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Life questions and Buddhism

JeroenJeroen Do it with a smileNetherlands Veteran

So I came across a series of “life questions” which spiritual counsellors here often deal with, to do with sickness, the death of loved ones and aging. These were,

Why is this happening to me, am I to blame?
How do I keep control of my life? What if that is no longer possible?
What does my illness mean to my loved ones, how can I be myself?
How do I deal with loss and lack? How do I live on with my illness?
What is the meaning or my purpose in life?
How do I deal with loneliness?
What do I mean to others?
How do I deal with spiritual suffering?
Where do I draw strength from?
What inspires?
How do I deal with regret? How can I forgive?
How do I feel about life after death?

It seems to me that Buddhism has something to say about these topics, and I’m still thinking about this, trying to let my Buddhist self find a place for this. I invite you to ruminate along…

BunksAlexShoshin1David

Comments

  • BunksBunks Australia Veteran

    Profound questions indeed! Could spend a few lifetimes contemplating them....

  • JeroenJeroen Do it with a smile Netherlands Veteran

    I find that Buddhism for me is just one potential way of examining these questions, but it’s a source of much strength. With its focus on dealing with suffering it gives purpose and inspiration, and factors like the parami teach one patience, endurance and equanimity, which makes questions like “what do I mean to others” seem less important because one is operating from a place of inner stability.

    Buddhism provides a framework for belief that encourages you to focus on the important base, and not so much on unstable outer reaches. It gets you to work on understanding the heart, on your relationship with the self, on clear seeing. Often even silent retreats prepare one for alone-ness in a way that few non-meditators encounter.

  • Shoshin1Shoshin1 Veteran
    edited November 13

    @Jeroen said:

    Why is this happening to me, am I to blame?
    How do I keep control of my life? What if that is no longer possible?
    What does my illness mean to my loved ones, how can I be myself?
    How do I deal with loss and lack? How do I live on with my illness?
    What is the meaning or my purpose in life?
    How do I deal with loneliness?
    What do I mean to others?
    How do I deal with spiritual suffering?
    Where do I draw strength from?
    What inspires?
    How do I deal with regret? How can I forgive?
    How do I feel about life after death?

    In a sense the answers to all the above questions can be found in this simple question...
    Who or what wants to know? Who is this 'Me' 'My' 'I' 'Myself' asking the questions ?

    The more this question is probed by the psychophysical phenomenon called the self (well this sense of self), the more the answers to life's questions will become apparent to the senses and not so much to the intellect...

    Well thus have "I" heard...

    Anatta

  • JeroenJeroen Do it with a smile Netherlands Veteran

    @Shoshin1 said:
    In a sense the answers to all the above questions can be found in this simple question...
    Who or what wants to know? Who is this 'Me' 'My' 'I' 'Myself' asking the questions ?

    It is true that the very idea of life questions revolve around the the notion of self, it is the starting point for many of the questions as written.

    Shoshin1
  • I just came across this and was thinking of a place where to post it, and what better place to put questions about life than here...

    Life questions and Buddhism

    ....

    “I asked the leaf whether it was afraid to fall, since it was autumn and the other leaves were falling. The leaf told me, "No. During the whole spring and summer I was very alive. >I worked hard and helped nourish the tree, and much of me is in the tree. Please do not think that I am just this form, because this leaf form is only a tiny part of me. I am the whole tree. I know that I am already inside the tree, and when I go back to the soil, I will continue to nourish the tree. That is why I do not worry. As I drop from the branch and float down to the ground, I will wave to the tree and tell her, ‘I will see you again very soon.’"
    Suddenly I had a kind of insight very much like the insight contained in the Heart Sutra. >You have to see life. You shouldn’t say, life of the leaf, but life in the leaf, and life in the tree. My life is just Life, and you can see it in me and in the tree. I saw the leaf leave the branch and float down to the soil, dancing joyfully, because as it floated it saw itself already there in the tree. It was so happy. I bowed my head, and I knew that we have a lot to learn from the leaf because it was not afraid; it knew that nothing can be born and nothing can die.”
    Thich Nhat Hanh in “The Other Shore"

    Walkeryagr
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