(from a correspondence with a friend)
Alright, I like to talk to myself, it’s true. Here I am, doing so again in the disguise of a comment on comments on comments.
My understanding is that the four truths concerning suffering only apply when suffering exists. The Gautamid described suffering as “in short, the five groups of grasping”, so when there is suffering, then the origin of suffering is grasping in the five groups, the cessation of ignorance leads to the cessation of grasping, and the path that leads to the cessation of ignorance is the eight-fold path. The point I’m making here is that the expectation is never that suffering goes away altogether, or is overcome. The Gautamid’s enlightenment was recognizing suffering, the origin or suffering, the cessation of suffering, and the path, and these truths apply when suffering exists. That s my understanding.