Thursday, October 06, 2011

Am I well-adjusted to death, or am I just cold-hearted?

Sometimes I wonder. Death is sad, yes...but it is also inevitable. Considering the manner in which other people grieve (especially at the loss of those they didn't know personally), I feel as though we assume immortality is a given. But it isn't.
Jāti-paccaya jarāmaraṇa
"With Birth as condition, Ageing and Death arise"
I feel awkward for not feeling the need to announce my condolences to the world. I feel awkward for thinking "the world keeps spinning". I feel awkward for thinking "would you mourn as much for the stranger who died in a road traffic accident?". It's not that I value the contribution of those who have passed any less, but I don't see how a public display of attachment and suffering is going to change anything.

Maybe sitting at my grandmother's bedside during her final moments as a 12 year-old really did prepare me for death. Or maybe I'm just weird.

Sabbe sattā bhavantu sukhitattā!

Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Rising above it all

It's not so much what they think of me, but more the mere fact that their opinions have an effect on me. That's what's so annoying. It's my inability to rise above their immature jibes.
Selo yatā eka ghano
vātena na samirati
That's what you said, no? Why is it so difficult to follow? Why must everything be so difficult?

Why can I not be weak, for once?

Sabbe sattā bhavantu sukhitattā!

Monday, January 24, 2011

Home Improvements

I try to keep my emotions in check. Always. Not that I suppress them (which is an oft-mistaken view of Buddhism), but I try not to let my emotions get to a level where they consume me. Sometimes, I falter. I get upset, or angry, or annoyed...I suppose we all do. The problem with me, is that I get annoyed that I'm upset/angry/annoyed. I berate myself for letting my emotions get the better of me. Obviously this doesn't bode well for moving on, because then I just get depressed about not being able to counter my emotions and then I feel a failure and so on, so forth...a downward spiral ensues. So I have to catch myself, at some point...any point. I have to remember to love myself, and tell myself not to admonish my conscience for faltering. I have to coax myself into a positive state of mind, so that I can accept my reaction, learn from it and move on.

My mother says I'm one of the few people she knows who's actually actively trying to improve themselves. Do so many of us actually think we are perfect? Or do we choose to use our imperfections as an excuse for failure? I choose to use my imperfections as a starting point for make little alterations here and there to my temperament. Home improvements, as it were.

I hope I'm not the only one.

Sabbe sattā bhavantu sukhitattā!

Sunday, November 21, 2010

Two important lessons

I got this link in an email from the university Buddhist Society. It's a comic about a monk who gets sent to Hell for a bit.

The Devil & the Monk - Theory of Everything Comics

For me, there were two important lessons in this comic -
  1. No matter what life throws at me, I can face it...all I need is a pure mind
  2. No matter what we've done and where we are in life, it's never too late to embrace the Dhamma and escape samsāra.
I hope you enjoy the comic!

Sabbe sattā bhavantu sukhitattā!

Monday, May 31, 2010

Open your eyes

Why is it so difficult for people to see all the sides of a story? We're so quick to take sides, based on our preconceived notions about the parties involved. I'm not saying we need to justify each party's actions, but at least attempt to understand their logic? View the bigger picture? Consider all points of view? But no, the majority of people are content to see the world through blinkers, and use their personal preference (chanda) to cultivate ill-will (dvesha) towards the perceived perpetrator. All because of their ignorance (moha) of the true nature of things.

Why? Why not make the effort to see things in a different light? You might revert to your original stance, which is fine...but at least you've considered alternative ideas. Didn't Lord Buddha tell us to examine the Dhamma before accepting it? Surely the same goes for everything else?

I don't get it.

(Chanda, dvesha and moha are three of the four defilements as detailed in the Agati Sutta [AN 4.19]; the fourth being bhaya - fear.)

Sabbe sattā bhavantu sukhitattā!

Thursday, December 03, 2009

Watch your mouth

My grandmother had a policy of 'if you have nothing good to say, say nothing'. It was a good policy. OK so maybe I gossip a bit, but it is never's more a case of me living vicariously. And I listen to far more gossip than I spread. I'm not trying to justify my actions but I'm just saying...I don't approve of malicious gossip.

Why is it that there are so many people who do?! It's positively nauseating! The fourth precept is largely considered to be abstinence from speaking untruths, but I once heard that this abstinence should extend to all unpleasant words, whether they be profanities, malicious gossip or pranks...and I think that makes sense. Why should you say things that will cause undue distress to others?

I don't understand what these people get out of all their backstabbing. It makes my skin crawl. What is the purpose? Even if they've been hard done by in their eyes, what is the purpose of revenge, but to indulge in an endless cycle of hate? These are supposedly intelligent, educated people, and yet they're as ignorant as newborn babes.

It disgusts me that people indulge in such spiteful behaviour, but I will try and find peace in the knowledge that what goes around comes around.

Sabbe sattā bhavantu sukhitattā!

Friday, October 16, 2009

Letting go of the shit

I just got back from a talk by Ajahn Brahm. Oh wow, he really is something, isn't he? I only hope I can be as captivating a speaker as he is. I could listen to him for hours...oh wait, I did.

But onto what he said. He related his story about the two chicken farmers. I realised that all this time I've been doing what the first farmer did: collecting the shit. It's not that I didn't notice the eggs, but I didn't focus on them. Instead I focused on all the negatives: the guilt, the regret, the failure, the inadequacy...and I berated myself for it. No wonder my mother said I don't love myself enough.

Letting go of the shit is difficult. But it is necessary. If I am ever to rid myself of this depression, I have to look after myself. Love myself. Praise myself. Be constructive with myself. Be positive. Treat myself the way I treat my students...with patience, tolerance, dedication and love. I mean there's no reason why I shouldn't deserve it.

It's weird that I have no problem doing metta for people I dislike, but I find it difficult to do it for myself. Silly can I expect other people to love and respect me when I don't love and respect myself?

I shall stop rambling and go to sleep now. As my mother says...tomorrow won't be a good day or a bad day; it'll be a new day.

Sabbe sattā bhavantu sukhitattā!