You choose your situation.

This is a claim that invites the allegation that I am blaming victims. There are thousands, likely millions, of people all over the world who are in horrible situations that no one would choose.

As is often the case, the Buddhist perspective is hugely different from the one most people bring in the United States. Where we can, we certainly should take steps to help people and to alleviate suffering.

But we also need to keep in mind the first noble truth, that suffering or disappointment is the lot of us humans and we only…