TRP Series Story 6 : Suffering


The Right Perspective Series l Story 6



Suffering has always been a part of life, but it has been brought to the forefront of our minds this year due to the Covid-19 health pandemic and the related economic fallout, as well as devastating natural disasters all around the world.

To be able to live with purpose and hope in the midst of suffering, it is important that we view suffering with the right perspective.

One of the most insightful and inspiring perspective on suffering that I have come across was shared by Dr Inamori Kazuo, the highly successful businessman who founded what is now Kyocera Corporation and what is now KDDI, Japan’s second largest telecommunications network, before becoming a monk.

Purpose of Life

According to Dr Inamori, the purpose of life is to “elevate our minds and refine our souls”.

In this temporal world, “no matter how much we accumulate, we cannot take any of it with us when we die…the only thing that does not perish is the soul”.

Hence, one must aim to “die with a soul that is nobler and purer” than the soul one was born with by “living with complete sincerity” and persistently striving to “make each day better than the one before”.

Perspective on Suffering

With this perspective in mind, Dr Inamori had this to say about suffering:

“Granted, there seems to be more pain than pleasure in living.

At times we may wonder why we have to suffer so much, and we may come to resent God or the Buddha.

But it is precisely because we live in a world of suffering that we can benefit from viewing pain as a test that develops the soul.”

Perspective #6

By viewing suffering as “the ultimate opportunity to hone our true nature” and by choosing to think of trials/ tests as opportunities, we can make the most out of our limited time on earth.

As Dr Inamori said: “Life is the time given to us to refine our minds and to cultivate our souls, and it is in the process of living that we will find meaning and value in our lives”.


About Dr Kazuo Inamori

Dr Kazuo Inamori established Kyoto Ceramic Co., Ltd. (now Kyocera Corporation) in April 1959, and he later founded what is now KDDI, which is Japan’s second largest telecommunications network. He is also highly respected for coming out of retirement to pull Japan Airlines out of bankruptcy and successfully listing it on the stock exchange – all within three years and with Dr Inamori not earning a single cent.

You can find out more about Dr Inamori in this video:


Written By:  Joanne H Lim (Co-Author of “Winning with Honour” and “The Leader, The Teacher & You“, and Author of  “Meme the Monkey Wins in Life”)

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