There is tremendous
suffering in the world, but since nothing comes
from nothing—that is, everything has causes—it
cannot be accidental.
of our suffering is man-made—either by
others or by ourselves—and so is avoidable.
It is not because we are inherently bad or sinful
(as some religions claim), that we cause suffering
to others, and ultimately to ourselves, but
because we lack understanding of how we live
in dependence upon others, and how we cannot
live otherwise. And why do we not understand
this? Largely because we are not educated properly;
and, lacking such understanding, we are like
a man who sits astride the bough of a tree and
begins to saw through it between himself and
the trunk: when the bough falls, he also falls
with it. Could he be called ‘sinful’,
or merely ‘stupid’?
not surprising that there is so much suffering
when there is so much of its cause. Where there
are causes, there will be effects; to prevent
the effects, the causes must be avoided. Knowing
the causes is the first step of doing this.
Those who have ever removed weeds from a garden
will know that to prevent them from growing
back again, the roots must be pulled up; merely
to cut them off above ground would leave them
to spring up again within the next few days;
such is the resilience of weeds.