Is suffering necessary for awakening?

Acharya Prashant
6 min readSep 16, 2020

The following is an excerpt from a samvaad (dialogue) session with Acharya Prashant.

Question: When intense suffering is created, that usually wakes up people. But is it possible that one can wake up without suffering, living a very comfortable life?

Acharya Prashant (AP): You see, only the sleeping one can wake up.

To wake up, there is a precondition. And that is that you must be?

Listener (L): Sleeping.

AP: And if you are sleeping, then you would be suffering. So, to wake up, it is necessary, it is obvious that there would be suffering involved in the process of awakening. Otherwise, what are you awakening from?

If there is no sleep, where is the question of awakening? Then you are abiding in your Buddha Nature. Fine. There is no question of any further awakening.

And if there is slumber, and ignorance, and sleep, then it is always accompanied with suffering.

It is not possible to be living in illusions and yet not suffer. But it is possible, not to be conscious of the suffering.

L: To suffer happily.

AP: To suffer happily. Or, to not to know that you are suffering.

One has to be deeply in love with oneself, one has to be deeply sensitive towards oneself to experience the suffering. If you don’t love yourself enough, then you will happily take suffering. And not complain.

After all, suffering is resistance towards pain. If you have no resistance then you have no suffering. Then there will be pain and yet you will not suffer.

Suffering is when you start saying, “No” to pain.

When pain is welcome, then there is no suffering.

L: Can there be another way around too, like external worldly things are making you so happy, you are so content, then how would you see the end of it?

AP: You will require an event like the one that Buddha faced. Very happy, very contented in your own personal blissful world, you go out for a walk, for a ride and what do you encounter? Misery. A dead man, a sick man, an old man. And because you are not exposed to those things at all, in your Universe of…

Acharya Prashant