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Featured Is Suffering Spiritually Beneficial?

Discussion in 'General Religious Debates' started by Sunstone, Sep 5, 2016.

  1. Sunstone

    Sunstone De Diablo Del Fora
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    Is suffering spiritually beneficial? If so, precisely how does it spiritually benefit someone to suffer? If not, then why not?



    I myself would argue that suffering provides few or no spiritual benefits.

    To me, a person's spirituality consists of the manner and extent to which they deal with their psychological self. That is, their "I", ego, or individual self. The more spiritually adept or skillful one is, the better they are at dealing with their psychological self,

    One might therefore ask whether suffering makes it easier to skilfully deal with one's self.

    I believe that anyone who experiences suffering, and keeps an open and observant mind about it, can easily note that suffering focuses them on themselves, and is thus self or ego-aggrandizing.

    And if those people are lucky enough to have experienced at some time in their lives a certain kind of love, then they can further note that suffering does not teach them anything that can be called truly profound in comparison to what that love has taught them. In short, there are few or no spiritual benefits to suffering.

    At least, that's how I see it based on my own experience.
     
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  2. lovesong

    lovesong .little necromancer. .shaman in training.
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    I don't see the spiritual benefits to suffering either. There are only two cases which, to me, seem like they could produce some spiritual benefit. The first would be suffering in a form that challenges your faith. I say this because being able to face challenge without loosing faith will only strengthen it. Being faced with challenge makes us think deeply about what we believe and why, and having to think it through reinstates it in us and reassures us that we are on the right path. The other kind of suffering that I see to be beneficial is the suffering that comes from the fatigue built up after long periods of study or practice. As with any skill or discipline of learning, the more we practice or study, the more skilled and knowledgable we become. Becoming strong in faith requires this active practice in one way or another. I know these two types are not true, or at least not intense, suffering, but I feel that they are really the only way that suffering can bring up spiritual gain.
     
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  3. YmirGF

    YmirGF Bodhisattva

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    The only way suffering can be beneficial is if it teaches you that you do not have to suffer.
     
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  4. bobhikes

    bobhikes infinitologist
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    How I suffer.

    I have a bad knee, it needs to be replaced the doctors have told me to hold off until I can no longer bear the pain. They don't like replacing knee's before 60 I am 51.
    I suffer for my kids. I want them to be well adjusted and prepared for life better than I was. At times this cause me suffering as in lack of sleep or not being able to do something I really want.
    I suffer for my sanity rather than argue with my wife over every disagreement. I suffer over the small ones and only challenge her on the big ones.

    I am told with my knee, today's suffering will benefit me in the future. I believe my suffering for my kids will benefit there future. Suffering in my marriage allows benefits with my wife. If you can not suffer in this life I don't believe you can get very far.
     
  5. Hammerheart

    Hammerheart Well-Known Member

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    Suffering is physically beneficial. I read in someone's signature here a great quote: "The path of most resistance is the path of the most growth". That sums it up well. I don't think that one directly benefits spiritually through suffering, but suffering can teach people things, and pain is also a motivational factor.
     
  6. Nowhere Man

    Nowhere Man Bompu Zen Man with a little bit of Bushido.

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    Suffering is conditional and a reality. I suppose how it's dealt with can reflect a person's outlook and direction in terms of spirituality.

    I tend to think of suffering through implication, such as idealised invented notions like that of sin for instance. I don't see any benefit derived from that kind of spirituality. In fact, It's more detrimental for no good reason.

    On the other hand, there is a type of practical spirituality like respect for nature and the environment that can prove beneficial in cases where one is proactive in seeing and enjoying the benefits in a direct and tangible way.

    I guess it depends on how spirituality is approached and defined as to the impact spirituality has on a person.
     
  7. DawudTalut

    DawudTalut Peace be upon you.

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    Peace be on all.
    1=IMO, if suffering puts one on true track it is beneficial otherwise it is useless hurting.
    2=These days, there are many problems to humanity in various places, media reports it and many viewers / readers feel pain. It is a suffering for the sake of others...... Many pray for sufferers, some perhaps take any possible action like writing to proper authorities to help stop these atrocities. Some on political levels discuss with others too.
    3="necessity is the mother of invention" ...... so sort of suffering helps invent solutions!
     
  8. Madhuri

    Madhuri RF Goddess
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    I think that suffering has important purpose in self development and maturity, to realisations and wisdom. These are important for spiritual growth as well, so yes it has a role in spiritual development.
     
