Author Topic: How Do You Explain That Life Is Suffering?  (Read 25445 times)

diamond girl

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Re: How Do You Explain That Life Is Suffering?
« Reply #15 on: October 16, 2011, 07:23:50 PM »
I agree. There's no point giving our friends dharma talks and telling them about Dorje Shugden in hopes that they'll be convinced to do the practice. When life's good, there's no urgency and or need to look into spiritual growth. In the meantime, just be friends and get to know each other better. When your friends have some problems with their relationships, career and so on, talk to them without using Buddhist jargons. Only when they ask for help, do you introduce them to Dorje Shugden's practice.

Religion is always a sensitive issue and is very personal. If we are too gung ho, we'll scare away our friends. The best way to influence our friends to do the practice is to transform ourselves in ways that will inspire them.

Hi Klein,

I agree and disagree with what you have mentioned.

When we tirelessly share and introduce Dharma and Shugden to them, whether they practice or not, the seed in planted, some blessing has went into their mind stream for the right time to be ripen. So there IS a point to introduce to them, but we should be skillful in introducing and not pushing them too much if they did not accept at the first place, but we have to always be ready for them when they need help even they rejected us when we introduced to them. We should not feel bad if we are rejected too.

If we don't, we took away the chance for them to get connected with Dharma. But if they have other religion belief then it is another story.

I do agree with you that the more effective way to spread the Dharma is we ourselves practice and inspire them and when we talk it will be more convincing.

Yeap, the best "convincing machine" is ourselves. When we are good people practicing what Budhhism embodies - compassion - people will be attracted to us as a person. When people like what they see, they will ask "Where can I get some of that?" - then you have ample open mindedness to share, not dictate and preach please.

I also agree that we cannot always wait for the right time. There is none. Skillful methods of delivery is important. The biggest skill is Sincerity and this comes from within. It is important to always "Walk the Talk". Keep sharing yourself with others and show them your virtues. Embody your practice in your Body, Speech and Mind.

By being a better person you are spreading Dharma and benefiting others.

pgdharma

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Re: How Do You Explain That Life Is Suffering?
« Reply #16 on: October 19, 2011, 03:49:45 PM »



They can have everything they want, but if one's still feel disappointment, angry, jealous, sad, worry or unhappy even that's only 1 time in their life, it's proven they are still suffering in this world. If all the worldly value such as wealth, relationship, health, or appearance can bring real happiness, they should not have any other emotion but only happiness after they owned all these ; they should only feel happy and no worries at all in their life, since they have everything. But if they still experiencing emotion up and down, no matter what they have from the outside, they are still suffering inside. All the worldly value can brings happiness but it's very short term. Since it's short term, which means they need to spent a lot of time to "replenish" it, which will bring suffering again.
This is my thought, what do you think ?

[/quote]Totally agree. Those things that they have are all worldly desires....good food, good life, big houses, big cars, good relationships, good looks/appearances....all these will eventually fade away. Yet they worked so hard and chased after these things and feel happy about it then later they will feel unsatisfied and want more and they had to work even harder to acquire more. It is like a thirsty man drinking salt water, the more he drinks the thirstier he gets. Attachment and the fear of losing one's possession is suffering. Externally they may look rich but internally they are spiritually deprived. It is very difficult to convince this category of people into dharma, so the only way to help them is to transform our self so that it will inspire them and to use skilful methods to guide them and plant the dharma seeds into their mind so that when the time is right it will ripen. When they are down, be there for them and take the opportunity to skilfully impart some dharma to them.

hope rainbow

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Re: How Do You Explain That Life Is Suffering?
« Reply #17 on: October 25, 2011, 05:29:38 AM »
I have friends who seem to have it all. They have money, looks, loved ones, career and friends. Then they look at Buddhism, which says life is suffering. How do you explain Buddhism to these people without sounding too pompous and overpowering with impermanence, death and karma? I need to get to them to understand the preliminary before I would even bring in the subject of propitiating Dorje Shugden.

You can ask them to watch CNN full time for a couple of weeks, with a mind of empathy and compassion, thinking strongly that they could be the very people they see on TV, stuck in painful situations, buried in a land slide, in flood, in war, in despair, in medical agony, broke and homeless, prisoners, raped, abused, injured, kidnapped, lonely, hungry, disabled, tortured, abandoned, orphaned, sick, dying, .... the list is endless.

You want to learn what the entry level of suffering is, watch the best "suffering show" on TV: CNN (or any other news channel for that matter), and stop thinking that what you see does not apply to you!

DharmaSpace

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Re: How Do You Explain That Life Is Suffering?
« Reply #18 on: October 26, 2011, 09:15:26 AM »
U can't stop eating can you. U are plagued by hunger everyday.


hope rainbow

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Re: How Do You Explain That Life Is Suffering?
« Reply #19 on: October 27, 2011, 03:43:12 AM »
U can't stop eating can you. U are plagued by hunger everyday.

