Around 2500 BCE and after intensive 6 years of meditation a young prince named Siddharta Gautama became awakened or enlightened. He discovered that the origin of human suffering, dissatisfaction and unhappiness comes from our ego mind and he proposed the solutions to reduce if not to eliminate suffering.
His followers gave him a nick name “Buddha” meaning the “awakened one”.
When Zen literature speaks about the “walls or gates” blocking access to our inner serenity and happiness it uses the word “poisons” since these walls are, most of the time, like poison pills that we swallow continuously without being fully conscious of their effects. Of course many sources of our suffering, sadness, sorrow, grief come from outside self such as loss of a loved one, accident, war, loss of job, verbal/emotional aggression, disasters, etc. However we shall see that most of our hindrances against achieving serenity and happiness are self inflected.
The Buddha 2500 year ago talked about causes of human suffering many times during his 50 years teaching. The term “suffering” is now better translated as dissatisfactions/ unhappiness You will see that the main source of our suffering and dissatisfaction is our ego-self controlling our mind. Suffering and dissatisfaction are caused by numerous poisons. The list of our poisons is endless and varies greatly with each individual. The following is a short one.
Have you ever noted over the years that your ego mind is in starving mode all the time, always complaining and crying like a spoiled baby: “I want more, I want more, I don’t have enough, I am not happy, give me that, give me this, why me, it is unfair”? Its requests are endless: comfort, money, pleasure, sex, power, control, fame, love, recognition, security, understanding, more stuff and so on.