The First Noble Truth

Did you know that the first Noble Truth of the Buddha is that life is suffering? He said that life is suffering because we crave stuff. We crave food. We crave big houses. We crave cool cell phones. The key to eliminating suffering is to stop craving stuff – to stop craving everything. Once we are free of all attachments, only then can we be free from suffering and sorrow. I think Buddha got it right. Once we get rid of everything we care about in our lives, we will eliminate sorrow.

The pain that I experience as a result of separation from those that I love will disappear once I stop loving. The pain that I experience because I am hungry will disappear once I stop craving food. I’m going to spend some time trying to dig a little deeper into this philosophy. Even though I think that Buddha got it right, doesn’t mean I think it’s a great way to live your life. Giving and receiving love is one of the greatest gifts in life. I can’t imagine giving this up just to eliminate suffering. Of course, when you love someone or something, you are also inviting pain. That’s the deal. To experience life’s greatest pleasures, you must be willing to also experience life’s greatest pains – you must be willing to suffer.

7 comments On The First Noble Truth

  • The Fearsome Randall

    So you have found your way back Matthew?

    >To experience life’s greatest
    >pleasures, you must be willing to also
    >experience life’s greatest pains – you
    >must be willing to suffer.

    Yes, but we know that the other side of that same coin for you is:

    >”The idea that suffering is somehow >justified has never worked for me”–>Matthew

    So which is it Matt? All I have to offer is that we don’t learn about emotions such as suffering from books. We learn about emotions from our own failures and victories.

    >”Living is so much more difficult than
    >dying”–(quoted by Matthew)

    And resignation is easier than losing. Yet when we lose we learn. Or at least my experience has always been that you have to lose to know.

    With death we have our limit, and with limit there is both (positive) determination and negation. We reflect on ourselves when we touch on our limit.

    >the unconscious overwhelms the ego and
    >the client kills him/herself to escape
    >the pain–Jung (quoted by Matthew)

    Here is again the crux of the issue, the avoidance of pain (suffering).

    >”This seems far too basic a model to
    >explain such a powerful act.”–Matthew

    This is an open question.

    >”When you love someone or something,
    > you are also inviting pain.”

    High risk, high reward.

    So where have you arrived on this issue of suffering?

  • I wrote this in June of 2005 and things seemed a little different then. I still agree that dying is easier than living. However, I have recently found more reasons to live. Since then I have balanced my reading of Buddhism with that of early Christianity. Perhaps ironically, this has brought more balance to my life.

    I also still agree that life is suffering … but it can also be beautiful.

  • hmmmmm….

  • What makes the suffering bearable, what makes loving beautiful, what makes life worth it- are the people we share it with. Authentically.

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