A Christian Critique of A Dose of Dharma
Chapter 2 – Suffering

Page 32: Suffering exists all over the world. To grow old, to get sick, to die are all suffering. To part with loved ones, to be with someone one does not like, are all causes of suffering.
Note: Everyone has been infected with original sin that leads to death.
Therefore, just as through one man sin entered the world, and death through sin, and thus death spread to all men, because all sinned— For until the law sin was in the world, but sin is not imputed when there is no law. Nevertheless death reigned from Adam to Moses, even over those who had not sinned according to the likeness of the transgression of Adam, who is a type of Him who was to come. Romans 5:12-14.

Page 32: To be hungry is suffering. To live in fear is suffering. To be an orphan is suffering.
Note: Christians are given practical methods to alleviate suffering.
Is anyone among you suffering? Let him pray. Is anyone cheerful? Let him sing psalms. Is anyone among you sick? Let him call for the elders of the church, and let them pray over him, anointing him with oil in the name of the Lord. James 5:13-14.

Page 32: Not to do what one wishes to do is suffering. You name it, and there is suffering.
Note: Adam’s sin resulted in suffering while Christ’s death resulted in life.
Therefore, as through one man’s offense judgment came to all men, resulting in condemnation, even so through one Man’s righteous act the free gift came to all men, resulting in justification of life. For as by one man’s disobedience many were made sinners, so also by one Man’s obedience many will be made righteous. Romans 5:18-19.

Page 33: To die is to suffer. To be born is to die. We have been born and we will die. Yet we do not think about death or prepare to die.
Note: Christians have place their faith in Jesus Christ for eternal life.
But the free gift is not like the offense. For if by the one man’s offense many died, much more the grace of God and the gift by the grace of the one Man, Jesus Christ, abounded to many. And the gift is not like that which came through the one who sinned. For the judgment which came from one offense resulted in condemnation, but the free gift which came from many offenses resulted in justification. For if by the one man’s offense death reigned through the one, much more those who receive abundance of grace and of the gift of righteousness will reign in life through the One, Jesus Christ. Romans 5:15-17.

Page 33: We continually give birth to events, knowing they will all come to die, without preparing our minds to accept their death.
Note: Christian’s faith in Jesus Christ has resulted in hope through the love of God.
Therefore, having been justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom also we have access by faith into this grace in which we stand, and rejoice in hope of the glory of God. And not only that, but we also glory in tribulations, knowing that tribulation produces perseverance; and perseverance, character; and character, hope. Now hope does not disappoint, because the love of God has been poured out in our hearts by the Holy Spirit who was given to us. Romans 5:1-5.

Page 34: We suffer and we continue to suffer because of craving or attachment. We easily attach to pleasant sensations we have just felt, (sight, sound, taste, smell, or touch) and we continually crave for more, to generate more and more of those pleasant sensations. Pretty soon we get addicted to all different kinds of pleasant sensations. Without more sensations, we suffer.
Note: Suffering comes from original sin and does not happen only from craving.
Yet I considered it necessary to send to you Epaphroditus, my brother, fellow worker, and fellow soldier, but your messenger and the one who ministered to my need; since he was longing for you all, and was distressed because you had heard that he was sick. For indeed he was sick almost unto death; but God had mercy on him, and not only on him but on me also, lest I should have sorrow upon sorrow. Therefore I sent him the more eagerly, that when you see him again you may rejoice, and I may be less sorrowful. Receive him therefore in the Lord with all gladness, and hold such men in esteem; because for the work of Christ he came close to death, not regarding his life, to supply what was lacking in your service toward me. Philippians 2:25-30.

Page 35: Because of attachments and craving, we strive to have more of the pleasant sensations. The more we work hard to get more, the more we tire ourselves, the more we stress ourselves and as a result the more we age.
Note: Everyone will die but faith in Jesus Christ brings eternal life.
For since by man came death, by Man also came the resurrection of the dead. For as in Adam all die, even so in Christ all shall be made alive. 1 Corinthians 15:21-22.

Page 36: As your craving increases to different pleasant sensations, the harder you work on yourself to please yourself with those pleasant sensations. The more you work on your body and mind, the quicker they deteriorate and they age.
Note: Everyone will die but faith in Jesus Christ brings eternal life.
So when this corruptible has put on incorruption, and this mortal has put on immortality, then shall be brought to pass the saying that is written: “Death is swallowed up in victory. O Death, where is your sting? O Hades, where is your victory?”
The sting of death is sin, and the strength of sin is the law. But thanks be to God, who gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ. 1 Corinthians 15:54-57.

