September 10, 2010

The Power of an Open Question - The Sadness within Wisdom

Because the Buddha urged us to behold suffering, people often misunderstand the Buddhist path as a path of suffering. I remember reading a magazine article whose author, in reference to Buddhism, wondered by anyone would want to participate in a religion that held the view "life is suffering." But this assumption reflected the author's own misunderstanding. What good is suffering? It can make us bitter. The transformative aspect of suffering comes about through the realization that we're big enough to face this inevitable aspect of life.

The great beings of all traditions understand the principles of accommodating all of it. They accept life and don't try to live around it. This means that they bear witness, along with everything else, to pain and sadness, which is why the wise—although free at heart and full of mirth—always have a glimmer of sadness in their eyes.

- Elizabeth Mattis-Namgyel, The Power of an Open Question

Elizabeth Mattis-Namgyel’s Tricycle Retreat starts now on! Join the Tricycle Community to enjoy the retreat and get her book, The Power of an Open Question, at 30% off.

[Image: Pat Dalton.........]

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Marko's picture

The idea that "life is suffering" is not the Buddhist view. The Buddha didn't just teach the truth about suffering and then stop; he taught the end of suffering.

Honestly, people who walk around with this notion that Buddhism is all about suffering haven't even read all four Noble Truths.