Throughout the holy texts it is implied that the reader is looking for a way to stop the cycle.

Why should the reader want to stop the cycle?

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  • I remember asking the same question about 20 years ago... You know who is asking? It is your own Buddha-nature asking :) Welcome and good luck!
    – Andriy Volkov
    Jul 20, 2015 at 22:15
  • @AndreiVolkov Thanks for welcoming :) ... Should the reader want to stop the cycle just because it seems to be difficult enough to spend a lifetime on? Jul 21, 2015 at 7:43
  • Samsara can't be stopped by spiritual means, you can escape it. If and when every being escapes it, it would be empty but not "stopped". Apr 26, 2022 at 20:24

5 Answers 5


I think that dukkha is the reason why the reader is looking for a way to stop the cycle.

I think that, because the "four noble truths" were the first thing that the Buddha explained, during his first sermon after enlightenment (with dukkha being the subject of the first of these four noble truths).

The fact that dukkha is the cause of the search (i.e. that "the search is the result of stress") is also stated explicitly, in the Nibbedhika Sutta:

"'Stress should be known. The cause by which stress comes into play should be known. The diversity in stress should be known. The result of stress should be known. The cessation of stress should be known. The path of practice for the cessation of stress should be known.' Thus it has been said. In reference to what was it said?

Birth is stress, aging is stress, death is stress; sorrow, lamentation, pain, distress, & despair are stress; association with the unbeloved is stress; separation from the loved is stress; not getting what is wanted is stress. In short, the five clinging-aggregates are stress.

"And what is the cause by which stress comes into play? Craving is the cause by which stress comes into play.

"And what is the diversity in stress? There is major stress & minor, slowly fading & quickly fading. This is called the diversity in stress.

"And what is the result of stress? There are some cases in which a person overcome with pain, his mind exhausted, grieves, mourns, laments, beats his breast, & becomes bewildered. Or one overcome with pain, his mind exhausted, comes to search outside, 'Who knows a way or two to stop this pain?' I tell you, monks, that stress results either in bewilderment or in search. This is called the result of stress.

Saying that dukkha is the reason for the search might seem like a one-size-fits-all answer: if several/many people want to stop the cycle, do they all have the same reason for wanting to?

For that reason, dukkha is a broad term with apparently several meanings or usages; the WIkipedia article starts with ...

Dukkha (Pāli; Sanskrit: duḥkha; Tibetan: སྡུག་བསྔལ་ sdug bsngal, pr. "duk-ngel") is a Buddhist term commonly translated as "suffering", "anxiety", "stress", or "unsatisfactoriness".[a] The principle of dukkha is one of the most important concepts in the Buddhist tradition. The Buddha is reputed to have said: "I have taught one thing and one thing only, dukkha and the cessation of dukkha."

... and then continues, with many various categories (and translations) of dukkha.


Unless we have great faith, we don't actually start with wanting cessation of Samsara. If we started out truly not wanting Samsara then we would be starting out almost enlightened, wouldn't we? We start out practicing because we want smaller attainments and realizations within Samsara(smaller than Nibbana) because we can only see things from the ego's point of view and to the ego, Nibbana looks very scary. At some point in our practice we drop our false ego view and can truly see deeply in our hearts why we should get out of this endless prison towards freedom from suffering. A little correct meditation practice will show that a little of the Buddha's teaching is in harmony with a little of the meditator's meditation experience and so the meditator gets a little faith in the rest of the Buddha's teaching that has only been read about. A lot of correct practice will result in a lot of the meditator's experience being inline with a lot of the Buddha's teaching and so the mediator gets a lot of faith in the rest of the teachings not yet experienced.


The reason is to stop the samsara is we are having more, more and more dukkha than the happiness in the samsara.

It cannot be measured with only concerning one life. we have to consider massive collection of lives (example- billions of lives). After analyzing those massive number of lives Load Buddha have seen that largest portion of the lives we were in the hells (4 hells. narakaya, thirisan, pretha, asura. Sad but that's the truth). Because of the desires in creatures they always trends to make pleasure out of things. So the possibility of doing bad karma is very high. So out of Billions of lives, creatures come to human and heavens very few times that can be counted with fingers in one hand. That means time we spent in the good times are neglectable.

If we had a teachings of a Lord Buddha we can get rid of usual cycle for a time. But if we didn't take actions to attain nibbana, we have to face usual cycle again.

So we have to stop this cycle now or suffer from the sadness for unlimited number of times. Intelligent people understand this tragedy and get rid of samsara as soon as possible.


Well there are things which all living beings undergo. Birth, Aging, Illnesses, death, loss of loved ones, company of disliking ones. Well people tend to believe birth is a good thing, but none of the babies smiles just after birth. No one is happy with aging, getting ill or dying. When you are done with all these four and loss of loved ones and company of bad ones, you again undergo this. You are a victim of something. That thing(Greed, aversion and delusion) have made you a servant of them. I explained this assuming a human life or something higher.
Let us take a life in one of the four hells. Infinitely long times beings get so much harsh punishment. And what should a human do to have a birth in the hell? He just has to have a thought of greed, aversion or delusion at the moment of death. None of us know what will be our last thought. Although we have a control over it. A being in a hell is very unlikely to have a thought free of greed, aversion or delusion at the moment of death. So he gives a cycle of countless rebirths in a hell, it is an extremely lucky event for such a being to have birth as humans which is a very unlikely event.
Some sentences like above cannot convince you why the samsara should be stopped. You have to really think deep on this case. Remember, a birth of a being in a hell is extremely punishing. And having birth in a hell is not a difficult thing at all. So we should all try to stop samsara. On the top of everything, human life is also not a place of happiness, even a heaven or higher is also the same.


It is actually the cycle of dukkha/afflictions that is stopped (initially).

The interesting thing that should motivate everyone to work towards enlightenment is this: it is due to these afflictions/dukkha that we are forced to take on certain rebirths--as punishment/reward for our action... even the smallest action.

Also, nothing is actually "stopped"... There is no end to the Buddhist quest, not even Buddahood! As a Buddha one still takes on rebirths but now these are intentional rebirths! One intends to be reborn in such and such place and such and such place in order to accomplish Compassionate Action 924,322,322... That is a Buddha's existence. Being perfectly at ease with the universe, free from dukkha and forced rebirth, emanating only to complete their vow to help all beings and solve the universe's karma -- one of the many reasons that they have such power in the first place!

Buddhism places no strict timeline and potentially one can become a Buddha anytime (because one is fundamentally so). (Although this is like saying one can definitely win the lottery any time.)

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