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Suffering automatically ends when you know and accept that suffering is part of life.
When you are able to accept life as it, not as you would like it to be.
When you take in the blows, stand back up again and move on.
Because you know that suffering is part of life but not all of life.
And life goes on.
I have overposted the picture of my altar already, but here it goes again...
As a woman, I am hardwired to indulge in catalog consciousness, retail-therapy, splurging... you name it...
In my recent visit to Singapore, our hotel was very close to Chinatown, so while my hubby and son stayed back in the swimming-pool, I loved to get lost in the chinoiserie stalls along the streets and invariably came back with some new jade bangle, Kuan Yin scroll, koi fan, tea mug...
Money always found its way out of my purse, and there was always something new to draw my attention.
Now, back in wintry grey Switzerland, I realize that the things that have stayed with me and that I miss the most, are nothing I gained by exchanging money: the blessings of the monks at the temples, the flavour of perfumed white tea at the teahouse, the spicy air of the hawker stalls, the smile of the children I met on my way, the colourful flowers at the altars....
How I miss all this...
That's what I am asking. If everything, including the 'spirit' world, is empty (going by DO logic), then what exactly are we striving for?
First of all, we are soooo not striving.
Second, beyond all the hair-splitting overuse of little grey cells and logical burnout, we are still stranded here and have to make the best of our temporary passage through samsara.
I was told the name of the game was cessation of dukkha and I am game for it.
Only that cessation of dukkha happens right here and now: it is not something we run after, least of all, strive for.
It's an ongoing process of volitional choice-making: my choices have consequences, let them be as skillful as possible.
That way, my life will be as dukkha-free -at least from self-inflicted dukkha- as possible.
The Mahayana emphasis on emptiness of all phenomena is for us to be liberated from the delusion of separateness and our tendency to take our personal projections for ultimate truth, carved in stone, better than other people's "truths."
To be liberated from delusion, ignorance, at large, in a nutshell.
And as they say, half-truths, philosophies appropriated and misunderstood, are worse than ignorance.
Actually, I never really had a plan.
I am not a good planner, but much more the whing-it type.
I take life on my stride and whip up solutions as I walk.
I set out very early on the spiritual path through Taoism and Advaita Vedanta before Buddhism and the reason why I tread this path is clear to me: to attain inner peace, to come to grips with change and impermanence, to teach myself acceptance.
They say that people do not need to be saved, but rather learn how to save themselves.
Buddhism does a great job teaching people how to save themselves.
So, if anything, I love to lead by example.
I am awful with Right Speech and too rash and impulsive to be the embodiment of the perfect Buddhist.
But I am at peace.
With my choices. With life as it is.
I have attained a good degree of equanimity that allows me to live well.
And that is something I love to pass on to people.
To whoever cares to listen.
My positivity and optimism have improved the life of the people who come in contact with me.
I may not save them all, but I know I have saved a few, and will continue to do so