Posts Tagged ‘suffer’

Courage in the presence of reality

April 15, 2010

Every day, I get a Daily Buddhist Wisdom (sharingbuddhism.com) that encourages me to seek the way of the Buddha and offers some insight and inviting knowledge that inspires me along my path. Today, the wisdom words were:

“Each of us wants to be wiser, more compassionate, and more courageous – to be better than we are. We would like to turn suffering into happiness, affliction to benefit, hardship to ease. We would ideally face both trial and tragedy in ways that could exalt and strengthen us. In every purpose we want and seek these higher tendencies-wisdom, courage, and compassion. These are also the prime qualities of a Buddha.” –The Buddha In Your Rearview Mirror

I agree with just about all of this . . . but the part about “ideally face both trial and tragedy in ways that could exalt and strengthen us” . . . well, um, no. Not really. I don’t need the exalt thing. My ego might want it, but in the presence of reality, I don’t think I could stand it. Exalt means to praise or pay tribute to someone. I might praise myself for having dealt ideally with difficult circumstances, but the fact of my reality is that I really don’t want to face “trial and tragedy.” I certainly would not seek them out. Both seem to find me just fine all by themselves. And I don’t know that I have faced all of them “in ways that could exalt” me. Sometimes, I just sort of caved and whimpered my way through. I probably came out of those a little bit stronger, but mostly smarter. If I have to suffer to attain the rank of Buddha, I would rather pass. Thus ends my Buddha quest.

The idea that we must suffer in life is all about our point of view. Suffering begins because we have the idea that someone or something is not the way we want or think we need it to be. In the presence of that reality, it takes courage to admit the root of suffering and still continue through it.

©2010 by Barbara L. Kass