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Is the asking of questions the root cause of uniquely human suffering? (self.C_S_T)
submitted 2 months ago by magnora
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[–]Telestai777 4 insightful - 1 funny4 insightful - 0 funny5 insightful - 0 funny5 insightful - 1 funny - 2 months ago (1 child)
Nice post. I can relate to this a lot and have, more so in the past, been in my fair share of existential storms wrestling with a number of questions about the nature of many things.
Reading the Buddha’s teachings and participating in Vipassana meditation retreats have definitely helped me a lot with this, and I would certainly pin that down to the practice of quieting the mind and accepting the reality as it is in every moment (when I am conscious enough to do so). In my experience focusing on breath for long periods of time naturally leads the mind to a state of calm focus in which no questions or thoughts arise, and it's certainly blissful.
I do wonder though, just to touch more on the specifics of your post and the nature of suffering, if it is really the question itself that is the root cause of the suffering, or if the question is merely the flowering of a seed that has been growing from a certain state of mind?
For example, do you think it is possible to experience suffering in a state of mind that is absent of thoughts or internal chatter? Likewise, is it possible to contemplate and ask difficult questions from a place of happiness and joy?
If so, then it would mean the root cause of suffering goes deeper then simply the arising or asking of the question itself.
While I do agree with almost everything you’ve said, I would only add that I don’t think the asking of a question in itself is the root cause of suffering, rather the question, and more importantly the emotional reaction to the question, is likely arising from an antecedent state of mind.
The question, and the emotional reaction to the question, may simply be the leaves or branches of the tree. Cutting them down by ignoring them or focusing on the breath may temporarily give rise to a feeling of bliss, but i think it might be a kind of ‘ignorance is bliss’ sort of situation, as opposed to the bliss of gnosis or enlightenment which is supposed to come as a direct result of knowing, realisation, or illumination.
In Vipassana meditation there are two components to alleviate suffering and liberate the mind, the initial quieting of the mind via concentration, then the “de-rooting” process of the mind via body scanning and non-reactive unconditional awareness. It is this second component, according to the Vipassana philosophy, which actually targets the root causes of suffering and leads to liberation/enlightenment.
As an interesting side note, there is also a Hindu practice described in the Upanishads called Jnana yoga (neti neti), which uses the intellect to question everything with sharp logic until there is literally nothing left to question and at which point it is hoped the mind will settle into a state of no thoughts.
There really are many ways to play this game.
PS: I just moved over here from reddit. Thanks for all your work here brother!
Ref: (neti neti) https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Neti_neti
[–]magnora[S] 1 insightful - 1 funny1 insightful - 0 funny2 insightful - 0 funny2 insightful - 1 funny - 2 months ago (0 children)
Hey I'm sorry I didn't respond earlier. Thank you for your beautiful and thoughtful response.
You bring up some very good questions. Neti neti sounds very interesting and kind of similar to my own approach, but I've never head this name until now. Meditation is such an interesting thing and I appreciate your perspective.