Occasionally, I get told“Buddhism is pessimistic, because they teach that life is suffering. Right?”.
It’s kind of like when you say to a Canadian guy “You are Canadian, you must like beer and hockey”, or thinking Japanese women are quiet, love cute things and follow what men say. As you see, these are shallow ways of seeing things.
Yes, Buddhism talks about sufferings, but the purpose is to go beyond, to see the light within.
They say there are eight sufferings.
The four basic sufferings are Birth, Old age, Sickness, and Death. The other four sufferings are; To be separated from loved ones. To meet those who hate and resent you. Not getting what you want. The outside world is not as you want it to be.
Life would be suffering if you search for physical happiness. As one of the three marks of Buddhism is, nothing is permanent. So, if you depend on anything physical, eventually that will disappear and you’ll suffer. If your happiness is spiritual, then your happiness is unlimited, as much as you live in spirituality you’ll become freer. If you think things like, you have to, must, or should, those intentions are making your thoughts stiff and materialistic, becoming a physical heavy burden for your life and making you stuck. It is suffering.
To find stiffness in your thoughts, stubbornness of your habit, tendency of emotions, or even some kind of addiction in your thoughts, this is the starting point to find a light within yourself.
Getting old would be suffering if you look for physical happiness. After the peak age in your 20’s, and 30’s, naturally your physical condition diminishes. As much as you love your physical body, you’ll suffer. I’m not denying exercising in old age, actually, it is better to do some exercise everyday as it is good for you mentally and spiritually. Your body is the temple of your God within,and keeping your temple nice and healthy f shows how you appreciate God and yourself. If you are living this way, then getting old is not suffering anymore.
Getting Sick would be suffering if your happiness depends on your physical body. Death,100% for sure we’ll encounter in our life, but we tend to forget about this truth and just live our daily lives. But when we get sick, suddenly death will appear in front of us as an actual reality. As much as you avoid thinking about death in daily life, you’ll suffer from sickness and death.
But if you don’t look away from the truth, that we’ll die one day, then from this point you can start to prepare to think how you want to die. This is a contradiction but, as much as you confront death, then your life is more enriched. In the darkness, there is a light.
To be separated from loved ones. Which we can’t avoid, because all of us die one day, it comes to you or a loved one sooner or later. So, don”t become attached to a physical existence but fully send love to the spirit of the loved one each moment, so that you won’t regret later.
To meet those who hate and resent you,which you can’t avoid if you only look for your physical pleasures and comfort.But if you are looking for spiritual happiness, then when you encounter any difficulties and challenges, you can sense the potential within you, then after you overcome those challenges, how happy, freer and brighter you’d become..
Not getting what you want,by only looking at the surface of things, God’s gift has a much deeper meaning than we can ever imagine. Behind the physical appearance, there are deeper meanings within. It’s a kind of treasure hunting game. If you play this game, your life will be full of joy.
The outside world is not as you want and you think the outside world is just made of physical things. But when you realise that the outside world is just a projection of your heart, your subconsciousness, then you can feel the potential of the world and yourself. How much the world can be better, and that is how much we can dive into our heart.
These are basic teachings of Buddhism, the Dharma, which is a law of the Universe. Like water goes from high to low. If you work on your negativities, then you’ll find a light.
It is the same thing said in Christianity. In the John’s Gospel 1: 5.
“The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it.”
Maybe when you feel suffering it is the chance to make your life shine.
Let’s play the game of our life, it’s a spiritual journey, and find treasures in the darkness!