Although the world is full of suffering, it is also full of the overcoming of it.
Acceptance of Suffering
The more you try to avoid suffering the more you suffer because smaller and more insignificant things begin to torture you in proportion to your fear of being hurt.
—Thomas Merton (American and Trappist Monk)
You can hold yourself back from the sufferings of the world, that is something you are free to do and it accords with your nature, but perhaps this very holding back is the one suffering you could avoid. —Franz Kafka
Suffering, once accepted, loses its edge, for the terror of it lessens, and what remains is generally far more manageable than we had imagined.
Who will tell whether one happy moment of love or the joy of breathing or walking on a bright morning and smelling the fresh air, is not worth all the suffering and effort which life implies. —Erich Fromm
Tell your heart that the fear of suffering is worse than the suffering itself. And no heart has ever suffered when it goes in search of its dream. —Paulo Coelho (Mystical author)
Pain is a relatively objective, physical phenomenon; suffering is our psychological resistance to what happens. Events may create physical pain, but they do not in themselves create suffering. Resistance creates suffering. Stress happens when your mind resists what is…The only problem in your life is your mind’s resistance to life as it unfolds. —Dan Millman
Uses of Suffering
Most people have come to prefer certain of life’s experiences and deny and reject others, unaware of the value of the hidden things that may come wrapped in plain and even ugly paper. In avoiding all pain and seeking comfort at all costs, we may be left without intimacy or compassion; in rejecting change and risk we often cheat ourselves of the quest; in denying our suffering we may never know our strength or our greatness. —Rachel Naomi Remen (American, clinical professor of family and community medicine)
Yes, there is pain in life. Without denying the pain we can look through it to the larger picture. This seeing heals. —Diane Mariechild
I can very well do without God both in my life and in my painting, but I cannot, suffering as I am, do without something which is greater than I am, which is my life, the power to create. —Vincent van Gogh
When a man finds that it is his destiny to suffer, he will have to accept his suffering as his task. . . . He will have to acknowledge the fact that even in suffering he is unique and alone in the universe. No one can relieve him of his suffering or suffer in his place. His unique opportunity lies in the way in which he bears his burden” (pp. 123-124). —Victor Frankl
Frankl, V. E. (1963). Man’s search for meaning. New York, NY: Simon and Schuster.
I do not believe that sheer suffering teaches. If suffering alone taught, all the world would be wise, since everyone suffers. To suffering must be added mourning, understanding, patience, love, openness and the willingness to remain vulnerable.
—Joseph Addison (English essayist, poet, dramatist and statesman)
Uselessnes of Suffering
It is not true that suffering ennobles the character; happiness does that sometimes, but suffering, for the most part, makes men petty and vindictive. —William Somerset Maugham
Is suffering so very serious? I have come to doubt it. It may be quite childish, a sort of undignified pastime. I’m referring to the kind of suffering a man inflicts on a woman or a woman on a man. It’s extremely painful. I agree that it’s hardly bearable. But I very much fear that this sort of pain deserves no consideration at all. It’s no more worthy of respect than old age or illness. —Sidonie Gabrielle Colette
Suffering is not good for the soul, unless it teaches you to stop suffering.
Desire as the Cause of Suffering
To get rid of your passions is not nirvana; to look upon them as no matter of yours, that is nirvana. —Anonymous
When Lord Buddha spoke about suffering, he wasn’t referring simply to superficial problems like illness and injury, but to the fact that the dissatisfied nature of the mind itself is suffering. No matter how much of something you get, it never satisfies your desire for better or more. This unceasing desire is suffering; its nature is emotional frustration. —Lama Yeshe
See also http://www.maximumbliss.com/zen%20quotes.asp