What is dukkha? In Buddhism this word encompasses the concepts of dis-ease, unsteadiness, sorrow, and lack of inner calm. In English it is usually translated simply as “suffering”. However it is defined, dukkha is central to understanding Buddhism. The Buddha described not only what it was, but taught that there is a way out of it.
Suffering is an undeniable theme in both Christianity and Buddhism. Both treat the topic with great intensity. Buddha taught that suffering was inherent to the mortal condition. Christ was born into a life of suffering and called disciples to follow him in this path. Through enlightenment Buddha pointed to a way out of suffering. Through his death Christ suffered once for all. Both groups experience suffering but often talk about it from completely different starting points. Are there insights from each perspective that can inform the other? We believe so.
Suffering: Christian Reflections on the Buddhist Dukkha is a collection of articles by Western and non-Western Christ followers for those who want to delve deeper into one important aspect of Buddhist worldview. It is written for the practitioner privileged to live and serve in the Buddhist context. This book is also for the Buddhist seeking to understand the Christian perspective on existence in today’s world where suffering is our ever-present reality.