Michael Steinberg writes at Open Salon:
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As John Cage tells the story, D.T. Suzuki–the man who did the most to bring Zen to the West–was once asked by an earnest listener if he didn’t think there was too much suffering in the world. His reply was that there was exactly the right amount.
He was by no means being callous, though he may have been testy. (How much suffering would his listener have found tolerable?) Suzuki himself was far from unfeeling and he mourned his wife’s death very deeply. His point, though, was a simple one. The world is what it is, and given its history it can’t be any different. We couldn’t have this world with a different amount of suffering in it any more than we could have this world with flying monkeys. It would then be a different world and that world, too, would have exactly as much suffering in it as was necessary.