Question: You say that suffering cannot give us understanding, but can only awaken us. If that is so, why does not suffering cease when we have been fully awakened?
Krishnamurti: That is just it. We are not fully awakened through suffering. Suppose that someone dies. What happens? You want an immediate relief from that sorrow; so you accept an idea, a belief, or you seek amusements. Now what has happened? There has been true suffering, an awakened struggle, a shock, and to overcome that shock, that suffering, you have accepted an idea such as reincarnation, or faith in the hereafter, or belief in communication with the dead. These are all ways of escape. That is, when you are awakened there is conflict, struggle. which you call suffering; but immediately you want to put away that struggle, that awakening; you long for forgetfulness through an idea, a theory, or through an explanation, which is but a process of being put to sleep again.
So this is the everyday process of existence: you are awakened through the impact with life, experience, which causes suffering, and you want to be comforted; so you seek out people, ideas, explanations, to give you comfort, satisfaction, and this creates the exploiter and the exploited. But if in that state of acute questioning, which is suffering, if in that state of awakened interest, you meet experiences completely, then you will find out the true value and significance of all the human shelters and illusions which you have created; and the understanding of them alone will free you from suffering.
4th Public Talk, 9th July 1933