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Suffering, and the End of Suffering

So, of course I write this Buddhism column because I'm an Enlightened Being and have no personal problems, having ended all suffering and being Liberated from the Wh...


Okay, stop laughing, especially all you people who know me personally. I'm trying to make a point.

Which is, nobody, not even the Buddha, stops having personal problems. His Dad, Suddhodana, took a long time to reconcile with his son after Siddhartha gave up the career Dad wanted for him -- world-conqueror -- and took up saving all sentient beings from suffering.

His cousin Ananda, who we talked about last time, was apparently sometimes a bit officious and no doubt tried to boss the Buddha around and make sure he moved on to his next interview on time. After all, he may have been the World-Honored One but he was also Ananda's cousin Siddhartha who everyone gossiped about at home. And I'd bet a lahk that his wife Yasodhara sometimes nagged him about their son Rahula when Rahula was a teenager. And I'm sure Buddha swore when he stubbed his toe and scratched mosquito bites when they itched.

What was different is that he didn't suffer. He didn't have that thing with the Sanskrit name we keep talking about, duhkha. He also said that we could all stop suffering if we practiced three things:

  • we had to decide we wanted to stop suffering;
  • we had to order our affairs ethically so that we minimize the drama and angst that lead to suffering;
  • and we needed to pay attention so that we didn't fall into suffering.

This all comes to mind because, well, I had my own opportunities to fall into suffering fairly often in the last month or so: laid off my day job, some disappointments in relationships, and all the day to day tsooris that everyone goes through. I've also got a young friend who is having his own troubles and has been talking to me about them. So, the topic of suffering has been on my mind.