There are the Eight Universal Sufferings, as expounded by Lord Buddha. They are the sufferings of birth, aging, sickness, and death, separation from loved ones, encountering people or incidents whom one hates, being unable to obtain what one desires, and the five aggregates that constitute one’s body and mind.
Indeed. The Great Sage Buddha is truly great, hitting the nail right on its head.
Sufferings of Birth and Aging
It’s a rarity to find a baby who does not cry at the moment of birth. While the baby was still a fetus in the mother’s womb awaiting birth, it has to adapt to the internal environment. That is already much difficulty for the fetus. Come the time to show himself to the world, it is a whole new different world he faced. Fear and panic set in and the baby will start wailing. This is the suffering at birth. As one ages, and the deterioration of the organs sets in, both external appearance and bodily functions slide. This is the suffering of aging.
Sufferings of Illness, Death & Separation From Loved Ones
No one is spared when illness struck, no matter your age. Some were born with crippling disease while some suffered poor health from childhood. There were some who, by the time they reached their teens, had depleted their parents’ savings due to debilitating illnesses, while some young adults aged prematurely.
Some were in their prime when a crushing disease struck them. Who says you only get sick in your old age? It is no wonder the Buddha said that illness is the worst suffering. Some people might say there is no need to be afraid of death, the earlier the better, ending all woes, they said.
Well, wait till Death is staring right into your eyes! Even if you are brave enough to face death, the suffering process of being terminally ill, and knowing you are going to bid farewell to your family, is definitely heart wrenching for most. This is the suffering of separation from your loved ones.
Sufferings of Encounters You Dislike & Five Aggregates
The majority of people would wish to meet their dream lover for life. Or meet friends and partners of the same wavelength, hoping for good rapport. However, things don’t often go as planned. This is the suffering of meeting people and incidents you dislike.
The sufferings of the Five Aggregates arising from the our attachment to the 5 Skandas, that are Form (Rupa), Sensation (Vedana), Perception (Sanna), Mental Formation (Sankhara) and Consciousness (Vijana). You are bound to experience the Eight Universal Sufferings if you are still bound to this illusory world. And these Eight sufferings are the generic roots where all other sufferings arise.
The Light From the Eight Sufferings
Upon hearing this, the ones with wisdom will immediately recognise this and begin their spiritual practice, following the footsteps of the Buddha, to find their way out of this world and into the Pure Land. There they will end all sufferings and6 enjoy eternal bliss.
If you think you are unwise, start your spiritual practice now. This world is one of the grounds for spiritual cultivation. Furthermore, the root of wisdom is also a culmination of your deeds and cultivation from many lives.
If you pass a judgement solely based on outer appearance, you are only a mere mortal. If you emphasise on inner qualities, then you could be a person of some substance. The Law dictates that much more sufferings will manifest from the Eight Sufferings.
However, a person of substance will instead be grateful for this Law, because he/she knows the sufferings produced by the Eight Sufferings is like one bright light after another, shining to awaken us from this stupor. If we continue to be mesmerised by worldly illusions, we will never enjoy true happiness, joy and bliss.