Dharma Space, that is true indeed.
Though, most people I know (and with which I share a similar karma when it comes to that), see hunger as something pleasant, because it means a nice lunch ahead.
So hunger is not experienced as a suffering but as a foundation for something pleasurable to be experienced with good friends in a nice restaurant around a tasty meal and a bottle of wine.
When we have the karma for that, it is very hard to understand hunger as "suffering."

vajraD

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Re: How Do You Explain That Life Is Suffering?
« Reply #20 on: April 15, 2012, 06:21:44 PM »
What we have in life is basicly suffering that we have self created. Life is a suffering if we don’t used wit good motivation

jessicajameson

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Re: How Do You Explain That Life Is Suffering?
« Reply #21 on: April 15, 2012, 08:49:09 PM »
I am going to say something terrible but mean it...

Noone can stay happy throughout their entire life on Earth. It's the nature of samsara, right?

Their wealth will deplete, their health will decline, unexpected things may happen to them... I'm not cursing, these are all just possibilities.

So without forcing impermanence, death etc down their throats.... you know they won't listen when times are good, so be there will things are grim.

ie be their friend and confidante when all is great and successful and when things fall, you're there to pick them up!

Otherwise how to explain suffering when they sleep on 750TC sheets!

Positive Change

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Re: How Do You Explain That Life Is Suffering?
« Reply #22 on: April 16, 2012, 12:27:10 PM »
I have friends who seem to have it all. They have money, looks, loved ones, career and friends. Then they look at Buddhism, which says life is suffering. How do you explain Buddhism to these people without sounding too pompous and overpowering with impermanence, death and karma? I need to get to them to understand the preliminary before I would even bring in the subject of propitiating Dorje Shugden.

The thing is... are they truly happy? On the surface they seem so or they project that they are and sometimes WE do the same. Having all that and more does not make us happy as we know. In fact sometimes "having it all" may be the worse curse of all!

The reason why they equate Buddhism to "suffering" if because they misunderstand renouncement and because they have the constant fear of "losing" what they have (looks, loved ones, money, career, friends etc), they continue to push themselves to hold on to what they ultimately know is not theirs to keep in the first place. Death is the only absolute!

If they are truly honest with themselves they would recognise this fact. And once they do, the beauty of "having it all" is that it gives us the tools to be able to do more than most and hence propel us further on our spiritual journey should we want it.

I personally find the best way to change their perception of Buddhism is through your own example. When your friends see how you have changed for the better and you are not a hermit living in a cave, that would be THE best "sales kit"! So my advice to you is to not change them but change yourself for the better and lead by example! :)

yontenjamyang

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Re: How Do You Explain That Life Is Suffering?
« Reply #23 on: April 17, 2012, 06:11:36 AM »
Thank you guys for all the amazing explanations you gave here. I think the pervasive answer seem to be about skillfulness and explaining things in terms of unsatisfactoriness of life. I did think about that but the various explanations do explain it very well and in perspectives I never thought about. I do agree that the rich have two persistent 'sufferings' in relations to unsatisfactoriness.

One is that they are easily bored and looking for some sort of excitement or distraction because they have everything in life. The second thing is that they are worried about their wealth and how long they can keep it so many rich people tend to be very wary of people (I don't blame them because many people hover around them hoping to get something from them) and they also tend to hoard their wealth. Perhaps these are two that I can use as examples in how spirituality and specifically the Dharma can help them.

BU, you got it right! I have never known anyone rich who are truly happy. Everyone regardless of wealth have some suffering or unsatisfactoriness in their lives. The rich are qualified to tell us that money cannot buy you happiness. It is definitely true and pervasive.

My point is that we need to be close to them (because of their fear and paranoia) and explain only as solution to their problems. We do not challenge them by saying their wealth can not buy happiness because they can get defensive. Of course, if you can wealthy as well, it will be easier.

Tammy

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Re: How Do You Explain That Life Is Suffering?
« Reply #24 on: April 17, 2012, 07:54:39 AM »
I have friends who seem to have it all. They have money, looks, loved ones, career and friends. Then they look at Buddhism, which says life is suffering. How do you explain Buddhism to these people without sounding too pompous and overpowering with impermanence, death and karma? I need to get to them to understand the preliminary before I would even bring in the subject of propitiating Dorje Shugden.

Big Uncle,
Your friend is a human being in samsara - I am sure he or she has something in life that is not totally to his or her satisfaction... be it their cars not as fast as someone else's, their houses doesnt have gold plated roof, their helipad not big enough, etc etc.. this is where you can point to them their 'sufferings'

Samsaric world does not have 100% happiness, hence everyone in this realm is suffering in one way or another. For example, I could complain that the broadband speed in my area is too slow while there are many people in the other parts of the world who has not heard of the word 'computer'...

As long as we could point out our friends' 'sufferings' we could show them dharma.

I wish you best of luck in bringing dharma to your richmen friends.

Down with the BAN!!!

