Is Suffering Okay?

Q: Sometimes, suffering may not be a bad thing.

A: Suffering is ‘useful’ only if it spurs one to advance to enlightenment. If not, suffering will return again and again – and one repeats suffering pointlessly – life after life.

Q: I don’t think I am ‘suffering’ too much although I have some problems. I think I am fortunate in comparison to others who suffer more.

A: We do not know what great negative karma might be in store for us – which is why it is important to advance towards enlightenment – or at least make sure we reach Pure Land, where enlightenment is guaranteed. If suffering is not a bad thing at all, the Buddha wouldn’t point it out as the First Noble Truth. In fact, suffering is the only problem we have. When we have compassion for ourselves (coupled with wisdom), we can be liberated from our suffering. When we have compassion for others, we can help liberate others from their suffering.