The Buddha expressed a profound concern on our holding to personal views about the causes of suffering. If we do, we can blame ourselves, blame others, both ourselves and others or believe in circumstances we cannot prove.
I would advise every person looking into suffering to read and re-read the following words of the Buddha until deeply understood. In the bamboo grove in the Squirrel Sanctuary, Raghir in Bihar, India, the Buddha had an inquiry with an austere yogi from another sect:
VIEWS ON SUFFERING
‘Is suffering created by oneself?’ the yogi asked the Buddha.
The Buddha replied: ‘Not so’
‘Is suffering created by another?’
‘Is suffering created by both oneself and another?
Does suffering arise by chance*?
‘Not so,’ said the Buddha.
‘Is there no suffering? the man asked.
‘It is not that I do not know and see suffering. I know suffering. I seeing suffering.’ said the Buddha.
Is suffering caused by oneself? Is the child the same self as the adult? – If so, the child is equally responsible for creating suffering.
If the self of the child is not the same as the adult, then the self of the child has no influence on the self of the adult.
Is suffering caused by another? If so, we can never be free from suffering because anyone can cause us suffering at any time.
Is suffering caused by oneself and another? If so, what part of oneself caused one to suffer? What part of another caused the suffering? Why did the self create suffering for the other and themselves? Why did they create suffering together?
If neither self nor other, then self and other have no responsibility whatsoever for any suffering that arises.
If neither self nor other, then the self ends up believing in fate, chance, destiny, divine providence, random selection, DNA, sh.t happens God, genes etc. If so, there is nothing we could ever do to stop creating suffering for ourselves and others.
THE ARISING OF SUFFERING
The yogi asked the Buddha for teachings on suffering.
The Buddha then explained that suffering occurs due to dependent arising causes and conditions. The change in causes and conditions for suffering matter not pointing the finger in four different directions.
“The Dharma has been made clear showing the one to the way or holding the lamp for those with eyesight to see.’” The yogi responded with happiness.
The Buddha made a profound statement. Sit up and take notice.
(NB. *The Pali word for chance is adhicca. It also means fortuitous, spontaneous, without cause, without reason, including belief in God’s punishment.
From a discourse of the Buddha. S.11. Book of Causation 17.7)