Suffering and love

Do we need to suffer to love?
Australia
June 27, 2017 9:32pm CST
"The more one suffers, the more one helps. The purer the suffering, the greater is the gain." Mohandas (Mahatma) Gandhi, (1869 to 1948), the great Indian leader, and social activist, said this. Now, if this great man wasn't the one to have said this, I might think to myself that this type of a statement might seem to be more the crying tears of a sufferer to justify his own suffering. Am I right, or is he right here about suffering? Can we gain from purer suffering, as he claims here? What is purer suffering anyway? Suffering lives within love, as do all things, and the purer it lives, the closer it is to love, and yet if you own the state of suffering too much, even this, in the end, will move you further away from love itself, as you think that you gain from the suffering, whereas really all gain is only ever made from love. In other words, we can even become attached to suffering, but his "purer" suffering, is probably meant to be a form of suffering that we try and remain detached from, because we can see the gains to be made, in the end, from us taking this particular route through love. What do you think Gandhi meant here by "purer" suffering?
5 people like this
6 responses
• United States
28 Jun
Suffering through stuff ourselves nurtures the empathy within us to understand better, someone else's suffering and could be helpful . . .
4 people like this
• Australia
29 Jun
Yes, suffering can nurture empathy. I think you are right there. Suffering can build empathy in someone when they haven't got it because of their pride, but if someone is already a deeply loving person, it is true, I think, that no-one can love deeply, without them having empathy too.
@josie_ (4350)
• Philippines
28 Jun
If it is not the act of suffering but a detachment from it that brings us closer to our "higher purpose" in life, could I not indulge in the "sins" of pleasure but making sure of not being attach to it also bring the same result? Gandhi may have use non-violence but he was an Indian nationalist and anti-British. Both he and Churchill detested each other.
3 people like this
• Australia
28 Jun
Can we be evil in a detached way like this, and achieve good, from doing so, like some of the Jewish teaching tales sometimes infer that we can? If we are a robber, we should really be that robber wholeheartedly, rather than clandestinely, they say. Righteousness is never riotousness. No, the evil act, willingly followed, can never lead to good, but the good act, evilly followed, will not either. The only act that benefits one is the one where the heart of love is behind it, and not the mind of anything, including lust, detachment, or anything else, at all. It is all about intent then I think. Here is a link to a Jewish tale about the Pious Thief, a paradox of words, if ever there was one.
“It is revealed to me from the heavens that the only profession in which you can succeed is thievery.”
• Australia
28 Jun
The greed for gain never brings gain, no matter what you want to gain, be it wanting to find your "higher" purpose, or anything else besides. Unconditional love acts without it wanting to gain anything from it so doing. It simply shines onto all, like the sun. It is our own fault, if we come too close to the sun, and get burnt, before we have built, the wisdom, of knowing how best to approach it. The way to our higher purpose can not be achieved, whilst we want something for our lower self, from our doing so.
• Australia
28 Jun
@innertalks It all becomes a matter of awareness, as this story shows: The Thief There was one great master, a Buddhist master, Nagarjuna. A thief came to him. The thief had fallen in love with the master because he had never seen such a beautiful person, such infinite grace. The thief asked Nagarjuna, “Is there some possibility of my growth also? But one thing I must make clear to you: I am a thief. And another thing: I cannot leave it, so please don’t make it a condition. I will do whatsoever you say, but I cannot stop being a thief. That I have tried many times–it never works, so I have left the whole sport. I have accepted my destiny, that I am going to be a thief and remain a thief, so don’t talk about it. From the very beginning let it be clear.” Nagarjuna said, “Why are you afraid? Who is going to talk about your being a thief?” The thief said, “But whenever I go to a monk, to a religious priest, or to a religious saint, they always say, ‘First stop stealing.'” Nagarjuna laughed and said, “Then you must have gone to thieves; otherwise, why? Why should they be concerned? I am not concerned!” The thief was very happy. He said, “Then it is okay. It seems that now I can become a disciple. You are the right master.” Nagarjuna accepted him and said, “Now you can go and do whatsoever you like. Only one condition has to be followed: be aware! Go, break into houses, enter, take things, steal; do whatsoever you like, that is of no concern to me, I am not a thief–but do it with full awareness.” The thief couldn’t understand that he was falling into the trap. He said, “Then everything is okay. I will try.” After three weeks he came back and said, “You are tricky–because if I become aware, I cannot steal. If I steal, awareness disappears. I am in a fix.” Nagarjuna said, “No more talk about your being a thief and stealing. I am not concerned; I am not a thief. Now, you decide! If you want awareness, then you decide. If you don’t want it, then too you decide.” The man said, “But now it is difficult. I have tasted it a little, and it is so beautiful–I will leave anything, whatsoever you say. Just the other night for the first time I was able to enter the palace of the king. I opened the treasure. I could have become the richest man in the world–but you were following me and I had to be aware. When I became aware, diamonds looked just like stones, ordinary stones. When I lost awareness, the treasure was there. And I waited and did this many times. I would become aware and I became like a buddha, and I could not even touch it because the whole thing looked foolish, stupid–just stones, what am I doing? Losing myself over stones? But then I would lose awareness; they would become again beautiful, the whole illusion. But finally, I decided that they were not worth it.” From Awareness: The Key to Living in Balance by Osho.
