Lesson
4

The Reality of Suffering

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The Dalai Lama observes:

One could say that it is our experience of suffering which connects us to others. It is the basis of our capacity for empathy. Ethics for the New Millenium

How might suffering connect us with others and their needs?

While the Dalai Lama teaches that freedom from suffering is possible, we all must begin by accepting suffering as a natural fact of human existence and fearlessly facing our problems.

While observing that suffering is part of life and acknowledging our natural aversion to life's troubles, the Dalai Lama observes that people avoid recognizing the reality of suffering as a natural aspect of existence.

While you can not avoid or even lessen the sufferings of life, you can prepare yourself mentally. By reflecting on the natural occurrence of suffering all around you — the types of
 suffering that we are subject to — you are better able to confront and manage the troubles you will inevitably face.

What does "suffering" mean to you? What in your life do you identify as suffering? What about others, those close to you and all others?

In this lesson you examine suffering:

. . . this quality, or state, that we wish so strongly to be free from but which lies at the very heart of our existence. Ethics for the New Millenium