Everyone experiences suffering. Obviously, death and physical pain are forms of suffering. Yet, we also suffer from an incredible variety of emotional, mental, and spiritual afflictions. We suffer when we do not have what we want, and we suffer once we have what we want, because we are afraid of losing it. We suffer from change, both from the changes we do not want, which occur anyway, and the changes we do want, that do not occur. For us, life is a constant fluctuation of uncertainty, and suffering is a common companion.
Much of what we human beings pursue in life is but an attempt to avoid or lessen our suffering. Ultimately, however, unless we deal directly with the very causes of suffering, it will never be overcome. This is because of a simple law of nature: cause and effect. Suffering occurs because of causes—that is, specific actions that create specific results.
The fact is that suffering can be overcome, but not through materialism. No matter how wealthy or famous a person may become, they still suffer, often suffering more than those with “less.”
To change the phenomena of suffering, one must work with very fundamental forces of nature. These forces are not influenced at all by our beliefs, intentions, or hopes. They are forces in nature, and thus to work with them, one must act.
This book is about action, not theory or belief. To understand this book, you must put it into action in your daily life, living and working with the principles it presents, in order to verify through your own experience the knowledge that is being communicated. Without a continual effort to experience these teachings in one’s own life, this knowledge will remain as nothing more than ephemeral phantoms in the intellect, which can render no service for the betterment of your soul. Yet, for those who make moment to moment effort to consciously transform their experience of life, many new doors will open to them. They learn from experience that suffering can be exchanged for happiness and genuine contentment.
“A wise person is one who, having accurately analyzed all actions of body, speech, and mind, always acts for the benefit of self and others.” —Nagarjuna, Precious Garland