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Jiddhu Krishnamurti (1895 - 1986)

Understanding suffering

Why am I or why are you callous to another man's suffering? Why are we indifferent to the coolie, who is carrying a heavy load, to the woman, who is carrying a baby? Why are we so callous? To understand that, we must understand why suffering makes us dull. Surely, it is suffering that makes us callous; because we don't understand suffering, we become indifferent to it. If I understand suffering, then I become sensitive to suffering, awake to everything, not only to myself, but to the people about me, to my wife, to my children, to an animal, to a beggar. But we don't want to understand suffering, and the escape from suffering makes us dull, and therefore we are callous. Sir, the point is that suffering, when not understood, dulls the mind and heart; and we do not understand suffering because we want to escape from it, through the guru, through a savior, through mantras, through reincarnation, through ideas, through drink and every other kind of addiction - anything to escape what is.

Now, the understanding of suffering does not lie in finding out what the cause is. Any man can know the cause of suffering; his own thoughtlessness, his stupidity, his narrowness, his brutality, and so on. But if I look at the suffering itself without wanting an answer, then what happens? Then, as I am not escaping, I begin to understand suffering; my mind is watchfully alert, keen, which means I become sensitive, and being sensitive, I am aware of other people's suffering.