"Existence is Suffering." Buddha's First Noble Truth
If everything suffers, is all suffering?
No, I find joy in existence as well.
Then, our life is a quest for joy amidst suffering, a struggle against suffering towards joy.
Is suffering private? I see suffering in others, suffering is shared. The struggle against suffering towards joy is also shared.
The starting-point for an ethically engaged search for the truth is to recognize that we are all enmeshed in world of suffering. It is not enough to know the truth, but to know that in the first instance, we suffer and that we must struggle with that suffering. How we struggle is the crucial ethical dimension.
Some claim that all suffering is because the universe was created by God as perfect, but Satan and humanity rebelled. Others say all suffering is because nature is not guided at all by our interests but by impersonal forces. Another view holds that suffering comes from our illusions and bondage to the physical world.
I am most convinced that the second view is closest to the truth. However, I find partial truths in the other views. Humans often align themselves with destructive forces, for personal gain. Often we are trapped in illusions and seek for things that are not good in themselves.
The truth of suffering is that the world is real, it is imperfect, and we must struggle to find joy. Religion can help us, activism can help us, science can help us, and above all radical compassion can help us.