The Problem of Suffering

Discussion in 'Eastern Philosophy' started by Magical Realist, May 22, 2015.

  1. Magical Realist Valued Senior Member

    Christianity starts with sin, the commission of which banishes man from his paradisical state. Buddhism starts with suffering, and the observation that all of us suffer. Christianity's answer to the question of suffering is free will, although it's not an answer that really solves the problem. What is Buddhism's answer to the problem of suffering? Is suffering even solvable, or is it something we just need to accept in our lives?
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  3. origin Heading towards oblivion Valued Senior Member

    When I first looked at the title I read it as The Problem of Suffering Magical Realist.

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  5. Magical Realist Valued Senior Member

    When I first looked at your post I read it as "Trolling and insulting MR because you have nothing else to say."
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  7. spidergoat pubic diorama Valued Senior Member

    Buddhism's answer is a process of deconstructing the illusion of self, so that there is no self that suffers. Pain isn't necessarily suffering, it's caused by the intersection between pain and desire of the self to avoid pain.
  8. origin Heading towards oblivion Valued Senior Member

    I really did not mean that as an insult, it was just the way it was written struck me as funny.

    Buddhism says that life is suffering because we are all deluded. Christianity says we are all inherently evil and need Jesus to wash away that evil. Buddhism on the other hand says that we are all inherently perfect and with out flaw and simply need to realize it. I say simply realize it but it is not simple, Buddhist strive mightily to come to this realization. This is not just a simple intellectualization, it is a deep and profound understanding that we are perfect. The realization is called awakening or enlightenment. A typical exclamation at the moment of enlightenment is something to the effect of "All beings are inherently perfect!"

    Supposedly someone who is enlightened no longer experiences the suffering of life.
  9. Magical Realist Valued Senior Member

    It would take a major change of one's consciousness not to suffer due to your daughter being raped and killed. But if they claim this is possible, then maybe so. It just seems some suffering has nothing to do with not believing we are perfect. It seems unavoidable and real. Would not believing you are a self even alleviate such?
  10. Yazata Valued Senior Member

    In one word, the dhamma, the Buddha's teaching, the prescription and the practice that he teaches.

    The Four Noble Truths are dukkha (an untranslatable word often translated into English as 'suffering'), the arising of dukkha, the cessation of dukkha, and the path to the cessation of dukkha.

    The second noble truth is that dukkha arises as the result of 'tanha' (thirst, craving, desire), or perhaps 'neediness'.

    The third noble truth is that dukkha declines as tanha declines.

    The fourth Noble Truth is the Noble Eightfold Path, which is basically Buddhism in a nutshell. It's a whole spiritual practice designed to reduce one's psychological neediness.

    The eight practices are cumulative, you add later ones to earlier ones, as opposed to completing one before starting the next.

    1. Right view - this is intellectual understanding of what Buddhism is. One needs to have heard of Buddhism and have some idea what it is before you begin. At the more advanced level, it's Buddhist philosophy.

    2. Right resolve - in order to begin, one needs to be motivated. One's motivation deepens as one progresses.

    3. Right speech - the first ethical/behavioral action is to start talking like a Buddhist. That will create expectations in those around you that will help keep you on the path. It will also motivate you to use your words in positive ways, avoiding lies, harsh and divisive speech.

    4. Right action - means keeping the five pancasila precepts in one's behavior. The pancasila precepts are don't kill, don't steal, don't lie, don't consume mind-clouding drugs, and don't commit sexual improprieties like child-molesting or rape. Ethical principles become more sophisticated and nuanced as one progresses.

    5. Right livelihood - means introducing Buddhist principles into how one conducts one's entire life, along with avoidance of activities that harm others.

    Notice that 2. through 5. represent a progressively deeper ethical practice. In the West, Buddhism is often presented as if it consisted of nothing but meditation, but its heart is probably its ethics. Behaving ethically in all things is profoundly transformative, psychologically speaking. In a very real sense we are what we do, and behaving ethically is in fact a very real kind of meditation.

    Now the path move inward and addresses one's own psychological processes.

