The Four Rivers of Suffering

Buddha said that the four rivers of suffering are birth, ageing, sickness, and death. These are the inevitable experiences of life. The river is your own experience, your passage through life. Time flows you on to journey’s end and the rocks of karma scrape your boat of happiness and rock its stability. At journey’s end lies the waterfall of death and beneath its mists lie the unknown rocks or pools of your next life.

Contemplating the inevitable journey of life and its lack of freedom leads you to develop the first of the renunciations, the outer or gross renunciation, “Unless I can bring about a change in my life, this journey of loss will continue forever!”


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