What is The Cause of Suffering? Understanding The Three Woes of Suffering

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In Buddhism, we are always made aware that experiencing suffering is unavoidable as long as we are living in this world of illusion. However, many people are not fully aware of the root cause of suffering in their life.

This article aims to highlight the three causes of suffering that are the main woes causing us to continue creating unnecessary conflict, tension and problems in life, which in turn leads us to suffer from our own actions.

The Start of The Three Woes’ Existence

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The moment we are born into this world, our six consciousness are naturally activated with a brain and the five senses of desires. Throughout the years of growing up to become adults, we gradually build up our strong attachment to sight, smell, taste, hearing, touch sensation and the perception of our mental thought.

Slowly but surely, our six consciousness lead to constant attachments of pleasure in touch, the wonderful world of music hearing, delicious tasting, the sight of beautiful things and the sense of smell. We will then engage ourselves with all these leisurely human activities, celebrations and festivals to the point we are eternally attached to this world of sorrow and woe.

Understandably, in the world of humans living on this illusionary earth, we are bound to possess a very strong attachment to our earthly activities, it is this strong attachment that is our constant source of human suffering and woe.

But what comes before attachment? The basal cause of our human woe is craving. This craving, also known as tanha, will then lead us to eternal attachment.

The attachment will then lead us to the impermanent way of living. What does an impermanent way of living means? When impermanence sets in, we could suddenly witness the loss of properties, financial instability and the expiry of human lives. This is the common sight of human woes on this earth.

Also read: What Is Repentance?

Greed As The Developing Factor Towards Attachment

Photo of a man being greedy - What is The Cause of Suffering Understanding The Three Woes of Suffering - Poh Ern Si Penang

All these human woes come from the gradual development of greed. When one’s attachment is too strong, the feeling of wants is aggravating the desire, thus arousing greed to set in to appease one’s desire.

Our human nature is always pure and white but unfortunately due to all kinds of wrong exposures and illicit experiences, one has possessed the wrong knowledge and incorrect view of this human world of illusion. Then one’s view is distorted and one will begin to believe it necessary to satisfy one’s desire with greed in place. When greed has imminently set in, then our journey of mental agony and woes becomes the order of the day.

Also read: 5 Things You Can Do To Improve Your Life

With greed’s presence, this will also naturally arouse jealousy, ill will and hatred due to our deprivation of what others have in possession. Sometimes, this greed is also created when we have seen too many shows of artificial luxurious living as well as any material promoting a comfortable living. All these things only serve to encourage people to live beyond their means, leading to the unmistakable beginning of our human woes.

Overcoming Our Human Woes and Suffering

good parenting is important - What is The Cause of Suffering Understanding The Three Woes of Suffering - Poh Ern Si Penang

The truth is, we do not need the best living conditions or luxurious apartments or bungalow accommodations to satisfy our human needs, or luxurious items for that matter. Many people have the notion that only rich and wealthy people could live more comfortably and happily, when in fact, it is our good foundation of brought up that will land us with a more stable mind and healthy living towards the peace, happiness and comfort we are seeking in life.

Our good foundation of brought up comes from good parenting. Good parenting will then initiate good discipline, respect and obedience and more importantly, it is key to nurturing self-reliance, self-development, self values and self perseverance.

All these golden traits of our character will uplift our strong values of contentment and self-satisfying behaviour. With these golden traits around, we will then achieve the proper steps in overcoming all our human woes.

Final Thoughts on The Three Causes of Suffering

All these human woes never existed naturally nor are they present all these while; humans are the ones who create these earthly woes through their own actions. As long as we are always living in simplicity, exercising moderation in everything we want and lastly being always humble in anything we do, we will never feed the flames of Greed, Hatred and Ignorance.

It is only our sense of insecurity, inferiority and self-centred attitude that actually lead us to seek more materialistic wants in life. These are the main cause of creating Greed, Hatred and Ignorance within us. We should always remind ourselves that it is not what wants is short in expectations but that we should be satisfied with what one has in life that will ultimately overcome all the three main woes of our human world.

Remembering that life is always uncertain and impermanent by nature, we should always avoid indulging in all unnecessary world affairs of attachment except our frugal needs. Our human needs are arbitrary; the more one wants, the more yearnings for the illusionary needs, and the less one is satisfied. It goes without saying that once one is happy with what one has and feels satisfied without other extra needs, then one is feeling more contented and blissful of his subsistence living.

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