    6. Right effort - refers to directing one's mind towards wholesome states.

    7. Right mindfulness - means being aware at all times of one's own dynamics. Then one gradually develops the ability to intervene in and steer one's own inner process. Mindfulness is very trendy at the moment, and it's sometimes taught separately from the rest of Buddhist tradition, as a stand-alone psychological technique.

    8. Right concentration - means cultivating the ability to focus necessary to enter into the higher meditative dhyana states and for mindfulness to become fully effective.

    This is the entire Buddhist path in very minimalist outline form. The thousands of suttas in the Pali canon are basically elaborations and commentary on it. So it can become as detailed as somebody wants it to be.

    I should note that Mahayana Buddhism subsequently developed its own Boddhisattva path, that places greater emphasis on the ethical and personal transformative effects of compassion.
    Last edited: May 23, 2015
  11. Stoniphi obscurely fossiliferous Valued Senior Member

    Gee.....I adhere to a rather more simple Buddhism myself.

    The 4 noble truths:

    1) Each of us has both pleasure and pain in our lives.

    2) Much of the pain we suffer is due to our choice of attachments.

    3) We can control what we choose to attach to.

    4) Zen can help us do that.

    As for practice:

    1) Eat breakfast, greet your family warmly.

    2) Contact, engage and interact with your society. Help who you can as best you can, try to do a little something to help make the world better.

    3) The primary focus of Buddhism is enabling you to transform your mind thus to transform yourself. The primary tool to do this is meditation.

    4) The practice of ethics and positive behavior enables us to grow spiritually.

    I must add that regular meditation and mindful living will thicken your prefrontal cortex. That is a good thing.

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  12. kx000 Valued Senior Member

    Don't want, have. Right? One would think to want what they posses or they have nothing.
  13. wellwisher Banned Banned

    Christ and Buddha approach suffering in a similar way. Jesus said unless you become as children, you cannot inherent the kingdom of God; the kingdom of God is where all suffering ends. If you watch small children play, even in poor countries, unless there is genuine physical need; hunger, children can enjoy the moment. The reason is, they don't have all the conditioned needs, wants and worries of the world. This is learned behavior connected to the cultural superego in light of the individual ego.

    Everyone now needs a cell phone, with many people also needing a very specific cell phone model, or they will suffer. There is nothing natural about this, but rather this suffering is conditioned. Both Buddha and Jesus seek the inner man, who is different from the suffering imposed by the needs of the cultural superego. Jesus uses the analogy of that childhood state before the change into suffering appears. The child is then able to enter the kingdom.
  14. Sylvester Registered Senior Member

    I think like 100% of us are born suffering. The mother suffers (obviously) and the child suffers the first time it hits the cold air. The baby suffers further at some point with gas pains, teeth coming in etc. Obviously there is physical and mental suffering (anguish).

    Solvable? I have had stomach aches that were very painful and i suffered. How would that be solved? Even if you take something for it you still suffered a little while. Suffering makes us appreciate when we are not suffering and tells us when something is wrong.
  15. Anew Life isn't a question. Banned

    : I take time and thought to write my reply was for the writing above Sylvester: gooday Sylvester.. strangely enough as a child I vaguely remember the holiday of New Year being defined in German as Sylvester..hmmm language value is quite interesting. In many ways I look at the german language as having a much different and freer platform than der, die,das, dass, dessen in it's artikel demand. o' well nice to write:
    meanwhile isn't this somewhat of a repetition of perhaps a 2010 ish writing semplification (now the insult of a word that an anyone chooses to demand hasn't value.. I guess has superego and progress problems of his or her him or herselfs' persona, and or therefore ?professional ?family ? social place presenatative issues...

