wisdom wrote:Suffering may usually be considered in the context of emotions, but in Buddhism suffering means attachment, attachment means suffering.
gregkavarnos wrote:Except that suffering can also be based upon aversion.
ego is in itself not bad. Attraction and aversion are in themselves not bad things.
It is the attachment we have to atttraction, aversion and ignorance which results in what we experience as suffering.
So, attachment isn't merely to things we like. We can also be obsessed with hate, and this is also a kind of attachment.
Having what is generally referred to as positive self-esteem, or a healthy sense of ego is not by itself bad.
Attachment to a fixed, imaginary idea of a 'self' results in suffering because it is based on belief in something unchanging, and that does not exist.
Seeking fame or fortune is not in and of itself a bad thing, and does not automatically result in suffering. Being obsessed with fame and fortune, feeling a sense of failure if one doesn't attain fame and fortune, that is attachment. But it is possible to want fame and to want a lot of money without being attached to any notion of lasting satisfaction
one might experience as a result. If one pursues fame and fortune, but knows full well that they are not the cause for happiness, then one will not be attached to fame and fortune, and they will not result in suffering (much suffering) from the complications they produce, or when they expire.
For example, a professional actor or writer or artist or musician is in a livelihood which demands some degree of "fame" , meaning that a lot of people have to be familiar with that person's work. That person also might have some reasons for wishing to acquire a large amount of money over a long period of time.
If that person does not expect fame to bring him or her any ultimate or lasting satisfaction, but merely sees it as part of the job, then there is no attachment to it. They can enjoy the pleasures fame produces while it lasts, and, if they are able, they can let go of that. In the mean time, they may be able to use their public recognition to benefit a lot of beings. At the same time, that person may have some very positive reasons for wanting to, or needing to, acquire a large fortune. They may not need wealth for personal happiness, but may need it in order to benefit others. But if they think that acquiring wealth will bring lasting happiness, then they are attached to a mistaken view, and this will result in suffering.
What has been explained to me is that it is not ego, or wanting good things (desire) per se
that are really what create suffering. It is the mistaken view that acquiring things that do not last, and believing that they will provide lasting happiness is what results in suffering. It is attachment
to desire, and attachment
to ego. It is the attachment, rather than the object of the attachment which is, after all, empty of any intrinsic reality.
Everybody wants to eat a good meal. But if a person thought that after having a fine meal, one that really satisfied their taste buds, and that really filled their stomach, if they thought that after eating that meal they would never be hungry again, they would be wrong and it would be long before they were hungry again, because food in the stomach doesn't last forever. So, it is the attachment to the idea of a permanently-satisfying meal that creates the conditions for suffering.
Likewise, ego itself is not a good thing or a bad thing. We cannot avoid the experience, the sensation of a self. We get sick, we get hungry, we become happy or sad, bored or content. This is simply a fact. But it is the attachment to an unchanging-always happy self that creates the conditions for suffering, because life isn't always full of happy events.