The Saint of Suffering – A Spiritual Story

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."

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14 replies
  1. Anmol Mehta
    Anmol Mehta says:

    Dear Porus,

    It is great to hear that you have emerged from the tests of life and found the highest path of all. Thank you for sharing your experiences with us. It is sure to give hope to others who are themselves facing difficulties, that storms do pass and we do emerge better for it.

    Am glad the website could play a role in helping you in this journey of yours. Master Eckhart and vipassana are both, of course, wonderful sources of wisdom and guidance.

    All Good Wishes,
    Anmol

    Reply
  2. Porus
    Porus says:

    I have gone through tremendous mental suffering earlier to experience the thought to commiting suicide or anger to even contemplate murdering the tormentors and commiting suicide, but at the end of it all, I have emerged with a stronger pull towards the divine, towards exploring my mind and have succeeded a lot, without the suffering I would not have been motivated to make this tremendous progress in this life time. Thanks to your web-site and free e-books of another mind explorer named Eckhart Tolle and a technique called vipassana that have contributed to my excellent progress.

    Reply
  3. Anmol Mehta
    Anmol Mehta says:

    Hey Chris,

    Amazingly I ended up seeing the movie last night (Peaceful Warrior) without realizing until the end that you had quoted it. I found the teachings very inspiring as do I find your comments. Thanks for them, they are timely indeed.

    Best,
    Anmol

    Reply
  4. Chris Cade | Spiritual Stories & Parables
    Chris Cade | Spiritual Stories & Parables says:

    I’ve always liked the quote attributed to one of the Buddha’s, “Pain is inevitable. Suffering is optional.”

    So often we mistake pain and suffering, to the point that our pain evolves into suffering or arguably never even has a chance to be “just” pain.

    Pain is a natural physical and emotional response. Suffering is of the mind… and that is perhaps one of the greatest limiting barriers to living in the moment.

    For those who can learn to disidentify from the pain, they will never suffer again. Sure they’ll hurt, but like Dan Millman writes in Way of the Peaceful Warrior, “Let it flow, then let it go.”

    Reply
  5. shobha
    shobha says:

    It is a totally new tip to face suffering. There is plenty of it around. At times it is very hard to say,”it is Ok”. Suffering still hangs around.

    Reply
  6. Anmol Mehta
    Anmol Mehta says:

    Hey Karthik,

    You are certainly being well guided from within, as your words indicate a clear understanding of what spirituality really means.

    Any time you start to get a sense or a feeling of the stillness, cling to it and give it all your energy and awareness. Then it will simply start to pull you in.

    All Good Wishes,
    Anmol

    Reply
  7. karthik
    karthik says:

    Anmol – I consider myself a beginner in meditation, but I do read a lot of books on spirituality and philosophy, hence I talk a lot! But I am also a serious aspirant (though it wouldn’t matter if I am not!) and your blog is a definite source of inspiration. My humble aim is to experience more stillness and peace in life that I am beginning experience during meditation – basically seeing things as they are and being equanimous irrespective of the situation. Equanimity and acceptance are my current key words.

    Reply
  8. Anmol Mehta
    Anmol Mehta says:

    Hey Karthik,

    Yes exactly. I contemplated putting in explicitly the reasoning you have mentioned above, but truthfully it was really late and I figured it would be mentioned immediately in the comments by the wise beings that bless this blog with their presence from time to time…. really :-D.

    You have pointed out correctly, the Witnessing Consciousness, residing as which one is then free from suffering.

    Cheers,
    Anmol

    Reply
  9. karthik
    karthik says:

    Anmol – Long time since I posted a comment.
    Basically you are saying, nothing matters! Why doesn’t it matter? Because things are perfect the way they are. And why? Because the creation (your life) is perfect and you are the creator (creating through thoughts and actions). Another reason why nothing matters – You are not the ego that identifies with sadness or happiness or suffering. You just are, untainted and unblemished. I wish I could say this with more conviction. I can almost feel what I am saying, I just need more experience of being in stillness.
    Anyway, nice post and story.

    Reply

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