There Is No Suffering 89

Basic suffering comes from birth, aging, sickness and death, which are none other than samsara, the twelve links of conditioned arising. We do everything we can to survive and to find comfort and security. To this end we crave some things and avoid others. We fear death and non-existence, and we cling dearly to our ideas of identity and existence. This leads to suffering when we do not get what we want, suffering when separated from loved ones, suffering when dealing with people we dislike, and suffering from our conscious existence itself— the five skandhas.

The Cause of Suffering

The second noble truth, usually translated as ‘the cause of suffering,’ literally means ‘the accumulation of the cause of suffering.’ In particular, it refers to the ten kinds of negative karma: there of the mind, three of the body, and four of speech. 31 The opposites of the ten non-virtuous actions are the ten corresponging virtues. Whether karma is virtuous or non-virtuous, one must still experience its consequence.

Most people think only pain causes suffering; they seldom think that pleasure also causes suffering. In reality, both pain and pleasure cause suffering. Suffering can be overt—suffering that feels like suffering. But suffering can be also be subtler, existing below our conscious awareness; this is the suffering of impermanence. All good things that come into your life will eventually end; all thing that arise will perish. As you reap the benefits of past good karma, you also diminish the supply of good karma. There is no guarantee that the stockpile will last forever. Therefore, you need to continue performing good actions with good intentions to replenish your stock of good karma.