Page 37: Craving increases the process of aging. It increases wear and tear on the body and mind to increase the experience of pleasant sensations, and ultimately craving pushes one closer and closer to death.
Note: Everyone will die but faith in Jesus Christ brings eternal life.
Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies and God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our tribulation, that we may be able to comfort those who are in any trouble, with the comfort with which we ourselves are comforted by God. For as the sufferings of Christ abound in us, so our consolation also abounds through Christ. Now if we are afflicted, it is for your consolation and salvation, which is effective for enduring the same sufferings which we also suffer. Or if we are comforted, it is for your consolation and salvation. And our hope for you is steadfast, because we know that as you are partakers of the sufferings, so also you will partake of the consolation. 2 Corinthians 1:3-7.

Page 38: The ultimate goal of Buddhism is to avoid attachment and thus avoid craving. The end of craving is the end of suffering.
Note: Christians suffer from evil people for preaching Jesus Christ.
I now rejoice in my sufferings for you, and fill up in my flesh what is lacking in the afflictions of Christ, for the sake of His body, which is the church, of which I became a minister according to the stewardship from God which was given to me for you, to fulfill the word of God, the mystery which has been hidden from ages and from generations, but now has been revealed to His saints. Colossians 1:24-26.

Page 38: When one reaches Nirvana, one circumvents death. One passes on to Nirvana not through death in the usual sense. Therefore the advanced meditators “die” in meditation, which is a much different death than conventional death.
Note: Everyone will die physically.
Death is the cessation of all biological functions that sustain an organism. Phenomena which commonly bring about death include biological aging (senescence), predation, malnutrition, disease, suicide, homicide, starvation, dehydration, and accidents or trauma resulting in terminal injury. Bodies of living organisms begin to decompose shortly after death. Wikipedia Encyclopedia.

Page 39: Life in itself is full of suffering such as growing old, getting sick, and dying. When we add anger to these inherent sufferings, being angry at growing old, being angry at getting sick, and getting angry at dying, we are adding more suffering to existing suffering and adding fuel to the fire of suffering.
Note: Christians will experience the peace of God through Jesus Christ.
Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God; and the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus. Philippians 4:6-7.

Page 40: When people do not accept or see the truth of the existence of inherent suffering that comes with birth, then there is no end to suffering. When one “sees” the suffering and feels the unpleasant feeling from realizing the Truth (Dharma) then one becomes free from the suffering for that moment of seeing Dharma.
Note: Christians have a personal God who will take care of their needs.
“And do not seek what you should eat or what you should drink, nor have an anxious mind. For all these things the nations of the world seek after, and your Father knows that you need these things. But seek the kingdom of God, and all these things shall be added to you.” Luke 12:29-31.

Page 41: When one becomes more and more realistic in seeing more and more of the reality of suffering, and allows oneself to feel the unpleasant feeling that comes with the realization again and again, then one’s feeling of unpleasantness, seeing the inherent suffering of existence, ends.
Note: Christians will live life in joy despite the suffering in this lifetime.
And see, now I go bound in the spirit to Jerusalem, not knowing the things that will happen to me there, except that the Holy Spirit testifies in every city, saying that chains and tribulations await me. But none of these things move me; nor do I count my life dear to myself, so that I may finish my race with joy, and the ministry which I received from the Lord Jesus, to testify to the gospel of the grace of God. Acts 20:22-24.

Page 42: Recognize attachment and craving disguising as pleasant sensation, directing as happiness, these are extra suffering that one brings upon oneself. Put a stop to this craving or you will see yourself repeating this pattern and painfully re-discover that ultimately you will have to cease this craving.
Note: Christians will be filled with joy and peace through belief in Jesus Christ.
Now may the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, that you may abound in hope by the power of the Holy Spirit. Romans 15:13.

Page 43: The practice of meditation reduces suffering by allowing one to guard one’s sense doors (eyes, ears, nose, tongue, skin, and mind) closely through increased focus on awareness of each sense. Meditation allows one to be mindful of the pleasant sensation as it is being caused by stimulation of each sense door, without letting one get automatically attached to pleasant sensations. Suffering is reduced.
Note: Christians in prayer to God through Jesus Christ will be refreshed.
Now I beg you, brethren, through the Lord Jesus Christ, and through the love of the Spirit, that you strive together with me in prayers to God for me, that I may be delivered from those in Judea who do not believe, and that my service for Jerusalem may be acceptable to the saints, that I may come to you with joy by the will of God, and may be refreshed together with you. Now the God of peace be with you all. Amen. Romans 15:30-33.

Page 44: Meditation allows one to be familiar with having a meditative mind all the time. Therefore, an experienced meditator is always aware of a pleasant sensation as it happens, when it happens, thereby stopping the automatic tendency for attachment right there and then. This results in no more attachment and therefore no more suffering for now and the future.
Note: Christians in prayer to God through Jesus Christ will be refreshed.
I thank my God, making mention of you always in my prayers, hearing of your love and faith which you have toward the Lord Jesus and toward all the saints, that the sharing of your faith may become effective by the acknowledgment of every good thing which is in you in Christ Jesus. For we have great joy and consolation in your love, because the hearts of the saints have been refreshed by you, brother. Philemon 1:4-7.