Jesus’s journey from suffering on the cross to death to resurrection provides a good example for how to transform suffering into awakening. Crucifixion, death by torture, is an extreme example of suffering. Death is an extreme example of acceptance, of giving in to the inevitability of circumstances. Physical resurrection from the grave is an extreme example of awakening. Sometimes it is helpful to have extreme examples to point out a more moderate path.
In Zen we are fortunate to have to opportunity to resurrect ourselves constantly. We begin by noticing that we are suffering, that we are on the cross. We recognize our inherent divinity or basic goodness. We understand that we don’t want to be on the cross and we don’t deserve to be on the cross. As we learn to accept our circumstances, which include our experience of suffering, we can see into the nature of our suffering. We can see into the nature of suffering. At that point we give up our resistance and experience a peaceful, living death. As we continue to live our life with this realization, we experience resurrection.
Once we learn to transform our suffering and practice resurrection in every moment, we can help others learn to work with their suffering and their minds to experience their own transformation. When we remember our basic goodness, we naturally feel compassion for everybody as they bear their crosses. Happy Easter.