Regarding this Note:
Please begin by reading the “Preface to Erik’s Notes on Buddhism:” found on the main page of Buddhism ~ Thanks
Is it possible to end suffering?
Sure it is possible to end all suffering completely and forever. But first we need to know what suffering is and then we need to know what causes suffering.
So first, what is suffering? My suffering is an experience that results from my Negative Thinking. In fact, 100% of all my suffering is the result of my Negative Thinking: my Anger, Jealousy, Greed, Pride and Ignorance. Anger = I want to destroy your happiness and the causes of your happiness. Jealousy = 1) Your suffering is my happiness; 2) Your happiness is my suffering. Greed = More will make me happy. Pride = 1) I am already good enough, I do not need to improve myself; 2) I am so bad, there is nothing you can do to help me (my problem is more powerful then any solution you have); 3) Laziness, I know it would help, but I am not going to do it now. Ignorance = 1) Not knowing the truth about who you are (if you would like, see my Note on “What is Present Moment Thinking?”); and 2) Not knowing the truth about how things work (again, if you want, see my Note “the Four Facts”).
Once we know what suffering is, it is easy to see that Less Negative Thinking = Less Suffering (regardless of the conditions that we find ourselves in). Based on this, I can be in pain and not ‘suffer’ – as long as the pain is not driving me to get caught up in my Negative Thinking. If the pain exceeds my capacity to renounce my Negative Thinking then I am in trouble, hence the need to continually practice renouncing my Negative Thinking. (Renunciation = I want to get rid of my Negative Thinking because it is the cause of all my suffering and because it is a condition for others’ suffering. Literally, I want to decrease my attachment to my Negative Thinking.)
But then there is an important follow-up question. What is happiness and can we have true happiness? By understanding suffering and the cause of suffering, it is easy to understand that that my happiness is the cessation of my Negative Thinking; and, Zero Negative Thinking and zero negative Karma (the power of Negative Thinking) is True Happiness. True Happiness is the same as Vast Awakening – Buddha.
I think a lot of people get caught up here believing that they need to give up attachment in general. But there are at least two major problems with this idea. One, it is impossible for a sentient being (Present Moment Thinking with Ego-Clinging) to not have attachment. Thinking always has hope and fear, always has attachment and aversion. But it is only the attachment to anger, jealousy, greed, pride and ignorance that is the cause of our suffering. Therefore, we need to give up our attachment to our Negative Thinking only. Secondly, Renunciation is Positive Thinking; therefore, we need to have some attachment to our Positive Thinking – otherwise we won’t decrease our suffering and the cause of our suffering. Without attachment to Positive Thinking there is no practicing Dharma.
Of course this is a very short and simple answer but these are some of the most basic fundamental principles of Buddha’s teachings that I have been fortunate to receive from my teachers; and as these have not yet succinctly made it into the mainstream western understanding of Buddhism, I offer them here. I Hope it is of some value.
May all beings be free from suffering and Negative Thinking – may all beings have happiness and Positive Thinking.
Namo Buddha ya