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What would a Buddhist say if he were suffering?
September 13, 2011 5:48PM
The Buddha said that we all experience suffering. He said that all people and animals experience suffering, and that it is impossible to avoid suffering.
Actually, he said that suffering is the nature of life.
By this he meant that it is impossible to get through life without experiencing emotional and physical pain, and that in the end, we all grow old and die.
This sounds very negative, but it shouldn't be seen that way. The Buddha was just commenting on the nature of reality and the whole basis of Buddhism is to enable people to relieve this suffering, by teaching people meditation. Meditation allows people to learn to relieve their own suffering.
Relieving suffering for all beings is the basis of Buddhism and the Buddha's teachings.
The Buddha said that the human condition is one of suffering and the most 'noble cause' is to relieve suffering by training our minds through meditation.
When we have completely relieved our own suffering we reach a state called 'enlightenment' or 'nirvana'.
Meditation isn't suitable for everybody to solve everyday problems because it takes a long time to become an experienced meditator. It is a journey of learning that can take many years or even a life time. But even a beginner can start to learn about themselves as soon as they start practising.
In terms of what is a practical way to relieve everyday suffering, it depends on what suffering you are talking about.
Obviously, if you've broken a leg then you would go to a hospital and get it fixed.
If you are ill then you should go to see a doctor.
If you are experiencing emotion upset, then you should find the most appropriate person to help you through the turmoil, whether it be a family member, friend, therapist, support group, the samaritans or a holy man etc. etc. etc. There is a lot of help out there, and you should seek help. No one can get through life on their own and we all need help at times.
If you are experiencing depression or a similar emotional 'suffering', then you should seek help from a doctor or qualified therapist. There are organisations and help groups who could help you find the most appropriate help and information.
If you have lost somebody close to you and are suffering from grief, then there are people who can help you understand your loss, and to help you come to terms with it. For example, you could see a grief counsellor who understands how much the loss of a loved one can hurt. There are also groups and organisations who help help you deal with your loss.
In terms of a practical Buddhist approach to relieving suffering, many people find that meditation is an enjoyable, rewarding and helpful thing to do.
You could start by practising some 'mindfulness' meditation, which involves just being in the present moment by being aware of yourself and your surroundings right now, seeing what is going on around you now. This helps you let go of things that hurt you emotionally. It helps you let go of the past, and to learn to appreciate where you are right now.
The Buddha said that suffering is caused by attachment and grasping. This means that we are attached to old and familiar emotions and memories, which make it hard to move forwards in life. It means that we stay with old familiar emotions that make us fearful and hurt us or hold us back. Buddhist meditation is about to learning to let go of the things that we don't want to let go of.. our old selves and the emotions that keep us suffering and stop us from developing to our true potential. 'Letting go' allows us to move forwards and experience life in the present moment, to the full. It's a long journey to understand ourselves fully, but it's one worth doing.
Mindfulness meditation involves releasing, letting go and just being in the moment, and forgetting about everything else. In Buddhism, this is called 'mindfulness'. It takes some practise and perseverance, but it can be very effective and exhilarating. You can read more about this by searching for 'mindfulness' on the internet.. there's loads to read about it. You can practise mindfulness in everyday life.. you don't have to sit and meditate, but you could also start to practise meditation which can help to calm your mind and nurture positive emotions.
Mindfulness treaches you to let go and accept everything as it is without judging it, experiencing the present moment.
It might seem a bit hard to understand why we should accept everything as it is. It doesn't mean that we are saying that something is right or wrong. We are just acknowledging that is the way it is. In life we are always wanting to change things. But while practising meditation we learn to see things as they are, without putting our own judgments of right and wrong on them, because this allows us to learn to be at peace with ourselves and the world. It is a very powerful thing to learn.
The following is quoted from:
The teachings of the Buddha revolves around this central tenant known as the "Four Noble Truths". The Four Noble Truths form the central foundation of Buddhism.
The First Noble Truth states that "Life is Dukka". "Dukka" is very often translated as "sufferings", but I feel it's a very inadequate translation. A much better translation is "Unsatisfactoriness". Basically, the First Noble Truth states that life is unsatisfactory and imperfect. How so? All of us are subject to pain and sufferings. All of us cannot avoid disease, old age and death. We are subject to impermanence and uncertainty. Very often, we have to associate with things that are unpleasant and disassociate with things that are pleasant. All these are unsatisfactory.