The Structures of suffering. Article. UK, 1999

James Low
Published in The Psychology of Awakening: Buddhism, science and our day-to-day lives, edited by Guy Watson, Stephen Batchelor and Guy Claxton (Rider, 1999) ISBN 0-7126-7043-2
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Suffering is something that concerns us all. We are marked by our own past sufferings, and the bruises we carry around in our hearts often keep us wary of what the world might bring. We are also marked by the sufferings of others and may rate our own and others’ value as human beings in terms of our sensibility to, and efforts to alleviate, the sufferings of others.
On a more problematic level, psychotherapy has helped to highlight how much we wish to suffer, how deep our self-hatred can be and how committed we often are, both consciously and unconsciously, to maintaining the patterns of belief, cognition, affect and activity which bring us grief.
There are many similarities between Buddhist and psycho-therapeutic descriptions of the processes which lead to suffering. The main differences seem to be around the identification of initiatory causes.

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