Who/what are you willing to hurt, for your money, power, lifestyle, culture, etc.?
Will more stuff, more money, more hours at work, more friends, more activities, more pleasure… really solve the big problems of life (i.e., suffering due to loss, aging, and death)?
“First you make the mistake, then you cry about it” (Siddharth), said by a policewoman to a poor man who had sent his child alone to a distant relative’s factory for weeks or months at a time to work, and who was then surprised when the child went missing or was abducted.
…people who will do almost anything for a little more money or power.
Buddhist bhikkhu(ni)s sometimes make the point that suffering, which is an imprecise/incomplete translation of dukkha, is more subtle than just obvious things like sickness, a broken heart, and so forth. The word dukkha’s etymology comes from having a poorly fitting axle on a cart, resulting in a bumpy ride. Dukkha is the nuisance, irritation, struggle, wasted effort/energy/heat, friction, inefficiency, or broken-ness in everyday life, and everything in life involves at least some small amount of dukkha. Here are a few everyday things that people often take for granted as being easy or pleasurable, and how they involve at least some amount of dukkha.
- Breathing or beating one’s heart requires work by the unconscious aspects of the brain and nervous system, as well as the work of the heart and lungs.
- Maintaining consciousness requires absorbing and burning energy from food, absorbing and transporting oxygen and blood sugars, getting enough rest, etc. Brains burn a large amount of calories.
- Sitting or standing upright places a strain on the heart, and causes people’s bones to compress/shrink a little everyday from the force exerted on them by gravity. Healthy bones repair themselves during the night, when the force of gravity is perpendicular to the body. When unhealthy or elderly people’s bones can’t repair themselves enough, such people gradually shrink.
- Sex requires physical exertion comparable to climbing a flight of stairs, work by the various reproductive organs in the body, and immune and tissue-repair responses by the body.
- Even very delicate desserts or drugs require bodily swallowing or inhaling, digesting, absorbing, reacting, filtering by the liver and/or kidneys, expulsion of the waste, etc.
Would you mind being reborn/reincarnated near where you currently live, work, or travel?
- Today’s news and events usually don’t last much beyond today.
- Friends and jobs usually come and go in just a few years, months, or days.
- Immediate families and lives usually in fewer than 100 years
- Assuming you are not a senior member of government, though you might protest or advise, your country’s senior leadership ultimately will do whatever they want.
- Most nations, ethnic groups, cultures, and religions come and go within a few thousand years. For example, it was only about 7,000 years ago that Indian, Iranian, and European peoples were a more singular/unified Indo-European people, and the oldest still-living religion in the world (Vedic Hinduism) is only about 4,000 years old.
- Writing goes back only about 5,000 years, and agriculture about 12,000 years.
- Every living human being has common genetic ancestors 100,000–200,000 years ago in Africa.
- Humanoids have been standing upright for about 4,000,000 years.
- Earth is about 4,540,000,000 years old, and could erase most traces of humanity in not very long at all, if humanity were to disappear.
- When viewed even from the edge of our solar system, our home planet is but a pale blue dot in a vast emptiness.
- The universe is about 13,799,000,000 (± 21,000,000) years old, and likely will continue for many trillions more years, no matter what humanity does.