Suffering Is Not

I was having a conversation with some Buddhist monk who got offended by the title of one of my Sacred Geometry Yantras called ‘Suffering is NOT.’

He said, “How can you mislead people stating that there is no suffering in life? Buddha said, ‘Life is suffering’, that is his first noble truth.”

“How do you know that”, I replied. “Have you ever meet Buddha? Did you talk to him personally and ask him, ‘Why did you say that? What do you really mean by saying that, suffering is a noble truth?’ It seems to me that you are just repeating something that your unconscious teachers wanted you to believe in order to control you? And by the way, the first Noble Truth is, ‘Suffering is not. I don’t need you to mediate between me and Buddha. Buddha might not agree with my statement, and I already did not agree with his statement, and that is perfectly fine with existence. You see, existence is in agreement with our statements. Who are you to say that my statement is wrong?'”

He was shocked and furious. “How can you say that Buddha is not an enlightened being? Also, the Dalai Lama states: ‘Suffering and pain are inalienable facts of life.'”

“Yes, he is right but only for unconscious humans, but how do you know that Buddha is enlightened?”

The monk became extremely angry and left rambling, “This is stupid, this is stupid…”

Exactly. He was right on the spot, it is stupid.

Be aware. “Life is suffering.” That sounds so negative. But remember, the Buddha didn’t use the English word, “suffering” but “dukkha.” “Dukkha” is Pali, an Indo-Aryan language (part of the same branch as Sanskrit), that has many meanings, including “temporary.” Everything temporary is dukkha.

The Four Noble Truths are the foundation of Buddhism, commonly translated as “suffering,” “anxiety,” “stress,” “dissatisfaction.” These four “Noble Truths” explain the nature of dukkha, its causes, and how it can be overcome. The three main categories of dukkha are: suffering or pain (dukkha-dukkha), impermanence or change (viparinama-dukkha), and conditioned states (samkhara-dukkha). Suffering includes physical, emotional, and mental pain. Impermanence is anything that is not permanent or subject to change. To be conditioned is to be dependent on or affected by something else.

Buddha once summarized his own teachings with those words: “Both formerly and now, it is only dukkha that I describe, and the cessation of dukkha.”

So suffering is temporary, and everything that is not permanent is unconsciousness. What is permanent then? Awareness because it is beyond impermanence. In awareness, there is no suffering. If awareness is beyond impermanence how come impermanence becomes a Noble Truth in Buddhism? Buddha is the One, replicas of Buddha are many. Buddha is the enlightened One, replicas are unenlightened. Unconscious people interpret in relation to their conditioned ego-mind.

Suffering is an inevitable fact of life if you are unconscious. Once you become conscious, where is your suffering? First, try to find out where you are suffering, in the physical, emotional or mental body. Search for it. Be totally present in your consciousness. In your search, you will not find your suffering because it is just an idea, a thought of resistance to overflowing moment now.

Suffering is just an idea, the idea of those people who have never gone in. People suffer because of the mind that creates suffering in order to stop you from being One Self.

Identification with the mind is the cause of our Suffering.

The roots of the word ‘suffer’ comes from Latin: sufferre that means to carry.

Suffering is a state of mind. It doesn’t exist outside of it. Suffering depends upon the way we perceive things and react to them. People suffer differently under identical circumstances because of their beliefs, personality, knowledge, conditioning, attitudes, thinking and interpretation; reacting to suffering in a particular conflicting manner, or by forming opinions about it. The mind’s thinking forms an attitude towards life and suffering becomes a familiar pattern, and we learn to accept it as a natural and integral part of our life. So suffering is a self-created abstraction, arising out of our unconscious activities, inactivities, reactions, thinking, attachments, identification, conditioning, desires, beliefs, attitudes, and associations. Nobody is responsible for it. You are simply unconscious, and unconsciousness is the cause of suffering. Yes, others may play a role in it or contribute to it, but suffering is only our own creation. It comes from our own forgetfulness.

Do you suffer when you do not get what you want, more or less of what you desire? Do you suffer when you are in contact with what you like or dislike, when you see others in suffering, or when you see someone in unhappiness or in happiness?

Suffering is Mistaken Identity. We believe that we are the body and the mind, that we are mortal, subject to the process of birth and death, that we are defined by how we look, what we do with our bodies, what we possess and what we can or cannot do. We believe in physicality, mentality, personalities, mortality, and scarcity. When we identify ourselves with unstable and impermanent things, we cannot live in comfort with that feeling of vulnerability; we suffer from fear, stress, and disease.

Our identification is the root of all our unconscious activities, coming from a strong mental connection we develop with things that are part of our sensory experiences. What you want to become or not, what do you intend to do or not, how do you see and define things, where you are in your current situation, where do you want to be tomorrow, all depend upon your attachments. You are attached to things from the time you were born, and as you grow, you become attached to more and more things.

The first attachment is with thought, with ‘I am’, then whatever ‘I’ see and experience, ‘I’ feel and think, ‘I’ believe and know; what ‘I’ have, and what ‘I’ do; what ‘I’ like or dislike, what ‘I’ agree or disagree, ‘my’ opinion, ‘my’ actions and reactions, ‘my’ fantasies, dreams and desires, ‘my’ anxiety, ‘my’ stress, ‘my’ disorders, ‘my fears’, or ‘my’ happiness, ‘my’ life, ‘my’ love, ‘my’ this and ‘my’ that create the mind. When you identify with things you are not, the things you identify with becomes you. So many voices like hate, greed, anger, selfishness, or envy arise out of your desires and your desires become your identifications.

For example, you have a pain in your stomach. The pain is not in your consciousness, but in your body; you are just aware of the pain in your stomach as part of you, not in you. This distinction, part of you but not being you, is the greatest distinction. If you can understand the distinction between them, you can overcome your suffering.

By being in the body, but not of the body, is to be a witness to your body and whatever happens to and in your body, does not happen to you. You are a witness to that which happens. This awareness happens only to conscious individuals, but what actually happens in unconsciousness is quite different. The moment you identify with your stomach, everything that happens to your stomach happens to you. “This pain is happening to me. I am in the pain.” This identification creates a fictional reality we live in. Naturally consciousness reflects this, being conscious of its reflection. But when the reflection is in consciousness, the mind jumps and makes a conclusion, a statement, “These things comes to me.” Now, these things becomes ‘me’. The mind identifies itself with what happens, and consciousness submits itself to the mind, and suffering is born.

Awareness intrinsically and inherently transcends whatever is experienced, seen, felt, and known. Awareness goes through what happens in the moment, without any attachments, any identifications, or conclusions, it just reflects, but whatever it reflects becomes the mind’s identification, and consciousness is forgotten. This is illusion and the cause of our suffering.

For those who fully understand this, nothing else is needed. Unless you witness your consciousness, you will continue suffering. The mind will dominate you. Instead of fighting with it, face it; allow the suffering to be there, learn from it, and accept whatever value it has to offer. Be in a process of detachment, non-identification, and desirelessness, and you will be beyond it. The way to transcend suffering is not by resisting, fighting or escaping from it, but by understanding it and embracing it with your consciousness, unconditionally right where you are. Be conscious of your consciousness, then where is the suffering?

Transcripts – A collection of Spontaneous Discourses on The Middle Point, Tantra, Yoga, Yantra, Mantra, Zen…, to disciples and friends in Port Coquitlam, Toronto, Vancouver, and Los Angeles.

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Posted in Meditation, The Middle Point.