Excerpt: Suffering Hall of Fame
GAUTAMA THE BUDDHA
How can we not start with the most famous world authority on the subject at hand (or at foot as the case may be). Here we see the World Avatar chilling out after a long day of instructing thick-skulled humans on how to get out of suffering.
Buddha’s image adorns gardens, entry ways, meditation tables, yoga studios and retreat centers as a reminder to us the thick-skulled-ones that there is a way out of suffering. He did it, why not you?
In quiet repose, with sealed lips, he seems to be saying: “Talk to the foot.”
Flagellants were practitioners of a movement who exacted physical pain upon themselves for a variety of reasons, mostly religious. Whipping or flogging themselves (the word flagellation is from the Latin flagellare – to whip) was the preferred method, but hair shirts, often over a freshly-scourged back, provided that extra push toward “mortification of the flesh.” Not content to “suffer in silence”, they preferred public displays of penance, often drawing large crowds in the pre-television days. The movement reached its peak in the 14th century as a response to the Black Death plague that ravaged Europe.
The practice has mostly died out today, but remnants can be seen in the costumes which have migrated to America and the Ku Klux Klan. The practice has also changed from self-flagellation to the whipping and flogging of “anyone not like me.”