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Posts Tagged ‘Joseph Campbell’

Why Do We Suffer? ~ “No pain, no gain.”

“A disciplined mind leads to happiness, and an undisciplined mind leads to suffering.”
~ Dalai Lama, The Art of Happiness
“In Buddhism, ignorance as the root cause of suffering refers to a fundamental misperception of the true nature of the self and all phenomena.”
~ Dalai Lama
“We must recognize that the suffering of one person or one nation is the suffering of humanity.”
~ Dalai Lama
“All the misery on the planet arises due to a personalized sense of “me” or “us.” That covers up the essence of who you are. When you are unaware of that inner essence, in the end you always create misery. It’s as simple as that. When you don’t know who you are, you create a mind-made self as a substitute for your beautiful divine being and cling to that fearful and needy self. Protecting and enhancing that false sense of self then becomes your primary motivating force.”
~ Eckhart Tolle
Pain is inevitable, but suffering is optional.
~ Buddhist saying
“Pain is a relatively objective, physical phenomenon;
suffering is our psychological resistance to what happens.
Events may create physical pain, but they do not in themselves create suffering. Resistance creates suffering. Stress happens when your mind resists what is…
The only problem in your life is your mind’s resistance to life as it unfolds.”
~ Dan Millman
Q. “How Can We End Suffering?
A. Be a Buddha, be a Tara;
Say sayonara to samsara.”
~ Ron Rattner, Sutra Sayings
“In the school of life we suffer
to learn compassion for those who suffer.”
~ Ron Rattner, Sutra Sayings

“Every action, every thought, reaps its own corresponding rewards. Human suffering is not a sign of God’s, or Nature’s, anger with mankind. It is a sign, rather, of man’s ignorance of divine law. . . .
Such is the law of karma: As you sow, so shall you reap. If you sow evil, you will reap evil in the form of suffering. And if you sow goodness, you will reap goodness in the form of inner joy.”
~ Paramhansa Yogananda
“You may die a hundred deaths without a break in the mental turmoil. Or, you may keep your body and die only in the mind. The death of the mind is the birth of wisdom.”
~ Sri Nisargadatta Maharaj
“All formations are ‘transient’ (anicca); all formations are ‘subject to suffering’ (dukkha); all things are ‘without a self’ (anatt ). Corporeality is transient, feeling is transient, perception is transient, mental formations are transient, consciousness is transient. And that which is transient, is subject to suffering. ”
~ Buddha
“People have a hard time letting go of their suffering.
Out of a fear of the unknown, they prefer suffering that is familiar.”
~ Thich Nhat Hanh
“Suffering is not holding you. You are holding suffering.
When you become good at the art of letting sufferings go,
then you’ll come to realize how unnecessary it was
for you to drag those burdens around with you.
You’ll see that no one else other than you was responsible.
The truth is that existence wants your life to become a festival.”
~ Osho
“Although the world is full of suffering, it is full also of the overcoming of it.”
~ Helen Keller
“Out of suffering have emerged the strongest souls;
the most massive characters are seared with scars.”

~ Khalil Gibran
“[I]f the mind is attentive and does not move away from suffering at all, then you will see that out of total attention comes not only energy…but also that suffering comes to an end.”
“…when you suffer, psychologically, remain with it completely without a single movement of thought… Out of that suffering comes compassion.”
~ J. Krishnamurti
“When you are suffering, when you are unhappy, stay totally with what is now.
Unhappiness or problems cannot survive in the Now.”
~ Eckhart Tolle
”As you would not like to change something very beautiful: the light of the setting sun, the shape of a tree in the field, so do not put obstacles in the way of suffering. Allow it to ripen, for with its flowering understanding comes. When you become aware of the wound of sorrow, without the reaction of acceptance, resignation or negation, without any artificial invitation, then suffering itself lights the flame of creative understanding.”
~ J. Krishnamurti
“It is the truth that sets you free and not your effort to be free.
Suffering is but intense clarity of thoughts and feelings which makes you see things as they are.”
“I maintain that truth is a pathless land,
and you cannot approach it by any path whatsoever,
by any religion, by any sect.”
~ J. Krishnamurti


Shakyamuni_Buddha.


Why Do We Suffer?

Q. The Buddha taught that human life entails unavoidable suffering (duhkha), but that we can be freed from suffering. Why do we suffer, and how can we be freed from suffering?

A. We suffer from ignorance (avidyâ) of our of our true self-identity and ‘reality’, and from our consequent unskillful thoughts, words and deeds, which are subject to law of karma. Suffering ends when ignorance ends; ignorance ends gradually with experiential Self knowledge that we are Infinite Potentiality beyond conception, rather than merely mortal and limited persons.

Various spiritual traditions propose different paths or methods for attaining such Self knowledge. They can only point to this spiritual goal, but not bestow it.

Each person is unique, with a unique perspective and unique karmic history causing psychological suffering. An often recommended method to end such suffering is perseverant introspection for mindfully identifying, realizing and transcending our unskillful tendencies.  Such attention and realization can ultimately free us from psychological suffering.


Ron’s Commentary on Why Do We Suffer ~ “No pain, no gain.”

Dear Friends,

Many years ago, as I was being treated for painful left leg injuries by Taoist master and Doctor of Chinese Medicine Sifu Wei Tsuei, I had an unforgettable experience.

