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Why do we have to circulate in the circle of Samsara?

What did we do wrong for this suffering?

7 Answers 7

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Here is the truth. (According to Buddhism)

Why do we have to circulate in the circle of Samsara?

It's because you/we want that. We only circulate in the circle of Samsara, because we wish to be so. By wishing more stuff, happiness, friends, family. So at the end of life, how would you get what you wanted if you didn't reborn.

What did we do wrong for this suffering?

At the absolute level, we/you didn't do anything wrong. It's about what we/you want. What you wish. As noted above, we wish to live. But living not only you get good stuff, you get bad stuff. You get bad stuff, because you wish bad stuff, opon you or others.

Don't take this personally(you). It's just the truth of the world.

Four Noble Truths

Taṇhā

Mūla Sutta

www.wisdomlib.org/tanha

encyclopediaofbuddhism.org/Taṇhā

Thanks🙏. ☸️.

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    I think this answer is basically correct. See AN 10:58 as corollary.
    – blue_ego
    Mar 11 at 15:53
  • 1
    the second noble truth: the origin of suffering
    – user66697
    Apr 26 at 15:47
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I have quoted below the famous parable of the poisoned arrow from MN 63.

It shows how Buddhism is more interested in practically solving the problem of suffering, rather than engaging in fruitless speculation on metaphysics.

Suppose, Mālunkyāputta, a man were wounded by an arrow thickly smeared with poison, and his friends and companions, his kinsmen and relatives, brought a surgeon to treat him. The man would say: ‘I will not let the surgeon pull out this arrow until I know whether the man who wounded me was a noble or a brahmin or a merchant or a worker.’ And he would say: ‘I will not let the surgeon pull out this arrow until I know the name and clan of the man who wounded me;…until I know whether the man who wounded me was tall or short or of middle height;… until I know whether the man who wounded me was dark or brown or golden-skinned;…until I know whether the man who wounded me lives in such a village or town or city;…until I know whether the bow that wounded me was a long bow or a cross-bow; …until I know whether the bowstring that wounded me was fibre or reed or sinew or hemp or bark;…until I know whether the shaft that wounded me was wild or cultivated;… until I know with what kind of feathers the shaft that wounded me was fitted—whether those of a vulture or a heron or a hawk or a peacock or a stork;…until I know with what kind of sinew the shaft that wounded me was bound—whether that of an ox or a buffalo or a deer or a monkey;…until I know what kind of arrowhead it was that wounded me—whether spiked or razor-tipped or curved or barbed or calf-toothed or lancet-shaped.’ “All this would still not be known to that man and meanwhile he would die.

So too, Mālunkyāputta, if anyone should say thus: ‘I will not lead the holy life under the Blessed One until the Blessed One declares to me: “the world is eternal”…or “after death a Tathāgata neither exists nor does not exist,”’ that would still remain undeclared by the Tathāgata and meanwhile that person would die. .....

“Why have I left that undeclared? Because it is unbeneficial, it does not belong to the fundamentals of the holy life, it does not lead to disenchantment, to dispassion, to cessation, to peace, to direct knowledge, to enlightenment, to Nibbāna. That is why I have left it undeclared.

“And what have I declared? ‘This is suffering’—I have declared. ‘This is the origin of suffering’—I have declared. ‘This is the cessation of suffering’—I have declared. ‘This is the way leading to the cessation of suffering’—I have declared.

“Why have I declared that? Because it is beneficial, it belongs to the fundamentals of the holy life, it leads to disenchantment, to dispassion, to cessation, to peace, to direct knowledge, to enlightenment, to Nibbāna. That is why I have declared it.

“Therefore, Mālunkyāputta, remember what I have left undeclared as undeclared, and remember what I have declared as declared.”
MN 63

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We have not done anything wrong per say. Even this question arise because you know there is something beyond samsara. For most of the being there is nothing beyond samsara.

We have to suffer because we dont know 1 or more of following..

  1. Truth of suffering : real suffering.totality of suffering.suffering of delight in 6 Sense object.
  2. Truth of dependency : suffering and its cause arise together conjoined.(samuday)
  3. Truth of cessation : There is an escape from suffering.
  4. Truth of path : steps to escape from suffering.

We are so blind about suffering. That is avijja(un-skillfulness). Not knowing and not mastering this truth is avijja.

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I know it seems cliché but dont ponder upon this. This is one of the 4 imponderables. You are trying to figure out the origins of existence. Its not gonna get you anywhere.

Don't worry, we have all thought of it, but there is no answer, its the chicken and egg conundrum ad infinitum.

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Please let go of the notion that circulating in samsara is bad.

