You can get the entire book online at the Forest Dhamma site. As a matter of fact this is not the entire talk, but I simply want to give you the option to read what is here and download the book if you wish.
The Noble Truths of Family Life, The Noble Truths of the Heart People often say that the way Buddhism teaches constantly about the suffering of living beings is unpleasant to them and makes them so depressed that they get no joy out of listening to the Dhamma. They feel as if the sufferings and discontentment being talked about were joining forces with the sufferings and discontentment already inside them, making them despondent and sad. If that weren’t enough, the basic principles of the Buddha’s teaching – the four Noble Truths (ariya sacca) – start out with suffering as their primary theme, since that’s what the religion teaches about far more than anything else….
It’s as if the Buddha were driving away the people who, out of fear of suffering, come running to the Dhamma for shelter, so that instead they will run away from the Dhamma inasmuch as they don’t want to sit and listen to anyone talking about suffering and discontent. Actually, when people say things like this, it shows that they haven’t had enough training in the religion to understand its true aims. The fact that the religion teaches about suffering is completely in line with the way things are. This is in keeping with the name ‘Noble Truths’. These truths are the religion’s basic principles. They’re true. The Buddha was a person who truly knew. This is why he was able to point out the lacks and deficiencies in living beings – for the sufferings we experience all have deficiencies as their basic cause. Say for instance that the body has a painful disease. This shows that there’s a deficiency in it. If every part of the body
were perfectly fit and healthy, there’d be no way for pain and suffering to arise. You can see this from the people with their various ailments who come pouring into hospitals for examination and treatment. All of them without exception have deficiencies in their bodies. They’re not fully healthy at all. When the doctors make examinations and prescribe medicine, they’re examining to find the deficiencies in their patients and prescribing medicine to make up for them. If the medicine is right for the illness, the symptoms subside and the patient begins to feel better. The disease, if it gets the proper treatment, goes away. The suffering stops, and that’s the end of the matter. The Buddha was wise, which is why he taught us not to treat discontent and suffering – which are effects – but to treat the causes, the deficiencies that bring them about. These deficiencies are called samudaya, which mean ‘origin of suffering’. When the causes are stopped the effects stop too, of their own accord. The fact that the Buddha starts out with suffering before anything else is simply to point out the evidence that establishes the truth, so that we can search out the cause and correct it in the proper way – in the same way that police have to use stolen goods as their primary evidence in tracking down and capturing thieves. Not working enough to supply one’s family needs is one sure way to cause trouble and suffering within the family-circle. This same truth holds for people as well as all other living beings, namely if their needs are fully met there’s a minimum of suffering in their families. If their needs aren’t fully met, then even husbands and wives who love each other deeply can come to hate each other intensely and split apart. This can come from deficiencies in making one’s living and in other areas as well. Suffering thus arises in the family because the family income may be insufficient to provide for its needs, or one of the family members may have no sense of enough in the area of sexual desire. These sorts of deficiencies can arise
because of a lack of intelligence in making one’s living, which prevents one from keeping up with the competition; poor health; chronic laziness and ignorance, coupled with the extravagance of spending money beyond one’s means; overwhelming sexual desires which make one forget one’s family and responsibilities. These are just a few of the possibilities. These sorts of deficiencies are termed samudaya, the origins of suffering. Wherever any of these deficiencies becomes pronounced, the suffering which follows is also pronounced. Wherever we are deficient, that’s where suffering will follow. This is why the Buddha taught us not to be lazy and wasteful, but to be hardworking and persistent, to save our earnings and spend them only for things which are necessary so that we can know how to avoid suffering. He also taught us how to wipe out that cause of suffering in the family which stems from laziness by using the path of firm commitment in making a living, so that we can reach the cessation of suffering in the family, in society and so on. This is so that every family and social community will be able to meet with happiness.