During an acupuncture treatment, Sifu suddenly inserted a large metal needle into my left buttock, and I loudly exclaimed in pain, “OUCH!”. Whereupon Sifu responded,


“No pain, no gain!”


Then he quietly continued his treatment, which proved quite helpful.

Since then I have often reflected on the wisdom of Sifu’s words, “No pain, no gain”, and learned they are a popular proverb. With human bodies we experience inevitable physical pain, which can be a crucial catalyst and incentive for spiritual evolution. As stated by another popular Buddhist proverb: 
“Pain is inevitable, but suffering is optional”.

Though we may not be free to choose our sometimes painful outer circumstances in life, we are always free to choose our psychological attitude about those circumstances.

Thus every painful earth life experience which induces an elevated attitude can be a disguised blessing furthering our spiritual evolution, and our ultimate transcendence of psychological suffering. And, the greater such suffering, the greater its potential blessing.

The foregoing important quotations and brief essay help explain why we suffer and how we can transcend psychological suffering. They are spiritual teachings which can help us suffer less, and live ever happier lives. So I urge our deep reflection on them.

Moreover, as mindfully we experience ever less suffering and ever more happiness, it becomes possible for some of us to realize that everything in human life is an enormous blessing. For example, renowned master mythologist, author and teacher Joseph Campbell taught that

“Nothing can happen to you that is not positive. Even though it looks and feels at the moment like a negative crisis, it is not. The crisis throws you back, and when you are required to exhibit strength, it comes.”
~ Joseph Campbell


Conclusion.

May our growing experiential wisdom, often inspired by mindful suffering, help us – like Joseph Campbell – to ever,

Remember with gratitude,
life is beatitude,

even its sorrows and pain;

For we’re all in God’s Grace,

every time, every place,

and

Forever (S)HE will reign!


And so shall it be!

Ron Rattner

“Channeling” for Joseph Campbell – Ron’s Memoirs

“The goal of life is to make your heartbeat match the beat of the universe,
 to match your nature with Nature.”
~ Joseph Campbell
“Follow your bliss and the universe will open doors where there were only walls.”
~ Joseph Campbell
“God is a metaphor for that which transcends all levels of intellectual thought.
It’s as simple as that.”
~ Joseph Campbell
“Opportunities to find deeper powers within ourselves come when life seems most challenging.”
~ Joseph Campbell


Dr. Joseph Campbell + Ron Rattner - 10/8/83 - Courtesy CIIS Archives

Dr. Joseph Campbell with Ron Rattner, 10/8/83 –
Courtesy of California Institute of Integral Studies archives

 

During the 1980’s I was Chairman of Board of Trustees of the California Institute of Integral Studies (CIIS), an accredited graduate school giving degrees in areas of psychology, philosophy, comparative religion, and related disciplines. In that capacity, I was occasionally obliged to give commencement talks and to bestow honorary degrees. In October, 1983, I was told on short notice that I would be awarding to Dr. Joseph Campbell an honorary degree of Doctor of Philosophy and Religion, and that I should prepare an appropriate presentation talk. I was told that two other speakers would be discussing Dr. Campbell’s impressive academic accomplishments, but was not told the order of speakers. I had never met Dr. Campbell. And since by that time he was very famous (especially after Bill Moyers’ PBS interviews), I was in a quandary about how much or what I should say.

A couple of days before the event, I was walking along the beach toward the Golden Gate bridge, when synchronistically an “inner voice” told me to write down some words for Campbell, and I obliged. On three little paper scraps, I wrote five sentences that were ‘dictated’ by the inner voice. (*I saved the scraps – copy linked below.)

The presentation took place in San Francisco on October 8, 1983 at the Palace of Fine Arts theater adjoining the Exploratorium. Campbell and I and the other speakers filed on stage wearing traditional black cap and gown attire, and we sat down. I was seated next to Dr. Campbell, on his right. The program provided for my presentation to follow introductory talks by two other school officials – Dean Ralph Metzner and Chairman Emeritus Michael Toms – who were lavishing profuse praise on Campbell. During the second talk, which sounded to me like a long, living eulogy, I suddenly and spontaneously put my left hand on Campbell’s right knee and without thinking whispered, “Don’t let this go to your head.”

Finally, with paper scraps in hand, I made the presentation, uttering the following five sentences which had been given to me on the beach:

“Dr. Joseph Campbell, the Board of Trustees of the California Institute of Integral Studies is privileged and pleased to bestow on you the honorary degree of Doctor of Philosophy and Religion.
“We acknowledge thereby your mastery of these disciplines through your studies of myths and symbols.
Like masters of other disciplines you have realized the Source common to all disciplines – to all wisdom.
A Source which integrates and unifies this creation, which is diverse in appearance but the same in essence.
“So in presenting this degree to you, we honor symbolically that Source – within you and within each of us.”

Thereupon, Dr. Campbell humbly accepted the new honor.

After the program, a very intuitive PhD student with whom I was friendly, approached me and asked: “Ron, was your talk ‘channeled’?”   After a moment’s hesitation, I replied “yes”.

From then on I began receiving more and more inner ‘dictation’ of spiritual thoughts, aphorisms and poetry. Even now my “inner voice” is assisting with these memoirs.

*Ron’s notes and brochure from Joseph Campbell event, 10/8/83