Buddhism Redefined: Suffering is inevitable. Pain is optional…

Or so I say. Read carefully. That’s not the famous quote, of course, and in fact, it is almost a refutation of the original quote, which goes something like: “Pain is inevitable, suffering is optional”—but not quite, a refutation, that is. Because anything worth saying is certainly not worth refuting, even if it is almost the opposite of what is being asserted. And what is being asserted, in most cases of this quote, is that this is a quote from the Buddha, which it is almost certainly not. But this illustrates how fervently Americans want Buddhism to agree with Western psychology, if not religion.

And as proof of the falsity I send you to the well-known and superlative website Fake Buddha Quotes, which goes into the origin at some depth and with much commentary. Here’s a hint: It also likely predates the usual retort that it is from Haruki Murakami, and may even derive from the Alcoholics Anonymous 12-step playbook, which is apparently full of such zingers, even the one about “drinking poison and expecting the other person to get sick,” haha. Hey, it’s not easy coming up with pithy quotes every day! Just ask any self-styled guru on any FB self-help group.

But the expert is also of the opinion that it is ‘congruent’ with Buddhism, which is probably a vague enough way to phrase it, in form and substance, given its geometry connection, that he may very well be right, somehow some way, as long as he is not explicitly saying that it is foundational to Buddhism. Regardless, I would be of much less the same opinion, and categorically assert that my reversal of the quote is much closer to the foundations of Buddhism, in which the Buddha categorically asserts that suffering exists, no mention of options, unless you want to jump to the conclusion that removal of the causes is a viable option.

Which is true, if you have the training of an arahant or Bodhisattva, which very few of us do, even on a good day. So I would assert that my reversal of the famous quote is more correct than the original, from a Buddhist perspective, which it may or may not ultimately be, but that’s my take. So in this thought experiment, suffering is something of a dimension, our dimension, of primarily mechanical waves, not light, which appears to us as an overwhelming force, or a higher dimension, and gravity, another force, or a lower dimension, same thing (let’s leave the strong and weak quantum ‘forces’ for another day).

Then there are the causes of this suffering, whether it is truly a dimension of not. The four Noble Truths explicitly state that craving is cause, but it DOES NOT state that it is THE (one and only) cause, and this is a common misconception of Buddhism, especially among argumentative American Buddhists, which says as much about Americans as it does about Buddhists, and brings us back to the reasons that we’re having this thought experiment in the first place, i.e. Westerners like to argue fine points, not to sharpen the cutting edge, necessarily, but to wield it widely. Note: Sanskrit has no definite articles in its grammar.

Finally I think the important point is that pain, indeed, is optional. Indeed we know that drugs exist to alleviate pain, and can do so quite effectively, so there’s that. But there’s also the fact that dimensional suffering doesn’t necessarily have much to do with pain at all in the first place. It’s almost more like a passive grammatical voice in which we are objects of a preposition, or proposition, and not true subject. And that may speak volumes. Buddhist suffering is like suffering for your art or you child. It doesn’t have to hurt. And it requires practice, faith, and joy…

Source: https://fakebuddhaquotes.com/pain-is-inevitable-suffering-is-optional/