Frank Apisa wrote:
Not sure how the Buddha could teach suffering…nor why he would want to, but I’ll take your word for that.
The Buddha went into detail about what suffering is, in order for people to clearly understand, how and why the root cause of it needs to be removed, even in those that apparently aren't suffering to a degree that would make them want to make the effort to put an end to it.
Frank Apisa wrote:
I certainly can understand wanting to end suffering, however.
Since you originally wrote: “…if you want to accomplish something that someone else has accomplished, it is often easier to follow their instructions”…you apparently think that the Buddha ended suffering…or at least, ended his suffering.
Other than the fact that he said it…do you have any other independent indication that he did? If “yes”, please share what you have.
Do you have any evidence that he was able to teach others how to end suffering? If “yes”, please share what you have.
I acknowledge that I am skeptical of the claim that he can end suffering…and that he can teach others how to end it…so I would like to discuss that area of Buddhism.
Yes, all good points Frank. It is not possible to know if someone else is suffering or not, we have to take their word for it.
It is not possible to know for sure if someone, who says they have accomplished something like putting an end to suffering, has indeed done that.
The only way I can think of to explain the mind-set needed, is to say that if someone said they could explain how to get from your home to a new golf course you have never visited and said that you would need to see certain landmarks on the way. Then you have the wish because you want to see this new golf course. You are willing to go along with the instructions even though you can't be sure they are correct because of your wish to see this new golf course and each time you see a landmark your confidence grows and you have a growing confidence about your journey up to that point and growing confidence that you will eventually arrive at this new golf course, which helps you to continue.
The landmarks have to be seen regularly and progressively and need to seem to be plausible, in that they will lead to the end of the journey. But we can never be sure until we arrive. Some have this mind-set and some don't. I do for this particular journey and I have seen many confidence building landmarks since I set out with just the wish to attempt it but I can’t prove that, you can only try to do the same thing because you wish to make the initial attempt at least i.e. if one landmark doesn’t appear then you’ll abandon it at that point without too much time wasted.
Also, it’s not an all or nothing journey each landmark has its own benefit even if it is a subtle or minor one; again I can only tell you this I can’t prove it.