Suffering and Dharma

The days before,
Damp with melancholy.

I know it is unnecessary to be able to describe all the thoughts and emotions that come and go, but in this moment I wish I could. If I could interprete how I feel, then perhaps I can lean into what I need to resolve this.

Maybe tonight, I won’t begin to try.
Maybe tonight, I will tell you tales of the Buddhist teachings.

You see, Buddhism is much more than instagram worthy quotes and porcelain statues to convey calm. For myself, and millions other, Buddhism is refuge from the storm. An odd refuge, as I am located in Northern Canada where the nearest Gompa is an est 4.5 hour drive, but fuck it. I’m really not too concerned about what others think of me. What I am concerned about is navigating this life in a way I can manage the raw pain that houses in my heart.

In the days where black is painted from skyline to ground, and the events in life “Is this it? Is this emptiness and pain all there is? What’s the point of living this life if this is the experience of living?” Buddhism brings me back. In it’s foundation of teachings, Buddhism dares to answer the questions of the darkest nights, Buddhism gives me both the anchor and the path to experience this human life.

“Your true nature is to be peaceful and joyful,” I recall fondly, cheerful words from a man in his late sixties with tibetan descent and patchy english skills.

“Is this emptiness and pain all there is?” – Life is suffering. To live is to experience suffering. To minimize your suffering, do the innerwork in exploring resolution to the causes of your suffering.

But it’s just not all about suffering.
The first of the Four Noble Truths that set the foundation for Buddhism:
Life is Dukkha.
Dukkha= a word originating from Pali, a middle Indo-Aryan language used in the 5th to 1st century BCE. The truth is that Pali is a difficult language to translate into english, as we lack the words to equate their original meaning. But words like “suffering, pain, discomfort, dissatisfaction” are most similar and will be used interchangeably in translations of the Four Noble Truths.

To live, is to experience suffering.
To live, is to experience the darkness.

So my dear friends,
If you are experiencing suffering, let your struggle soften.
This means you are alive and walking the path of a human being.
Please remember, you are doing the best you can, given all circumstances,

Also remember,
The suffering you experience may be gifted to you by life experiences,
Or it may be the result of an untamed mind.
If you experience suffering of any kind,
Be bold enough to search for the cure.


Memoirs of 2016:
His pale blue eyes held the attention of the room, while the color of his robe captured my respect.
“Your medicine is your poison,” he said with monotone timbre that commanded power, causing a silent room to go even quieter.
“You will find your salvation through your suffering. This is the way.”
My western ears absorbing the words, while my mind struggled to interpret this into my life. I allowed my mind to soften; It is ok if I may not understand what this means, but I had foreshadowing trust that in in time I will. 

One thought on “Suffering and Dharma

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  1. It’s definitely easy to become nihilistic from the first truth. But the other three are a beautiful love story in response. Like the bad taste of medicine, or how the hardest things are the most worth it.


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