How Suffering Can Lead to Awakening

Suffering is a strong word, and often resonates with extreme agony, physical torture, and intense emotional pain. It is an experience that we all wanted to avoid at all costs at some point in our lives, whether it be due to illness, loss, or life’s many challenges. While suffering may seem like an inevitable part of the human experience, it is also a crucial concept in many philosophical and spiritual traditions, including Buddhism. According to the Buddha’s Four Noble Truths, suffering is a universal reality that can be overcome by understanding its causes and following a path of inner transformation. In this blog, we will explore the nature of suffering, its causes, and the ways we can work towards liberation from it. But first…

What is Awakening.

The meaning of awakening can vary depending on the context in which it is used. Generally, awakening refers to a state of heightened awareness or consciousness, often accompanied by a sense of spiritual or personal growth.

In spiritual or religious contexts, awakening can refer to a sudden or gradual realisation of one’s true nature or purpose in life, often associated with enlightenment or transcendence. It may involve a shift in perspective or a deepening of one’s understanding of the world and oneself.

In more secular contexts, awakening can refer to a personal or collective realisation of social or political issues, leading to a change in behavior or actions. It may involve becoming aware of systemic injustices, biases, or inequalities and taking steps to address them.

Overall, awakening refers to a state of heightened awareness and understanding, often accompanied by a sense of personal or spiritual growth and a desire for positive change.

What is Suffering

Suffering refers to the experience of discomfort, pain, or dissatisfaction, whether it be physical or mental. In Buddhist philosophy, suffering is regarded as an inherent part of the human experience, caused by the impermanent and ever-changing nature of reality, and is often associated with the concept of “dukkha”.

Suffering can arise from a variety of factors, including:

  • physical illness, emotional distress, social isolation, and other life challenges.
  • Anxiety, stress, anger, hatred
  • Sense of loss, depression, and fear.

In the Four noble truth, Buddha talks about suffering in 4 simple concepts, follows: –

  1. Dukkha (suffering): Life is inherently unsatisfactory and suffering exists in various forms, such as physical and emotional pain, birth, aging, and death.

  2. Samudaya (origin of suffering): The cause of suffering is craving or attachment, which arises from our desires, greed, and ignorance.

  3. Nirodha (cessation of suffering): Suffering can be overcome by eliminating craving and attachment.

  4. Magga (path to the cessation of suffering): The path to the cessation of suffering is the Noble Eightfold Path, which includes right understanding, intention, speech, action, livelihood, effort, mindfulness, and concentration. By following this path, one can achieve inner peace and liberation from suffering.

3 tips to apply the four noble truth.

Whilst applying nirodha (cessation of suffering) and magga (path to the cessation of suffering) is easier said than done, conceptually, it is difficult to entirely remove suffering from our lives on a human level. As long as we have an ego and attach to forms and conceptual thoughts, we will continue to experience suffering. Furthermore, our need to satisfy our sensory experiences (taste, touch, sight, sound, smell) takes precedence every minute, hour, and day.

The only solution to mitigate suffering is to embrace suffering. Every “suffering” bring us closer to awakening, and here are 4 tips to apply the four noble truth.  

Tip 1 – Be conscious of the Cause and Effect

One way to embrace suffering is to practice mindfulness and bring a greater awareness to our experiences. By paying attention to our thoughts, emotions, and physical sensations, we can gain a deeper understanding of the causes and effects of our suffering. This awareness can help us to identify patterns and habits that contribute to our suffering and develop new ways of thinking and behaving that promote greater well-being.

There is a saying. Our attitude builds habit, habit creates action, and action creates outcome. If we don’t like the outcome, we need to question our action, from action we assess our habits, and eventually, examine our attitude towards an event. 

Tip 2 – Accept What-Is.

Welcome “what is” means accepting things as they are without resentment, judgment or resistance and being fully present in the moment. This powerful concept can help us find peace and contentment by letting go of attachment and expectations, and opening ourselves up to new possibilities. By resisting what is, we create tension and conflict within ourselves, leading to further suffering. However, when we welcome what is, we can choose how we respond to situations and open ourselves up to the present moment’s potential. This mindset can help us let go of “suffering” and find new opportunities that we may have previously overlooked.

Tip 3 – Consume less meat. 

Consuming less meat enable us to take few steps forward to cultivate compassion and empathy for ourselves and others. There is hidden miracle in action when one decides to consume less meat, they developed heighten connection with oneness to everything around us, and that includes all living organisms in the animal kingdom.  

When we consume less meat, or no meat at all, we can develop greater empathy for the suffering of others and find ways to ease their pain. This can help to build stronger connections and relationships and promote greater harmony and understanding in the world. With this empathy, we gain better reflection on our thoughts, action, and habit. 


In conclusion, the Four Noble Truths provide a profound understanding of the nature of suffering and its causes. By being conscious of the cause and effect of our actions, we can alleviate the suffering in our lives and the lives of others. Accepting what is and letting go of attachment can bring inner peace and contentment. Additionally, the practice of consuming less meat can help reduce suffering for animals and the environment. By incorporating these teachings into our daily lives, we can cultivate a more compassionate and mindful existence. The Four Noble Truths are a reminder that suffering is a universal experience, but it is within our power to overcome it and find true happiness.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *