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Nov 13, 1995 00:57 AM
by Jerry Schueler

>The pursuit of pleasure at any level leads to suffering. This
>is due to the failure to recognize the impermanence of life.
>Suffering is self-imposed. There is no notion of suffering in
>life it comes from not getting what we want. And the sense of
>wanting something that we don't have at the moment is really
>a denial of life. We want to be rich for instance and let
>ourselves suffer due to the thought of not having enough money.
>The suffering is not so much due to unfulfilled desire as it
>is due to our *denial of life*. We deny that we are poor and
>that puts us out of harmony with life as we find it at the
>moment and that denial or lack of harmony with surrounding
>life is the cause of our suffering.

I would like to offer an alternate view here. I see
suffering in quite another way. To me pleasure and pain are
two sides of a duality and the pursuit of one always brings
the other to us.
Suffering is associated with the "denial of life"
yes but also with its acceptance. Pain is inherent in
mortality. The very fact of our mortality is painful. Not
only for ourselves but we also experience suffering when
we see little children hurt our friends accidently hurt
themselves or family members die - all normal events
of life. Even when we act in harmony with nature and
accept life on its terms we still suffer. Suffering lurks
even in the midst of our joyous moments. This is why
Buddhism calls suffering one of the four nobel truths.
As we tread the Path we are told that we
must "die daily." This act serves as a reminder of our
mortality and the suffering it brings serves to increase
our compassion for others.

Jerry S.

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