“When we get angry, we suffer. If you really understand that, you also will be able to understand that when the other person is angry, it means that she is suffering. When someone insults you or behaves violently towards you, you have to be intelligent enough to see that the person suffers from his own violence and anger. But we tend to forget. We think that we are the only one that suffers, and the other person is our oppressor. This is enough to make anger arise, and to strengthen our desire to punish. We want to punish the other person because we suffer. Then, we have anger in us; we have violence in us, just as they do. When we see that our suffering and anger are no different from their suffering and anger, we will behave more compassionately. So understanding the other is understanding yourself, and understanding yourself is understanding the other person. Everything must begin with you.”
~ Thich Nhat Hanh
Imagine holding on to a hot burning coal. You would not fear letting go of it. In fact, once you noticed that you were holding on, you would probably drop it quickly. But we often do not recognize how we hold on to suffering. It seems to hold on to us. This is our practice: becoming aware of how suffering arises in our mind and of how we become identified with it, and learning to let it go. We learn through simple and direct observation, seeing the process over and over again until we understand.
– Joseph Goldstein
from the book “Insight Meditation: The Practice of Freedom”
“Suffering, in fact, can be helpful in many ways. It spurs your motivation and as many teachings point out, without suffering there would be no determination to be free from samsara. Sadness is an effective antidote to arrogance.”
~Kyabje Dilgo Khyentse Rinpoche
It’s not impermanence per se, or even knowing we’re going to die, that is the cause of our suffering, the Buddha taught. Rather, it’s our resistance to the fundamental uncertainty of our situation. Our discomfort arises from all of our efforts to put ground under our feet, to realize our dream of constant okayness. When we resist change, it’s called suffering. But when we can completely let go and not struggle against it, when we can embrace the groundlessness of our situation and relax into its dynamic quality, that’s called enlightenment, or awakening to our true nature, to our fundamental goodness. Another word for that is freedom — freedom from struggling against the fundamental ambiguity of being human.
– Pema Chödron
from the book “Living Beautifully with Uncertainty and Change”
“Sometimes we feel as though we are drowning in the ocean of suffering, carrying the burden of all social injustice of all times.
The Buddha said, “When a wise person suffers, she asks herself, ‘What can I do to be free from this suffering? Who can help me? What have I done to free myself from this suffering?’
“But when a foolish person suffers, she asks herself, ‘Who has wronged me? How can I show others that I am the victim of wrongdoing? How can I punish those who have caused my suffering?’ “
We all need to be understood and loved, but the practice is not merely to expect understanding and love. It is to practice understanding and love. Please don’t complain when no one seems to love or understand you. Make the effort to understand and love them better. If someone has betrayed you, ask why. If you feel that the responsibility lies entirely with them, look more deeply. Perhaps you have watered the seed of betrayal in her. Perhaps you have lived in a way that has encouraged her to withdraw. We are all co-responsible, and if you hold onto the attitude of blame, the situation will only get worse.
If you can learn how to water the seed of loyalty in her, that seed may flower again. Look deeply into the nature of your suffering so you will know what to do and what not to do to restore the relationship. Apply your mindfulness, concentration, and insight, and you will know what nourishes you and what nourishes her.
Practice the First Noble Truth, identifying your suffering; the Second Noble Truth, seeing its sources; and the Third and Fourth Noble Truths, finding ways to transform your suffering and realize peace.”
❤ Thich Nhat Hanh
‘The Heart of Buddha’s Teaching’