There is no future free of pain. Death is a relief for us all. To fear death is to fear relief, to shrink from the light at the end of tunnel. When we fear death, we lose hope, and search desperately for another light, another ultimate release from life as we know it. But there is no other light, which isn’t temporary or flickering. We will suffer while we live. The only freedom from suffering is death.
We get angry about our pain, because we live in a society with bliss eternalized on every billboard, in every advertisement, in every magazine. “Happiness” is the greatest commodity in the world. If people suddenly began to see through it, the corporate infrastructure would crumble, and the world as we know it would come to an end.
The world would be different if “happiness” was debunked, and suffering was acknowledged to form the riverbed of life. Life, like all rivers, comes to an end in an abyss. But the depths of death are much less dark than those of the effervescent sea.
Lest you get the wrong idea, let me assure you that I am not anti-life. This isn’t a bitter assault on the misery of my own existence. This is an enlightenment. This is the Buddha’s heart, discovered and embraced. This is life loved, unconditionally, for what it is. And life is suffering. And death is suffering’s release.
Acceptance of life as suffering is not as gloomy as it sounds. It is the promise of a life free from suffering which makes our present life unwanted. When we replace our dreams of a pristine horizon with the reality that pain will always cloud our days, we stop rejecting the skies we live under in the hope that better ones will come our way.
The least painful life is a present one, where false horizons give way to life just as it is. Where sunshine and rain coexist, and the rainbow of life is woven with dark colors as much as it is woven with bright.
Photo: Sarolta Bán