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  9. Kartari

    Kartari Active Member

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    Hi Sunstone,

    I think that it depends on the form of suffering. Some forms of suffering are self-caused, and when challenged by the repercussions of our misguided mindset, we have opportunities to see them realistically and grow beyond our self-imposed limitations. A young adult, when faced with the prospect of starting a full-time career, will likely suffer but can grow and mature from the experience. The maturity that comes with the experience of succeeding at being financially independent from your parents is a very healthy and necessary growing phase. Another example is birth, a painful but necessary experience for both mother and child, yet one which brings opportunity for maturity for the mother and life itself for the child.

    Some forms of suffering are simply sheer torment, however. A mother who loses their child to childhood leukemia for instance, or the child who dies a slow and horrible death. What is there to learn from this cruelty? A very strong mother could rise above her personal grief to found a support group for grieving mothers, or to raise funds for childhood cancer research. But there's nothing beneficial to such a tragic event. Only the recognition that life can be incredibly cruel, and at best, that we can take the most brutal of punches in life and somehow survive and seek to help others cope, or to try and help solve the problems for others in the future.
     
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  10. Rick O'Shez

    Rick O'Shez Irishman bouncing off walls

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    I think understanding why we suffer is beneficial. Beyond that suffering is just, well, unpleasant.
     
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  11. HarihOm

    HarihOm Member

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    Namaste,

    Most commonly people are aware of the Buddhas teaching of suffering, which is not really a very good word for Dukkha, I think unsatisfactory is closer to the universal principle of Dukkha. If we understand Dukkha then we are free from it, this requires Samatha~Calm State of Mind and Vipassana~ Insight into the nature of phenomena. You cant avoid suffering, but you can understand it and not be effected by it, Dukkha is our teacher.
     
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  12. Zigzangle

    Zigzangle Member

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    There is nothing good about suffering, and those that impose it on themselves as part of a religious practice need psychiatric help, imo.
     
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  13. HarihOm

    HarihOm Member

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    Hello Zigzangle.

    I agree religious imposed or any type of imposed suffering is not good, although its not just restricted to religion. One could say if one has a mortage its imposed suffering, the root of the word is quite interesting to research.

    How beings on this planet experience pain and misery is very complex, perhaps dealing with one cause at a time is better. Death brings suffering, ageing brings suffering, disease brings suffering, all of these are a product of being born so therefore birth is also suffering, the right word is Dukkha which as said is sometimes better translated as unsatisfactory. One does not need to be religious or irreligious to experience birth, old age, disease and death, if they dont cause an individual person discomfort then it will perhaps cause another discomfort.

    Also another question to be raised is the opposite, can we create utopia, is it possible, is the spiritual state a utopia.
     
  14. Rick O'Shez

    Rick O'Shez Irishman bouncing off walls

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    I saw this lot the other day. :p

     
  15. HarihOm

    HarihOm Member

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    Namaste

    How does one define spiritually beneficial. Are we looking for the world to have no suffering , we stop suffering altogether before one can get so called spiritual benefits ?

    I dont think the wisdom traditions say that suffering should be abandoned, that would weaken ones resolve at the very first sign of pain or conflict. I consider that the wise in what ever form or shape they choose to appear will agree that suffering needs to be understood, it all boils down to this only, by full and clear understanding of Dukkha and its cause and effect then one can firmly transcend it, even while embodied.
     
  16. Sunstone

    Sunstone De Diablo Del Fora
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    I suspect we're operating from two very different notions of spirituality. Which is cool, but it should be noted.
     
  17. Sunstone

    Sunstone De Diablo Del Fora
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    From what I can recall of other conversations with you, we have very different notions of "spirituality". There's nothing wrong with that, of course, but in order for me to better understand where you're coming from, would you offer an example of suffering leading to self-development? And then explain how that benefits one spiritually?
     
  18. Sunstone

    Sunstone De Diablo Del Fora
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    And this has to do with the spiritual benefits of suffering...how? I'm not following you.
     
  19. Sunstone

    Sunstone De Diablo Del Fora
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    How would you define "spirituality"? I ask because I do not doubt that suffering may have benefits, I only doubt that it has many spiritual benefits.
     
  20. Sunstone

    Sunstone De Diablo Del Fora
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    I'm using the implied definition of spiritually beneficial that can be found in the OP. How would you define "spiritually beneficial"?

    Welcome to the Forum!
     
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