Monday, November 21, 2011

Suffering: the Problem of Existence; Wisdom Quarterly
The Teachings of Buddhism

Chapter One
Suffering: The Problem of Existence

Now what is the Noble Truth of Suffering?

Rebirth is suffering; old age is suffering; sickness is suffering; death is suffering; sorrow, lamentation, pain, grief, and despair are suffering; to be united with the hated is suffering; to be separated from the loved is suffering; not to obtain what is wished for is suffering; in general, identifying with the Five Constituents of Existence (physical form, feeling, perceptions, formations, and consciousness) is suffering.

The Truth of Suffering should be understood and penetrated. To say “problem” of existence implies that there is something wrong with life as we experience it.

What is the problem? The Buddha’s own life provides an insight.

The historical Buddha was born about 2,600 years ago in Kapilavastu, on the Indian frontier. His father was a ruler of one of the many clan territories (mahajanapadas) or loosely affiliated "states."

When he was born, brahmin seers predicted he would either become a great world-ruling monarch or a renunciate more interested in becoming a fully enlightened teacher than a ruler. As a buddha or sage, he would be able to teach countless living beings the path he rediscovered that leads to genuine happiness transcending all suffering.

His father the king, fearing his son might reject the throne, took special precautions in his son’s upbringing to prevent him from seeing the suffering of the world. The prince continuously enjoyed diverse pleasures -- music, dancing, sex, love, marriage, a child -- and luxuries and did not come into contact with its pains. Through his youth the Buddha-to-be enjoyed separate palaces for each season, a life resembling a heaven on Earth. More

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