2 people like this
@jstory07 (57692)
• Roseburg, Oregon
28 Jun
A pure suffer suffers al ot and made it through.
3 people like this
• Australia
28 Jun
Yes, Gandhi did suffer a lot in his life I think. "Truth is everybody is going to hurt you: you just gotta find the ones worth suffering for." Bob Marley, the short-lived Jamaican singer, (1945 to 1981) said this. He is sort of saying then that we should be selective about who we "suffer" for. Perhaps, this might work for some people, practically speaking, but I figure God would want us to love all, with the same love, not selectively so, and I reckon, this should also apply to our suffering, that is, if we could reach this ideal height of unconditional loving, too, of which this "purer" suffering would seem to be a part of too.
@Shiva49 (8776)
• Singapore
29 Jun
There are many types of suffering - physical distress, mental and emotional. The Buddha said "the root of suffering is attachment". I think what Gandhi told reflects Asian philosophy. I get some pleasure in suffering as then I feel I know myself more, I test my resilience and character then and feel more confident that I am made of sterner stuff than I believed before. When we have a tough childhood, we have it easy later. It is like when we forgo breakfast we enjoy lunch more! That could be the underlying meaning in what Gandhi meant - suffering is part and parcel of life and it is up to us to learn and reassure ourselves that we are well on our way looking ahead with confidence. See video of yesterday - siva
Simon Smith was knocked to the ground but amazingly suffered only minor injuries.
2 people like this
• Australia
30 Jun
I wonder what is really going on here then? Where is the compassion here, the love, and the empathy for our fellow man, even as Jesus Christ once advocated, in his parable of the good Samaritan. Anything that leads people away from each other becomes a sin against love, and against God. Nothing should stop you from connecting to your fellow man, and this is why Jesus emphasised forgiveness of others, and to forgive, even before we prayed to God. It is up to us to make the decision to forgive, and without this decision being made first, our prayers are hamstrung by this load in our heart, stopping it opening up fully to God and his love, even as God himself knows this too, so this is why Jesus asked us to try and to forgive first, before we even pray to God.
The Parable of the Good Samaritan - On one occasion an expert in the law stood up to test Jesus. “Teacher,” he asked, “what must I do to inherit eternal life?” “What is written in the Law?” he replied. “How do you read it?” He answered, “‘Love the Lord you
@Shiva49 (8776)
• Singapore
30 Jun
@josie_ I have experienced these situations in major cities where people tend to mind their own business than respond in a humane way. In villages, people have more time to be compassionate. Extremes of human behavior shock and touch us. Hit and run happens, sometimes, when people are too shocked to respond in a logical way. This instance highlights the lows but there are the opposites too where people reach out to touch our hearts - siva
2 people like this
• Australia
30 Jun
@Shiva49 In the old days, we were all forced to retire at 65 here in Australia. My grandfather was a very fit woodwork teacher, and could have probably worked on to 70, but the minister of education sent him a letter telling him to pack up his things, and that he was retiring. Given that we are living longer these days, maybe the 65 should be changed, but even so, I think there is a lot going for forced retirement, something like you just mentioned. These people can become community workers, saviours and mentors for others, and give back to society, perceiving life from a new angle, as you put it so nicely, just above, and so also free up some jobs for younger people too.
• Lakewood, Colorado
28 Jun
I don't think anyone should have to suffer but such is life for some, not all.
2 people like this
• Australia
29 Jun
Actually, I think the same way. Why should anyone have to suffer? Why do we need to learn anything by the hard way? I do not know the answer to these questions, but it could be something like this. Suffering is relative to the amount of growth taking place as all growth makes you leave the comfort of your current position, and all such leaving can be traumatic and cause a degree of suffering to who you think is you. Perhaps our higher self, or soul does not suffer though, and it is only our own thoughts that bring such suffering to ourselves, in our lower bodies.
3 people like this
• Lakewood, Colorado
29 Jun
@innertalks Well said..our spirit lifts us out of suffering.
2 people like this
• Australia
29 Jun
@TiarasOceanView Thanks for your appreciation. Yes, that is nicely put, how you put that too. "our spirit lifts us out of suffering." I like the way you put that.
@Prshnth (738)
• Bangalore, India
28 Jun
first of all i am very surprised that somebody who is not Indian talking about Gandhi...i think his quotes are quite right....
2 people like this
• Australia
29 Jun
If you want to be well versed in different religions, Indian religious thought must be examined I think. A lot of highly spiritualized people have come out of India, Sri Ramana Maharshi, was one well-known one. Gandhi too, of course, was a highly spiritual person too.
@Prshnth (738)
• Bangalore, India
29 Jun
@innertalks wow you have good knowledge about india
2 people like this
• Australia
29 Jun
@Prshnth Yes, thanks. I have read many books from the Indian spiritual giants. I particularly liked Sri Nisargadatta Maharaj too. His classic book, "I am that" should be read by all people. It can be freely read on the internet here:
http://advaita.com.br/wp-content/uploads/2010/08/1-I-Am-That-Nisargadatta-Maharaj-Resumo.pdf