or react) to them. We even create them so that we can react to them.

We choose to suffer because we been trained to by the conditions of the mind/body, family, society, the ecosystem, and the universe. We don't choose consciously - we choose reactively, ignorantly, unconsciously. We have been conditioned to certain patterns of behavior and perception and it doesn't occur to us that we are more than those patterns...we are also intention.
Vision is Mind
Mind is Empty
Emptiness is Clear Light
Clear Light is Union
Union is Great Bliss

- Dawa Gyaltsen

---

Disclaimer: I'm a non-religious practitioner of Theravada, Mahayana/Vajrayana, and Tibetan Bon Dzogchen mind-training.

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Jechbi
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Re: Do we consciously choose to suffer?

Postby Jechbi » Mon Jun 08, 2009 5:49 am

Please define "consciously."
Rain soddens what is kept wrapped up,
But never soddens what is open;
Uncover, then, what is concealed,
Lest it be soddened by the rain.

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Re: Do we consciously choose to suffer?

Postby Spiny O'Norman » Mon Jun 08, 2009 1:31 pm

Individual wrote:Do we consciously choose to suffer?


No, I don't think so. We consciously make choices that we think will make us happy, but of course they often don't. I would say we make a conscious choice to reduce suffering when we act more skillfully.

Rick

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Re: Do we consciously choose to suffer?

Postby jcsuperstar » Tue Jun 09, 2009 5:44 am

yes. well at least i know i have and i'm sure i'm not the only one.
สัพเพ สัตตา สุขีตา โหนตุ

the mountain may be heavy in and of itself, but if you're not trying to carry it it's not heavy to you- Ajaan Suwat

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Re: Do we consciously choose to suffer?

Postby acinteyyo » Tue Jun 09, 2009 3:41 pm

Hi,
Individual wrote:Do we consciously choose to suffer?
I think "No". Because of avijja we don't know that choices we make will lead to suffering. Puthujjana's usually even don't know that they're suffering.
Individual wrote:If no, then how can there be responsibility or control over something which we are not conscious of?
There can't be any responsibility or control over something which we are not conscious. That's why we're suffering. The one who knows the 4 noble truths, will then gradually be aware of it. Of the origin of sufferin and knows how to finish suffering.
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?
That's why I don't think we choose consciously to suffer. As I already said, I think avijja is the reason.

best wishes
Pubbe cāhaṃ bhikkhave, etarahi ca dukkhañceva paññāpemi, dukkhassa ca nirodhaṃ. (M.22)
Api cāhaṃ, āvuso, imasmiṃyeva byāmamatte kaḷevare, sasaññimhi samanake lokañca paññāpemi lokasamudayañca lokanirodhañca lokanirodhagāminiñca paṭipadan. (AN4.45)

:anjali:

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Re: Do we consciously choose to suffer?

Postby Samanera Tris Andika » Tue Jun 09, 2009 3:43 pm

:goodpost: :anjali:
"Sabbe Satta Bhavantu Sukhitatta
Dhamma is Amazing ,Logic and we must proud

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Re: Do we consciously choose to suffer?

Postby Fede » Tue Jun 09, 2009 10:19 pm

I'm of the opinion that we do, yes.
Why?
Because otherwise we wouldn't still all be stuck here, would we?

"Ignorance" is no excuse in Law.
And it's no excuse here, either.
We all know well enough about the Buddha, Dhamma and Sangha to understand that Ignorance is self-inflicted.
Ignorance in the sense of delusion, is 'curable'.
Ignorance in the sense of not being educated, is also curable.
All we have to do, is 'face it'.
"Samsara: The human condition's heartbreaking inability to sustain contentment." Elizabeth Gilbert, 'Eat, Pray, Love'.

Simplify: 17 into 1 WILL go: Mindfulness!

Quieta movere magna merces videbatur. (Sallust, c.86-c.35 BC)
Translation: Just to stir things up seemed a good reward in itself. ;)

I am sooooo happy - How on earth could I be otherwise?! :D


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acinteyyo
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Re: Do we consciously choose to suffer?

Postby acinteyyo » Wed Jun 10, 2009 4:01 pm

Fede wrote:I'm of the opinion that we do, yes.
Why?
Because otherwise we wouldn't still all be stuck here, would we?


Hi Fede and all,
More precisely I think we don't choose at all.
Who should make the choice?
Do we choose to get older? Yes? (really?!)
Because otherwise we wouldn't get older and older, would we?

Do you know what I am driving at?

best wishes
Pubbe cāhaṃ bhikkhave, etarahi ca dukkhañceva paññāpemi, dukkhassa ca nirodhaṃ. (M.22)
Api cāhaṃ, āvuso, imasmiṃyeva byāmamatte kaḷevare, sasaññimhi samanake lokañca paññāpemi lokasamudayañca lokanirodhañca lokanirodhagāminiñca paṭipadan. (AN4.45)

:anjali:


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