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