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    welps......and one does much value rite to enjoy Welches literally perfect products. yummy newish welches snacks,

    strange, all of a sudden I'm thinking of false similarity determinations due to working to figure out what I wrote related to my other entry in topics provided "something about technological misuse...: apparently the new finding I have discovered is the error and practice of naming at a persons relativism and thinline radio frequency twinning or multitasking with chitter chatter employance of relating people with querisomes to act (somewhat or more)whom aren't in the same space... an aspect of it all.

    and this was note for wellwisher unedited from afore: (this whole entry for comprehension feels like about close to an hour of a read for proper assimilation.. i'amn't sure of such)
    'cultural superego' is a very interesting mix two words, and how placed insulting healthfully just that. After.." the cultural superego.. it almost reads as if it may be that people often misuse place and define themselves wrongly in heapishness synmonym to hordishness. the word Jesus, (which isn't only a name, yet a word with definition in another language some say it is life). understanding reading comprehension one can view the last two comments written by yourself as.. 'don't bother seeking to create belonging or work for belonging to represent the decline and frustration that 'cultural super steals from consciousness.
    Last edited: May 28, 2015
  16. origin Heading towards oblivion Valued Senior Member

    The analog of digital vibrational resonance indicates the negative correlation of the inverse of the amplitude causing the quantum entanglement through noninteractive relativity resulting in a murder of crows to doing the time warp again.
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  17. wellwisher Banned Banned

    Cultural superego is the programing that starts outside the person stemming from a collective. This collective ego teaches one how to behave and act within that group. In the case of cultural diversity, a sub culture, within a wider culture, narrows the options of their group, to their ethnic traditions. This may not be bad, if you lived in isolation.

    However, because of TV, internet, etc., one also sees a world that lies beyond that. One is an island who can see other islands. The ego may like to explore and be part of both or all, but the superego enforced by peer pressure, does not allow this. There is conflict and suffering. The grass is always greener when there is a fence created by a cultural superego. The ego does not have this same fence, and may try to hop it. But the ego is also afraid if it goes over, the sentries may not allow him to return to his home island.

    If one is a conservative, liberal, gay, feminists, etc., they define themselves by a group superego. From any of these positions, try to argue all the counter arguments to your group. You are not free to do this; the cage leads to suffering. But if you leave your superego cage, people in the other superego cages may not accept you. You may also not be able to go back without penance that brings even more suffering.

    It is taboo to say the names of religions leaders in this superego cage. Suffice to say, they all try to address human cages in favor of a wider cage that is more encompassing so the ego has all its options. Censor proved my point and it terms of how people act as the mob and not as people, when in cages. I question all cages hoping to open doors out.
  18. river

    Suffering is a position , in which you are in or put yourself in. Religion will never elimate suffering , since that is religions essence to be , except the Gnosics
  19. Stoniphi obscurely fossiliferous Valued Senior Member

    "In each of our lives there is both pleasure and pain ." That pain can be construed as "suffering", though I would consider that to be "labeling" it which would be a "value judgement" which is nothing more than an "attachment", which you can control.

    We are instructed to become one with our pain, to accept it and then to continue to live our life regardless of it. If you do not regard it as a "bad" thing, it is not so. It then, is just a thing and nothing more.
  20. cosmictraveler Be kind to yourself always. Valued Senior Member

    Religion is full of suffering it teaches that. So get rid of religions and much of the suffering will vanish away. But that won't happen because the church won't you ever forget pain and suffering so that they can "help" you with it.
  21. Stoniphi obscurely fossiliferous Valued Senior Member

    Actually, I think that is in process in the US at this time, Cosmic. The stats say so, and I sure hope they are right.....
  22. Spellbound Banned Valued Senior Member

    I attempted a great many times to locate and destroy my psyche by studying the precise nature of my being and its dualisms/ dichotomies of dark and light, good and evil, divine and diabolical over the past year but no matter how much progress I made I could not eliminate it. See Reality as Wonder. The more I tried to do this the more I feel that I am suppressing my true nature and this forces me back to being the very opposite (to go from physical body to spiritual body). Supposedly the 'I' or the inner being divides itself into an interplay between the opposites (dark/ light, good/ evil, malice/ sorrow). If the psyche and spirit are indeed reality then one can never get rid of them. To know this you must try it yourself by understanding what you are within.

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  23. Dr_Toad It's green! Valued Senior Member

    When I read the title I wondered why a discussion of C.S. Lewis' "The Problem of Pain" was doing in Eastern Philosophy.

    Is it impertinent to suggest that it is precisely pertinent to what y'all are discussing here?

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