I was thinking about whether the goal of a wholesome action is to reduce suffering (dukkha) or to "shrink" the roots of suffering, namely craving, desire or aversion (the three poisons). In fact, there are actions that temporarily create more suffering with the ultimate goal of eliminating its roots---This is the case with exposure therapy, where a psychotherapist exposes a patient to the object of their phobia in order to train them to let go of the aversion towards it.
This leads me to three questions:
Is it sometimes wholesome to perform actions that can temporarily lead to suffering with the goal of "shrinking" its roots?
If so, how much suffering is allowed in order to "shrink" its roots? For example, can a Master lead someone towards a path that includes a lot of suffering in this lifetime if they know it to be necessary to eliminate the roots of suffering in the next?
Do wholesome actions always lead to a "shrinking" of the roots of suffering (ignorance, craving, and aversion)? It seems possible to me that this is not the case. Take for example the case of a Master who---with the best of intentions---exposes someone to an advanced insight. Two scenarios:
- This person was not ready for the teaching and ends up developing more ignorance, craving and aversion. Did he perform an unwholesome action?
- He didn't realize that five other people were listening to this teaching through the door and they were not ready for it. Unwillingly, he ends up creating more ignorance, aversion, and desire in these five. Did he perform an unwholesome action?