Why do we do anything? Why do we rest when tired, eat when hungry, or drink water when thirsty? From the simplest to the most complex organism, we seek to avoid pain and suffering and enjoy pleasure and happiness. Unfortunately, most of us do not know how, and we continue to accumulate the causes of suffering.
The Path begins when we renounce the causes of pain and suffering. Renunciation is a third–the first third– of the path: avoiding harm, doing good, purifying the mind.
Observing Precepts (avoiding harm) and practicing the Perfections (doing good) constitutes the collection of virtue (compassion). Cultivating the conceptual understanding and direct perception of Emptiness and Dependent Origination (purifying the mind) constitutes the collection of wisdom.
The collection of virtue reduces and eventually eliminates pain and suffering of the body for ourselves and others.
The collection of wisdom reduces and eventually eliminates pain and suffering of the mind for ourselves and others.
The reduction of suffering when we practice the Path is real. It is inevitable.