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Thomas Merton Quote – “Suffering is not a problem…”

It would be a grave error to suppose that Buddhism and Christianity merely offer various explanations of suffering, or worse, justifications and mystifications built on this ineluctable fact. On the contrary both show that suffering remains inexplicable most of all for the man who attempts to explain it in order to evade it, or who thinks explanation itself is an escape. Suffering is not a “problem” as if it were something we could stand outside and control. Suffering as both Christianity and Buddhism see it, each in its own way, is part of our very ego-identity and empirical existence, and the only thing to do about it is to plunge right into the middle of contradiction and confusion in order to be transformed by what Zen calls the “Great Death” and Christianity calls “dying and rising with Christ.”

Thomas Merton (1915 – 1968)