Universal suffering

October 16, 2019 0 By Tenzin Gyatso

Who are the good people? Is there anyone out there that does not use the circumstances in their environment to benefit themselves, or themselves through proxies?  At the worst, people play constant psychological games, centering constant attention and adoration upon themselves, slaying those who don’t go along with or expose the game. At best, people are kind when it is easy to be kind.

Is there anyone beyond this. Does beyond this exist? It seems to, if any religion ever had a shred of truth. All religions seem to hold within themselves some sort of example of transcended behavior, spotless behavior, where, at their worst, people play constant psychological games furthering the growth of peers. It is written that such individuals even let themselves be played in order to expose other’s hypocrisy and egocentric games.

As far as examples go, some religions may hold more, and others may hold the words of such examples in higher report. Speaking in a utilitarian way, or a universalist way, it might make sense to rank such religions, and create a scale where we can examine the utility of one religion versus another. However, such things are completely interwoven into the societies they spring from, and though they could be ranked in terms of certain aspects, they cannot be ranked in importance, except through individual cases. The case here is Christianity is more useful for a Christian, Buddhism is more useful for a Buddhist and so on. However, now we must investigate and questions the aspects of usefulness. Here we will must depart from religion, and dive into spirituality with the question. What use is spirituality if it does not deliver us into more intimate relationships (with the phenomenal world)?Within the ponderance of this question, Christianity may be more useful for a Buddhist and Buddhism may be more useful for a Christian. This of course comes back to the difference of spirituality and religion. Religion is of course the organized sense and fashion of a belief, where spirituality is more of an individualized relationship to the belief system. So when we say  christian may find Buddhism useful, what we are saying is that a Christian could benefit from relating to the aspects of Buddhism that are more than a codified system of beliefs that make Buddhism unique. A Christian could relate to Buddhist practices in a spiritual way.

If we can relate as individuals, to other people, or religions for that matter, in ways that open us up and make us more intelligent, we just become better us, regardless of our religion. In this sense religion is just the country we live in, and spirituality is our style or level of engagement with the environment around us.These days it seems the world is getting darker and darker and it’s becoming ever more difficult to be open and vulnerable with ourselves and those around us. It’s certainly not easy being a person. However as a person we can relate with everyone else easily when we remember a few simple things. Everyone hurts. Birth, old age, sickness and death are inevitable. We all suffer, and we would like not to be in pain. Everyone wants to be happy, and even if the action is evil, the intention is ultimately aimed at happiness.

However, we’re not so good at remembering such seemingly dull truths. We are easily distracted. Thoughts come up. So fast, we hardly know it. Thoughts happen so fast, we hardly know we are distracted. Thoughts and emotions happen so fast, we hardly even think that we are under the sway of thoughts and emotions. We think, yes everyone suffers, but right now i suffer. Our distraction separates us from what one might call the ‘universal suffering.’ This is something the buddhists call Bodhichitta, which means awakened heart. Bodhichitta means living with a constantly open, often broken, heart. This is the experience of knowing that everyone hurts.

It seems that the best of people are the ones that are able to remember, even in the worst of situations, that everyone suffers.