In the moment of mindfulness, there is no suffering. I can’t find any suffering in mindfulness; it’s impossible; there’s absolutely none. But when there’s heedlessness, there is a lot of suffering in my mind. If I give in to grasping things, to wanting things, to following emotions or doubts and worries and being caught up in things like that—then there is suffering.
It all begins from my grasping. But when there is mindfulness and right understanding, then I can’t find any suffering at all in this moment, now. This is about this moment here and now. It’s not about whether suffering exists as a kind of metaphysic or abstraction or theory of suffering. We’re not talking about suffering as a theory or an idea, but as an actual experience, here and now. There might be physical pain, but if we’re mindful, we reflect on this as: There is pain. It’s like this. But then we don’t create aversion around it; so there’s no suffering. If we have a fever or cancer or anything that people think is suffering, and then we’re mindful, there is no suffering in that moment. When there is heedlessness, we might worry or be caught in despair and negative states towards it. But at any moment of mindfulness and understanding, there is no suffering.
This is why it’s a direct teaching. It’s always apparent here and now—timeless, encouraging investigation, leading to liberation, to be experienced individually by the wise. Now, this is to be your realisation. It is for you to investigate what suffering really is, when it is, and when it’s not.
In a mind where there’s no delusion, no heedlessness, no ignorance, then there is no suffering. When there is no suffering, there is no birth and death, there is nobody to be born or to die. Conditions are changing, but they’re not personal any more. The body dies, but there’s no longer the assumption that 'I am dying’, or that 'I am the body that’s dying’. When it’s time for the body to die, then its true nature is to die. Having been born, its time comes and it dies. That’s its nature. That’s natural. That’s perfect. There’s nothing wrong or frightening about it; it’s just the way it is; it’s a natural phenomenon. A soon as we’re heedless, however, then, `Oh, I’m dying! Oh, dear me, what’ll happen when I die?’ And then we suffer. Suffering comes from doubt, worry, fear of the process, fear of the unknown. There is a whole range of suffering we create through all the wrong assumptions we make about ourselves and the universe we live in.