Why do we suffer?

Part of a series of teachings given during the 2016-2017 New Years Vajrasattva Purification Retreat at Sravasti Abbey.

  • The importance of observing our motivation
  • How our self-centered thought and self-grasping ignorance isolate us
  • Seeing that all sentient beings want happiness and not to suffer
  • The Buddha’s diagnosis that our suffering is rooted in ignorance
  • Responding to suffering with compassion
  • Reviewing how we’ve lived and how we want to live
  • Why we keep silence in retreat
  • How this teaching fits in with Vajrasattva practice
  • Questions and answers
    • How to forgive ourselves through purification practice
    • How to work with someone who is very angry and unwilling to communicate with us
    • How to work with suffering when we are unaware of it

Venerable Thubten Chodron

Venerable Chodron emphasizes the practical application of Buddha’s teachings in our daily lives and is especially skilled at explaining them in ways easily understood and practiced by Westerners. She is well known for her warm, humorous, and lucid teachings. She was ordained as a Buddhist nun in 1977 by Kyabje Ling Rinpoche in Dharamsala, India, and in 1986 she received bhikshuni (full) ordination in Taiwan. Read her full bio.