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The acceptance of suffering is the starting point of the spiritual journey. However, the cause of suffering is of great importance to understand. The most important aspect is in reality what causes suffering?

why suffering

The second noble truth propounded by Lord Buddha states “Ayam dukkham samudayo” ( This is the origin of pain ). “Dukkha Samudayo” is a term that implies origin, source, cluster, or combination.

What is the cause of suffering

what is the cause of suffering

The second noble truth firmly states the cause of suffering as ‘Tanha’ (desire or craving). ‘Tanha’ or ‘Craving’ is the universal cause of pain. It is based on the scientific ‘Cause-Effect Theorem‘. Cause and Effect theory stipulates that for any effect there must be a cause for it. Nothing happens without a cause or reason. In spiritualism, this scientific theory has great importance to understand our sufferings. Suffering is also an effect in itself. The pain is the effect while tanha or craving is the cause of it. The effect can not be possible if there is no cause. The majority of human beings suffer throughout life but don’t able to know the cause of it. Since our birth, we used to develop countless desires. The great irony of humanity that we don’t understand that these cravings or desires are the cause of sufferings. This is the ‘Ignorance’ in which human beings used to live in blindly. That’s why Lord Buddha taught the world that ‘Desire’ and ‘Ignorance’ both are the root cause of sufferings for human beings.

Desires are the cause of suffering

desires are the cause of suffering

Desire is something that can never be satisfied. One craving ends while the second one arises. The second one ends and the third one arises. The human being’s entire life gets languished for craving after craving. Ignorance is like an illusion for human beings which creates a dark boundary unable to be penetrated. Ignorance makes a human being unable to see the world in its true nature. All the pain in this world arises with ignorance or avidya. The one who comes out of the boundary of ignorance becomes able to get enlightenment and ceases the endless “cycle of suffering”.

Attachment is the cause of suffering

attachment is the cause of suffering

Desire or craving is not bad in itself rather the attachment with it causes real pain. The life or becoming in this world itself brings endless desires. However, one finds oneself firmly attach not only to physical and material entities but to one’s ideas, opinions, thoughts, past experiences, etc. These all things are governed by the “law of impermanence”. One has wealth and prosperity but when it diminishes, the attachment with it causes pain. One has love and affection with someone but when the relation breaks away the attachment with it causes pain. One has one’s own ideas and opinions but when it gets criticism, the attachment with it causes pain. When these all get decay or diminishes due to impermanence nature –one finds oneself submerged in the ocean of sufferings.

Root of all Evil

Root of  all Evil

The three roots of evil are depicted as-Desire, Ignorance, and Hatred or Destructive urges. It is the deadly combination of three elements that imply the root cause of suffering. It is believed as the three roots of evil. In Buddhist mythology, the desire or craving depicted by a rooster, ignorance by a pig, and hatred or destructive urges by a snake. All these have specific symbolic meaning.



Craving or desire is deeply related to the sensory organs. The clinging must require ‘the clinger’ to act upon. Craving needs the medium of senses to experience. The eye is a clinger for any view, similar to ear for sound, nose for the smell, tongue for taste, skin for touch, and mind for thoughts. The Dhammapada teaches us that if this sticky, uncouth craving overcomes someone in this world, sorrows grow like wild grass after rain. Craving or Tanha also has specific property of re-emergence if it is not rooted out. The Dhammapada’s verse 338 firmly stipulates-” If its root remains uncut it shall return again and again. It finds its way through senses.”

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P. Baidyanath, a seasoned author, and spiritual guide, blends the realms of literature and mindfulness seamlessly. A Patna University graduate, Baidyanath honed the craft further by earning Creative Writing Distinction at Symbiosis University, Pune. The author of the acclaimed book 'Time Enrichment,' their insightful narratives resonate with readers deeply. Holding certifications as an NLP practitioner and mindfulness coach from Happiitude global tribe, Baidyanath's holistic approach is fortified by a decade-long journey exploring spiritualism, mindfulness, Buddhism, and Indian philosophy. Through their words and guidance, Baidyanath continues to illuminate paths of self-discovery and inner peace.

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