The Art of Suffering
Law of Karma
A spiritual story…
The Saint of Suffering
Part I – Injin the Joyous
In a small village on the banks of the great river Ganga, there lived an immensely happy boy named Injin. He was full of the energy of life and seemed to be tapped right into the hidden stream of spontaneous joy that runs through the heart of every human being.
His contagious smile made the whole village a happy place and all the villagers loved spending time with this uplifting spirit. All except one… the Seer.
The eldest member of the village was the wise, old Seer. She had the great ability to see a person’s future and every time she met the delightful Injin, a great sadness would overwhelm her being. She knew that terrible suffering was in store for Injin and it hurt her to the core to know that someone so joyous was to have to endure such pain.
Injin’s parents knew well of the Seer’s prognosis and they too feared for the fate that awaited their dear son.
Part II – The Saint of Suffering
Many years passed and Injin grew up to be a wonderful, deeply spiritual young man. Finally the time, as per the Seer, grew closer for the onset of the suffering and Injin’s mother prayed hard for mercy and salvation for her son. Her prayers seemed to be answered by the arrival of a holy man who was called The Saint of Suffering.
There had been a lot of talk of a great Saint who possessed the power to relieve people of their suffering and news was, that this great Saint was going to pass though Injin’s village. Injin’s mother could hardly contain her excitement when she heard this news and she immediately asked her son to go visit the Saint when he arrived.
Part III – The Laws of Karma
Injin bowed deeply to the Saint, who stood smiling in front of him. A mesmerizing light seemed to emanate from this great being and all around him was a palpable silence; a silence far beyond the reach of words and thoughts.
The Saint looked upon Injin with infinitely compassionate eyes, and sighed deeply as he saw the great suffering that the young man was to endure. The great Saint knew the workings of Rienbandha (The Law of Karmic Debt), and also knew the secret techniques of how to absorb the debt of others and thus suffer on their behalf. Using these great Yogic secrets, he has taken on the suffering of many and, of course, was willing to continue to do so for others as well.
"Dear Son, what can I do for you?" asked the Saint.
"Lord, I have heard you are able to relieve people of their suffering?" asked Injin quietly.
"Yes," the Saint replied.
"The suffering is a result of Karmic debt and this means you take on the suffering of others and thus clear their debt?" continued Injin.
"Yes," came the reply.
"So this means you know the secret techniques for the transfer of Karma?"
"Yes, I do," affirmed the Saint.
Then Injin made a request which the Saint had not heard to this day. He said, "Great Saint, please teach me this technique of Karmic transfer, so that I can take on your suffering and that of others, and relieve you all of your burden."
The great Saint smiled sweetly and bowed deeply to Injin. It was always nice to meet another Saint.
Analysis of The Saint of Suffering:
Real suffering is not at all easy to bear. I say here real suffering, as I am not indicating here the endless trivial dissatisfactions of the ego, such as "Why don’t I have 1 million blog readers?" or "Why can’t I find my soul mate?", or "Why can’t I lose my belly fat?", etc. I am speaking of the kind of suffering which makes one feel grateful that this physical manifestation is not eternal and makes one give suicide at least a serious thought or two.
This is the kind of suffering which one cannot escape from with a few distracting thoughts or pleasurable activities. It is suffering, usually so intense, that it keeps you bound to the "now" and often, this kind of suffering provides the necessary pressure for enlightenment as well.
So for those who know such suffering, what would you do when confronted with a Saint willing to carry your load for you? Would you say, "Whew! Here you go thank you very much?" or would you say with a smile, "No, that’s ok I can handle it?" It’s not an easy answer when you are really suffering.
I am not advocating trying to be a Saint like Injin, and equalizing the debt of others. That type of sacrifice is not for most of us, and dabbling in such technology is downright dangerous. I am suggesting though, see if you can manage to carry your load. I know it can be very difficult, but life is not for the weak of heart.
In agreeing to carry your load, you will be able to end the endless, futile cycle of escaping. You will embrace the moment regardless of the pain it may bring. In being willing in this way, you won’t be so afraid of what the future might bring, as you will be open to the flow of life. Perhaps, suffering is really only there when we are trying desperately to resist it?
I do want to point out here, that I am not suggesting we don’t do what is necessary to heal ourselves or work towards relieving painful conditions, what I am indicating is that we don’t let suffering disturb our inner composure and peace. In other words, suffering comes, that’s ok, suffering goes, that’s ok.
In the article Zen Definition of Enlightenment, Zen teacher Joko Beck suggested that enlightenment had to do with this ability to say, "That’s Ok," no matter what the situation, and that is truly the Art of Suffering. To stare it in the face, smile and say "That’s Ok, no problem."