Pain, suffering and Craving



In a word there is suffering, named by Buddha as the First Noble Truth of human existence. This is not the whole of life.

There are also love and joy, laughing with friends, and the comfort of a warm sweater on a cold day.

Yet each of us must face the truth of suffering some of the time, and many of us face it all the time.

Poignantly, much of our suffering is added to life. We add it when we worry needlessly, criticize ourselves to no good purpose, or replay the same conversation over and over again.

We add it when we freeeze up around an authority figure or feel ashamed of some minor fault.

Life has unavoidable physical and emotional pains, and then we add suffering to them: thus the saying “Pain is inevitable, suffering is optional. 

For example we get embarrassed about having an illness or drink to much to numb old wounds.

This add-on suffering is not accidental. It has a source: “craving,” the sense of something missing, something wrong, something we must get.

From Neurodharma by Rick Hanson



2 responses to this post.

  1. Wise words Marty. It’s very much an attitude of acceptance about what has already happened. The moment we start complaining ‘why me?’ or blaming others we only make it worse for ourselves. Thanks for sharing 🙏

  2. Why me is a formula for suffering. I have used those words recently

    I have also let those words go and surrendered to the fear.

    Life is not easy

    I suffer when I judge

    I have a chance if I observe and let go


    When we think we are missing something, happiness is also missing

    That thing we crave contains no happiness

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