Hi folks, thanks for your responses.
Just so you all know, I'm not some masochistic supporter of unnecessary suffering and promoter of famine on the other end of your computer screen. Instead, I have taken up this stance, purely on a hypothetical level, in order to explore the motives and deeper aspects of engaged buddhism and the bodhisattva's path. So in order to continue our dialog I'll respond to the points you all have raised.
Why on earth would you want to suffer if you didn't have to? Or, more's the point, wish it upon any else if it was unneccesary?
Suffering can be the greatest teacher. Of course we don't want to get ascetic or self inflict harm and distance ourselves from the middleway. One scenario that comes to mind is China's invasion of Tibet. No one would have wished such horrendous events to occur, but it did act as a catalyst for spreading Buddhism all around the world. Another one is the zen master's use of the keisaku or even violence as a means for his students sudden enlightenment.
Duality [the duality that exists pre-enlightenment] is over, finito, curtains.
So then suffering and cessation of suffering are one and indistinguishable? Neither good nor bad, neighter to be sought nor avoided.
And perhaps, Lotwell, if the picture above was of you or your child, you might feel differently.
Of course I experience the same reaction of pity and compassion for this picture like everyone else. But to respond, I would say this is true. It is also true of girlfriends, pets, family members etc. because of attachment. But I understand that the the path of the bodhisattva knows none of these attachments and loves and shares compassion equally with all sentient creatures whether they are starving in sudan or sleeping next to one.
I find the initial questions to be absurd, however granted you are just sincerely asking.
Suffering is not beautiful, I think you can only say that from a space of fair comfort, and obviously you've had some suffering in your life but not likely very extreme cases as does happen to others.
Certainty The buddha is not 'just as human' as the rest of us, he may have appeared in a human body and that body itself had limitations, but buddha is beyond suffering, and he is beyond being a normal human as human being is a realm of samsara, he was not bound by samsara, so it is not fit to say he is a normal human, as he was outside of the human realm, it being a realm of samsara but of course he had a human form for the duration of his life.
I doubt this would be your view if you were born in the hell realms, I think only some humans with some degree of luxury can day dream about how suffering is beautiful, to me it lacks being realistic, and I don't think it would hold up to intense suffering. Mind you in general are lives are 'ok' but there will come times where sickness old age and death will happen to us. We may be reborn in the lower realms were there suffering is much more intense, or in the realms where the suffering has no end, so no suffering is not some beautiful and wonderful thing.
Your ideas just seem way off track man .. really now ..
Yes, again, these aren't my personal beliefs. Just trying to see if anyone was able to answer the question why suffering is bad and cessation of suffering is good beyond the fact that suffering is suffering and suffering is bad. This came to mind recently when thinking back to a dharma talk by Thich Nhat Hanh I attended. He described an American soldier in Viet nam who, after witnessing his entire squad die, went back to the village and put out sandwiches containing chemicals and watched children eat them and die. Upon his return he suffered extreme PTSD. He asked Thay what he could do. Thay responded that everyday there are far more children dieing in the world than the one he killed. The man then started a charity for children.
It seems that suffering, both his own and that of others, acted as a catalyst for compassion and cessation of suffering. Again, I’m not claiming that suffering is “some beautiful and wonderful thing” but instead investigating why/how, through our discriminating thinking, did suffering become conceptualized as bad and to be moved away from and cessation of suffering as good and to be moved towards beyond the fact that that is how we are naturally neurologically wired. I question this simply in light of the other truths of emptiness and non-duality.
Anyways, thank you all for engaging in this thought experiment with me. Love you all!