Thanks for engaging, TheseEyesGod. You’re absolutely right here. I had more in mind a relative idea of poverty; I was thinking of poverty within the US, for example, where moving up the income ladder has been consistently, statistically, and anecdotally reported to decrease suffering (to a certain degree, after which the gains in subjective well-being taper off…this does also assume that we trust measures of subjective wellbeing, which is a whole other can of beans).
I also saw, when walking the streets of rural India, (sometimes) greater happiness & presence than I see when walking down Wall Street. “Suffering is a choice” is indeed Buddha’s teaching. I recently heard Jack Kornfield state the idea similarly: “Pain is inevitable, but what we do with that pain, suffering, is the choice we’re all given.”
Thanks for reading!