Sunday Scriptures: The Source of Suffering

Sunday is a busy day here, as its the only day we all get to spend together as a family. So in this weekly spot I’ll dig out some interesting bits of religious literature and will post them without much comment.

Today’s scriptural tour looks at: where suffering comes from.

Formerly Prajapati brought forth pure creatures, who were truthful and virtuous. These creatures joined the gods in the sky whenever they wished, and they lived and died by their own wish. In another time, those who dwelt on earth were covercome by desire and anger, and they were abandoned by the gods. Then by their foul deads these evil ones were trapped in the chain of rebirth, and they became atheists.

– Mahabharata, 3.181.11-20

Seems that desire and anger are the killers. And I particularly like the translation of the last word – I’m sure Sabio could give us a better idea of the word’s fuller meaning.

Here’s an alternative explanation, with a very mechanistic feel (might be just the translation, of course).

Through wrong belief, indulgence, negligence, passions, and activites, the individual self attracts particles of matter which are fit to turn into karma, as the self is actuated by passions. This influx of karma results in bondage.

– Tattvartha Sutra 8.1-2 (a text sacred to the Jains)

Now ‘activities’ lead to bondage? whats the alternative?

And my own tradition:

Therefore, just as sin entered the world through one man, and death through sin, and in this way death came to all men, because all sinned— for before the law was given, sin was in the world. But sin is not taken into account when there is no law. Nevertheless, death reigned from the time of Adam to the time of Moses, even over those who did not sin by breaking a command, as did Adam, who was a pattern of the one to come.

– Romans 5.12-14 (NIV)

The bleakest of all – you can do everything right and you’ll still be doomed to suffer. Its all Adam’s fault. Though if you read on in Romans, it seems Paul has a cunning plan…

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