Week 04: Suffering

Evil

When they were in the field Cain attacked his brother Abel and killed him. [The Bible, Genesis 4:8.] Justice is honoring the worth and dignity of all persons; evil is denigrating, denying, diminishing or destroying it. This is best seen from the core of Being outward. Intention is the essence
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Selfishness – Egoism

. . . evil is always the assertion of some self-interest without regard to the whole . . . [Reinhold Niebuhr, The Children of Light and the Children of Darkness (Scribners, 1944), p. 9.] The foundation for the Buddha’s teachings lies in compassion, and the reason to practice the teachings is to
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Mortality

. . . approach thy grave Like one who wraps the drapery of his couch About him, and lies down to pleasant dreams. [William Cullen Bryant, “Thanatopsis.”] Quietly they go, the intelligent, the witty, the brave. I know. But I do not approve. And I am not resigned. [Edna St. Vincent Millay,
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Powerlessness

The second great spiritual pain is powerlessness. We will come to Niebuhr’s serenity prayer but before we do, we acknowledge that pain that makes us seek that comfort.
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Separation and Alienation

This is true of every creature, and it is more true of man than of any other creature. He is not only alone; he also knows that he is alone. Aware of what he is, he asks the question of his aloneness. He asks why he is alone, and how
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The Material World – The Physical Body

Though the Earth gives us life and the body is the sine qua non of every experience we will ever have, still people are tempted to view material things as constraints. The biblical story of the fall of man, from an imaginary world into the real world in which toil and
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Suffering

Suffering is the price of being alive . . . [variously attributed to Judy Collins and others] Suffering is permanent, obscure and dark, And shares the nature of infinity . . . [William Wordsworth] Birth is suffering, aging is suffering . . . [Guatama Siddhartha (Buddha)] . . . although the
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