Suffering in Buddha’s teaching does not necessarily mean grave physical pain, but rather the mental suffering we undergo when our tendency to hold onto pleasure encounters the fleeting nature of life, and our experiences become unsatisfying and ungovernable. ~ Sharon Salzberg
Buddhism explains in its teaching that the five causes of suffering are:
- Not Knowing The True Nature of Reality: arises when we forget our true nature as spiritual beings. Our real identity is that of pure, unbounded consciousness. The tempestuous attribute of the material world has concealed this precious understanding of our conscious awareness. When we don’t grip this essential truth of who we are, we pave the way for the other four causes to arise.
- Identification With a False Sense of Self: a natural construct of the first cause. When we forget our true selves, the trivial unconscious action we do is to create a false identity as a substitute. The unhealthy ego keeps us trapped in uncontrolled selfishness. It is too resistant to any attempt to reconnect with the true self. A great deal of suffering is triggered by this false self unhealthy need for acceptance. It explains why most people choose to fit in, never challenge the status quo, and tend to rely on quick fixes to bear with their pain.
- Attachment to Objects of Desire: the act of grasping something delusional or temporary. Attachment causes suffering by inculcating in you a background stream of fear, anxiety, and dread of loss that is the inevitable byproduct of life.
- Aversion or Avoidance of Things You Don’t Want: it applies to anything that threatens our unhealthy ego — the false self we created and will cause us to back off. Aversion leads to suffering by pulling us into fear and worst-case scenario thinking, as we worry over what will happen if we find ourselves unable to avoid what we fear most.
- The Fear of Death: death is the great unknown, and it impends closer to each of us every day. The fear of death causes suffering by triggering all other fears, anxieties, doubts, and worries.
How can you set yourself free from those suffering causes?
According to Buddhists, the first thing to do so that to end suffering is accepting that it exists. All human beings, sooner or later, are touched by pain. Resisting it only worsens it.
Brilliant Buddhist teachings around stopping the suffering include:
Inviting people to forge noble purposes
It is a way to end suffering because noble motivations always lead to deep satisfaction that others can share. Feeling useful and purposeful gives more meaning to your efforts, in opposition to setting successful goals inspired by a desire for individual praise, which often leaves you empty in the end.
It is how my writing career started accidentally. The most enchanting accident of my whole existence! I have been writing during the last few months, among other topics, about one of the most dangerous diseases: The Narcissistic Personality Disorder. I have been exploring its impact from different angles, either individually or on a global scale. It is the real cancer.
Being honest and an unapologetic truth-teller
Honesty is an awesome virtue. Nonetheless, it does not mean offending others within the process. Some people like to pretend to be authentic and speak their truth, while all that they are doing is judging, complaining, criticizing, stigmatizing, labeling — you name it!
Tell the truth while being cautious with your words.
Never hurting others or make them suffer while being aware of it
Sometimes, it can even be intentional for the evilest human beings. It is the abusers’ favorite game. By abusers, I mean the Cluster B classification disorders — Narcissistic Personality Disorder, Borderline Personality Disorder, Antisocial Personality Disorder, and Histrionic Personality Disorder.
As counterintuitive as it may sound to those individuals who are engaging in their abuse for the sake of feeling better about themselves, what such behavior is doing is to damage their well-being.
They are eternally tormented souls. When victims ask them about karma and how possibly it could be fair to harm so many people and not being held accountable for their darkness and actions, experts say:
They are punished daily since their karma is built-in!
Avoiding laziness and serving the world no matter the means
This piece of teaching makes me recall a brave man moving reflection. He’s a security guy:
That moment when you start doubting your choice and asking this question, “Why the hell am I doing this?” and that a little boy appears scared, crying, and saying, “Officer, can you please help me? I can’t find mommy?” That’s when you realize it has never been about you!
You need to pay attention to a significant detail in this context: many love to pretend and talk about being in service for the sake of selling the fake image, deceiving and exploiting you. It is crucial to use your critical thinking skills to observe their consistency and whether they are walking their talk. Should you be interested, I wrote this piece about the topic:
Being in a constant state of evolution and growth
It takes humility to admit to ourselves how little we know, and that we are willing to be a life-long learner. It implies challenging the belief system we have been taking for the absolute truth, “un-learning” them, and replacing them with new principle-based algorithms. This process is painful and requires tons of bravery!
Humility is the mother of all the virtues because humility acknowledges that some natural laws or principles govern the universe. They are in charge. We are not. Pride teaches us that we are in charge. Humility teaches us to understand and live by principles because they ultimately govern the consequences of our actions. If humility is the mother, courage is the father of wisdom. Because to truly live by these principles when they are contrary to social mores, norms and values takes enormous courage.
~ Stephen Covey