Buddhism and Suffering

buddha

by Michael Maciel

Buddhism teaches that all suffering is caused by ignorance. And that’s kind of hard to argue with.

The word sin means to miss the mark. It’s an old archery term. Since we all have goals in our life, our success, to a large part, depends on how good our aim is, how intelligently we pursue those goals.

And not all diseases are inevitable. Some of them we bring upon ourselves, such as lung cancer by smoking. Not everyone who smokes gets lung cancer, and everyone dies eventually of something, but just as people used to die of cholera because they didn’t know the dangers of drinking contaminated water, surely there are many things we die of today because we don’t know what causes them. In other words, we’re dying of ignorance.

The term past life doesn’t have to mean reincarnation, and Karma doesn’t have to mean punishment. The mistakes we have made in this life are sufficient. And mistakes—actions taken out of ignorance—will, like any action, produce reactions, just as speaking ignorantly at a crucial moment can negatively affect one’s life for years to come.

These are basic wisdom teachings, and Buddhism is profoundly good at them.

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