A Comparative Look at Religious Suffering.
Suffering can be described as an experience that involves physical and mental pain resulting from a sense of loss, disturbance, or a general feeling of powerlessness surrounding a series of events. When stricken with pain we ultimately look to religion and ask if this is God's intention, or ask Him to rectify the pain we feel. It is human nature to try to understand the meaning of such pain, and attempt to eliminate or alter the source. Medicine, remedies, and ancient rituals have all been used to alleviate pain and suffering but we must consider whether we are improving a condition or prolonging the inevitable.
It is the rare family that doesn't, at some time, struggle with some sort of suffering, such as mental illness, alcoholism, financial difficulties or death. When flooded with grief, we immediately question God's existence and ask how He can allow beings and creatures he cares for to suffer, or accept it as being His divine plan. We can either conclude that God does not exist, that He does exist and works in an evil way, or God exists and works in a benevolent way that is beyond our understanding or comprehension. .
"Traditionally, religions have responded to suffering in two ways: first, by trying to place the human experience of pain within the context of an overall understanding of the universe and, second, by showing ways to overcome or transcend suffering through faith, piety, appropriate action, or change in perspective." Buddhism, Judaism, Islam and Christianity offer interpretations to the questions presented by the problem of human suffering.
Buddhism. Awareness and the alleviation of suffering are the very foundations of Buddhism. During the period of his enlightenment the Buddha discovered the Four Noble Truths. They can be generalized as life is suffering, suffering comes in the form of attachment, the release from suffering can be found in the form of detachment, and detachment can be obtained by following the Eightfold Path.