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helpfuldemon

There is no virtue in suffering.

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Suffering is not virtuous.  There is no beauty in it.  For if there were, then causing suffering would be virtuous, and then good and evil would break down, and evil would be good.

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22 hours ago, helpfuldemon said:

Suffering is not virtuous.  There is no beauty in it.  For if there were, then causing suffering would be virtuous, and then good and evil would break down, and evil would be good.

 

I agree. I've tried to understand the Christian view of virtue in suffering, but it does not make any sense to me.

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Suffering can be done by acts of Evil, or by nature, or by punishment.  If its punishment, I can see how suffering might be considered to be a purifying thing- that accomplishes a transformation in the person.  It is also good for recovering damages, in that light.  Otherwise, it is unnecessary and immoral to create suffering.  

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In the Sutta on Fear and Dread, the Buddha describes his experience of trying to deliberately face these primitive fears. His experience in meditative practice strengthens his ability to remain present to the experiences which are unsettling him, but more to the point, conquering his fear allows him to achieve the complete insight, calmness and presence which has been evading him. Unflagging persistence was aroused in me, and unmuddled mindfulness established. My body was calm & unaroused, my mind concentrated & single. This encounter with even the most frightening aspects of life helps him to break through the delusory view point and see things as they are, not distorted by the mental cycles associated with the maintenance of the self world. Those processes of delusion are basically concerned with protection and when fear is conquered they are no longer required. The Buddha now sees ‘day’ as ‘day’ and ‘night’ as ‘night’. There is no filtering of experience. Mara, the deadness which comes from fear, is defeated.

 

The next section of the sutta explores the spiritual consequences of experiencing the full force of these primitive feelings without flinching or escaping. In the latter half of the sutta, we find a description of the Buddha’s experience of enlightenment.  It would seem that facing the uncertainty and standing firm despite the fear led to this breakthrough. The text describes the momentous night which is the culmination of the Buddha’s spiritual journey. The description is somewhat formulaic, being an oft repeated spiritual text, a description found in a number of different suttas in rather similar form. It contains an account of the unfolding of visionary experiences through three watches of the night. This process resulted in the Buddha’s complete enlightenment, his realisation of the truth, which later became formulated as the teachings on the Four Noble Truths and Dependent Origination.

 

The link between the process of facing our most primitive fears and that of achieving enlightenment is very significant in our understanding of Buddhist Psychology. It confirms the significance of affliction, dukkha, as the driving force for spiritual growth. It would appear that, according to this account, it is by completely avoiding our tendencies to escape that we break through the last vestiges of attachment and thus achieve complete spiritual maturity. In other words, when we actually experience dukkha rather than escaping from it by using the distractions of the senses, of self-building and creating identity, or of seeking oblivion and self destruction, the three levels of clinging, we become alive to the world in a new way and live for spiritual ends. This understanding became enshrined in the key Buddhist teaching of the Four Noble Truths. 
 

The sutta describes how the Buddha, having pursued a path in which he had eliminated every other barrier to enlightenment and removed the hindrances and overcome delusion, still experienced fear. He had achieved everything he could through his own efforts and yet was still held by the grip of the primitive animal responses which arose in him when he felt existentially threatened. It was in facing out this most basic fear that he finally reached the ultimate spiritual state. The ultimate truth is that he does not need to fear the world. He does not have to dread others. He can allow them to speak to him. He can see them for what they really are.

 

https://buddhistpsychology.typepad.com/my-blog/buddhist-approaches-to-psychotherapy-rooted-in-a-positive-paradigm.html


 Being able to truly allow and feel these negative feelings was his ultimate key to resolving suffering, and led directly to his enlightenment. 

 

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