Fourth Essay

790 words - 4 pages

The question of suffering comes up much when talking about, or practicing any religion. Many ask why people suffer, and what causes suffering? The various religions try to answer these questions in their own way. Pico Iyer’s editorial, “The Value of Suffering” addresses the questions of suffering and how it is handled. This article could be compared to the Bhagavad-Gita which also addresses and explains suffering through different stories of the interactions of humans and different Gods. One can specifically look at “The Second Teaching” in the Bhagavad-Gita, which explains the interaction between a man named Arjuna and the god Krishna. In it Arjuna is suffering because he does not want to fight in a war and with people whom he should be worshiping. Krishna says to fight because the souls of the people will forever live on, and because he needs to fulfill his Dharma. With what is known about the Bhagavad-Gita and how Iyer thinks about the subject, Iyer would agree with how the Bhagavad-Gita address suffering.
In Iyer’s article he comments on how suffering is handled in different situations and he goes into different explanations on how suffering could be interpreted. One example he gave was using a Buddhist interpretation, “Wise men in every tradition tell us that suffering brings clarity, illumination; for the Buddha, suffering is the first rule of life, and insofar as some of it
arises from our own wrongheadedness — our cherishing of self — we have the cure for it within.” (Iyer 1) This quote is explaining how Buddhism looks at suffering in that it is necessary with life and that within oneself comes the cure, or realization about suffering. Then Iyer goes on to tell his stories where suffering is looked at in this way. The Bhagavad-Gita says, “...when suffering and joy are equal for him and he has courage, he is fit for immortality.” (Bhagavad-Gita 33) This implies that with the realization that the soul is everlasting therefore should be no suffering going on, because by killing someone one is just releasing the soul to the next life. These two quotes relate and agree because they both talk about suffering and how it is prevalent, but can be cured by looking at life in simpler terms, in terms of the long path rather than...

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