A group of well-known Buddhist teachers have published on Lion's Roar a call to "stand against suffering."
Against. In opposition to. Oppose.
These folks mean well, I'm sure. But "against" bifurcates the world, creating the opposites of us and them.
Truthfully, we cannot stand against suffering. It inheres in human experience, as the Buddha so nobly observed.
Instead, we could stand with suffering. We could acknowledge our own suffering, which mostly we refuse to see.
We could stand with our responsibility for the suffering we create. We could take seriously the second noble truth.
We could stand with all other suffering beings, responding to what each moment requires of us.
The authors ask us to take action. Agreed. But let's do that in alignment with the very real suffering experienced by all beings, not in opposition.
Detail of painting by Kehinde Wiley, Museum of Fine Arts, Boston.