Samsara is fun but as with any experience, the fun plateaus. Samsara is about experiencing the world using different combinations of our sense organs to create fun(movies, games, food, etc.). But, the caveat is the longer you live the more boring it gets and the boredom is explicitly tied to memory. The brain always seeks newer fresher experiences. One day we'll surely invent awesome technologies that'll help us enjoy the game as much as possible while we live. Think neuralink, memory replacement, etc.

The very fact that we humans can play this game for dozen of decades is both blessing and curse.

I don't know if there are any other worlds but the current world seems excellently designed.

This world also offers Nirvana, where the mind gets to experience the most peaceful state ever where time vanishes. What more can you ask?

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What did we do wrong for this suffering?

The concept of original sin does not exist in Buddhism. Rather it is our choices and actions that bind us to samsara. But this point will be lost to anyone until they identify and recognise the links between their anxieties, stress, worries, fear, frustrations, anger and sufferings to their choices, decisions and actions. The greatest irony is that oftentimes, we don’t even recognise our actions as calamitous and leading to suffering until it is too late.

In the Aggañña sutta, the Buddha talked about self-illuminating beings who feed on rapture. However, these beings began to eagerly feed on earthly nectar and their cravings, subsequently, condemned them to a wretched fate.

A late family member was a habitual smoker and heavy drinker. Despite persistent warnings from us that those habits are harmful, he continued stubbornly. One night, he complained that half his body had gone numb. We didn’t realize then that he was having a stroke. The next day, he was motionless. Although I was young then, I still remember his frightened looks that evening when he related his conditions, having sensed that something was seriously amiss. Even today, many smokers cum drinkers ignored health warnings despite scientists having proven the link between smoking/drinking and early mortality.

Similarly, there are health warnings of high sugar intake and a sedentary lifestyle but many persist to ingest sweet soda drinks as a means of hydration. It is not just physical nutrients but the mental food that we choose to feed on that binds us to suffering. I have seen men and women who are so used to managing and controlling their subordinates in the office, trying to put their husbands or wives and children under their thumb. I know of an ex-classmate who was very competitive who will be awake until 1 or 2 am in the morning just thinking. He only sleeps about 5 hours a day. I suspect that mental stress prevented him from getting a good night’s rest. Later on, he was diagnosed with prediabetes despite being quite tall and slim. I believed this was caused by a metabolism gone haywire. If a person feed on outwitting, outsmarting and out scheming others then it really hard to take off that thinking cap.

It takes a lot of self-control, wisdom and courage to pause and recognise that we are in a deluded state, that we are addicted to compulsive control, nicotine, alcohol or whatever. And even more courage and wisdom to see that we are harming ourselves and others, to then turn around and change course. Unfortunately, a lot of us learned all these things the really hard way.

The Buddha pointed out that the things we feed on are mostly unskillful such as cravings for sensual pleasure, craving for becoming (or to continue experiencing in the same old way) or craving for non-becoming (or not to continue experiencing in the same old way); all leads to sufferings. Unfortunately, all these feedings/cravings are habitual and stubbornly wired in us. It is precisely because of them that we are bonded tightly to samsara. How to unlearned these habitual feeding and wanting thus loosening the bonds to samsara becomes the key to liberation.

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The notion of "you/we" are "samsara".

"Samsara" is the notion of "beings" ("self") created by ignorance & craving.

What cycles in samsara is ignorance & craving.

When there is no ignorance & no craving, there is no notion of "a being" (refer to SN 23.2).

The Blessed One said: "Monks, from an inconstruable beginning comes samsara. A beginning point is not evident, although beings hindered by ignorance and fettered by craving are cycling & wandering on.

"Just as a dog, tied by a leash to a post or stake, keeps running around and circling around that very post or stake; in the same way, an uninstructed, run-of-the-mill person — who has no regard for noble ones, is not well-versed or disciplined in their Dhamma; who has no regard for people of integrity, is not well-versed or disciplined in their Dhamma — assumes form to be the self, or the self as possessing form, or form as in the self, or the self as in form.

"He assumes feeling to be the self...

"He assumes perception to be the self...

"He assumes (mental) fabrications to be the self...

"He assumes consciousness to be the self, or the self as possessing consciousness, or consciousness as in the self, or the self as in consciousness.

"He keeps running around and circling around that very form... that very feeling... that very perception... those very fabrications... that very consciousness. He is not set loose from form, not set loose from feeling... from perception... from fabrications... not set loose from consciousness. He is not set loose from birth, aging, & death; from sorrows, lamentations, pains, distresses, & despairs. He is not set loose, I tell you, from suffering & stress.

SN 22.99

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