My intention with this blog is to create awareness of suffering for myself and others, as a means to evoke compassion.
The Buddha has taught that there are countless beings, and that they are all suffering. The ways in which beings suffer vary greatly due to each being’s individual karma, so there are as many sufferings as there are grains of sand in the sea. Some beings suffer in obvious ways, such as birth, injury, illness or death. Some beings may appear to have escaped suffering through privilege or wealth, but because all compounded things are impermanent, they will eventually suffer the loss of what makes them happy–if not during this life, then at the moment of death. No one can be totally exempt from suffering, because all beings eventually die. And then they are reborn again, and they continue to suffer. And then they die and are reborn and die and are reborn… it’s like a never-ending hamster wheel of torture created and perpetuated by our own actions. The worst part is that all beings just wish to be happy, but because they don’t understand the nature of reality and don’t know how to become happy, often their efforts are self-sabotaging. Luckily, there is one way out: enlightenment. By following the Buddha on the path of truth one can liberate oneself and all other beings from suffering. In essence, the central work of this path is to help others whenever possible and, at the very least, to not harm them.
Bodhicitta, wisdom-compassion, is the heart of the Buddhist path. When we have true bodhicitta motivation, anything we do can help others. Without bodhicitta, without our hearts in the right place, even if we do something seemingly helpful it may not do anyone any good. By understanding the nature, cause and cure for suffering, we generate wisdom, and by wishing to relieve the suffering of beings we generate compassion. By generating the bodhicitta, the supreme motivator, the fuel for all those that wish to travel the path of truth, we can make ourselves supremely helpful to all beings. It is actually the only way we can be of help to anyone.
Buddhist practitioners are encouraged to contemplate the suffering of cyclic existence constantly to evoke bodhicitta. Buddhism usually groups these myriad sufferings into the six realms of existence or various other enumerated and memorizable lists. Because I have a tendency to intellectualize such contemplations, I wanted to create a meditation for myself and others that will hopefully bypass intellectual traps and aim straight for the heart. While this blog may not be as comprehensive as the traditional lists and offers no wisdom on the causes or cure for suffering, I hope it is at least thoroughly evocative. I hope this blog breaks your heart and encourages you to help others in any way you can.
By this effort, may all beings be free of suffering.
May their minds be filled with the nectar of virtue.
In this way, may all causes resulting in suffering be extinguished
And only the light of compassion shine throughout all realms.
~ Jetsunma Ahkon Lhamo