Gypsy

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Re: How Do You Explain That Life Is Suffering?
« Reply #25 on: April 17, 2012, 03:05:32 PM »
I like Kurava's explanation. For some of the cases i have come across, by telling them merits and karma don't work at all, do not even think of telling them dharma. These high society people are to comfortable with their good life where they never realize the real purpose of life.

People nowadays seem to measure their sense of self from what they own and their social status. The disproportionate wealth in this society has caused the rich upper class people degenerate even faster in terms of their mind and of course action. Delusions and ignorance may be part of the causes of why people think that they are suffering in life.

How many rich people in this world can do like Steve jobs? The hard life in his earlier life had caused his success in his later life, though living a top-notch life, he did not behave like a notorious tycoon. I guess he was happy until his last breath. His contribution to the world is legendary.

brian

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Re: How Do You Explain That Life Is Suffering?
« Reply #26 on: April 19, 2012, 03:32:36 AM »
Well, I feel Dharma is convincing enough. Generally speaking, it is very apparent to everyone and I guess it is not that hard to introduce Buddhism to people around. Most shares Buddhism as logics in life. I was convinced by its logic for example.

In explaining it, we do it on the lowest or slightest level ever on what is Buddhism. It doesn't work if we push it too much or we ourselves do not give a good reflection on Buddhism to our "target".

In the end of the day, we look at the person whether he has the merits to be able to meet Dharma or not.

hope rainbow

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Re: How Do You Explain That Life Is Suffering?
« Reply #27 on: April 19, 2012, 02:07:56 PM »
There is no way to explain that life is suffering to a being that has no experience of pain, nor loss, nor anxiety, nor stress... Someone who has a God's like life cannot relate to suffering directly. They may understand that "others" do suffer, but that remains an intellectual understanding.

In our existence as sentient beings we find ourselves in either of these situations:

situation 1: we are in the middle of a catastrophy.

situation 2: we are in between two catastrophies.

It is to say that situation 1 is infinitely longer than situation 2.
And also, we should note that most of us are comfortably engrossed in situation 2, and we take it for granted, we think it will last. We are not thinking that it will last like we were complete idiots, no, we know it won't last, but everyday we live we sincerely believe that it won't stop today, and that is how we delude ourselves in thinking that it'll last forever, by thinking at every moment that it will last to the next moment, to the next day.

So it is very difficult to realise our own suffering if we do not experience the plain and direct suffering of pain. We cannot see the suffering of change very well, because we do not recognize change, and we can hardly grasp at the idea of the pervasive suffering.

Yet there is one direct way to make us realize suffering is to get the clear reality that there is no difference between "me" and the "others". If the others suffer, i suffer, even if i am on cloud 9.
Call that compassion.

RedLantern

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Re: How Do You Explain That Life Is Suffering?
« Reply #28 on: April 21, 2012, 05:52:35 AM »
What is the cause of our sufferings?Why are we here?Why are we not happy with our lives?How can we end the unsatisfactoriness and experience eternal peace?These are the main causes of sufferings.Buddha's teaching is based on the four noble truth.To realise and penetrate into the true nature of existence and full knowledge of oneself .When we recognise that all phenomenal things are transitory,are subject to suffering,
void of any essential reality,we will be convinced that time and enduring happiness must be sought only through mental purity and the cultivation of wisdom.
If one is in Dharma ,he will relate to Buddha's teaching on the Four Noble Truth better than those who are not.

Aurore

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Re: How Do You Explain That Life Is Suffering?
« Reply #29 on: April 22, 2012, 03:59:39 AM »
Perhaps we can use a different approach with people who seem to have it all now :-

Tell them they must have done a lot of virtues previously that now they are experiencing all the good things in life. Encourage them to do more so that in the future they may continue with the good life. Good things in life are like interests from Fixed Deposits. If we don't top up the principal, when interests all used up and original deposit gone - we'll end up owing to the bank with huge loan interests to service !

We can then bring in karma at this point.

From my personal experience people who enjoy the good life now are quite fearful of losing it . Instead of convincing them that Life is suffering, encourage them to "safe guard" their good life. ;)

What if they don't believe in karma or reincarnation?

If they don't believe in karma and reincarnation, it will be very difficult to convince them this way already. The minimum is they need to believe in karma even if they dont understand it completely. However, if Big Uncle is saying that his friends is saying that Buddhism is suffering, I guess it means they have the wrong views about Buddhism already.

Does having good things in life is truly because people have done many virtuous deeds their previous lives? It might be misleading because it may not be true. Having a good life of wealth, relationships and other stuff which allows you to engage in more negative actions can be the result of negative actions in the past. Definitely having all these can be due to positive karma gained from virtuous deeds as well. It all depends on what they do with it.

What if they hear different things from other people? It will confuse them. Perhaps explaining anything to people with no interest in Buddhism about suffering is difficult at the point when their life is good. Perhaps wait till it's bad? Haha. People turn to religion when things goes sour don't they?