Saturday, May 13, 2006

8 Worldly Conditions

Eight Worldly Conditions ( Vicissitudes Of Life )
No one person in Samsara is free from the following 8 Worldly Conditions :
* Gain and Loss * Happiness and Pain * Praise and Blame * Fame and Dishonour
When we constantly reflect on this, we can build up our mental strength and cope
much better with the ups and downs of life. Think of the trees that live on so naturally
and peacefully in the four seasons : spring, summer, autumn and winter. In times when
we are fortunate to have gain, benefits, happiness, pleasure , praise, fame, recognition
or honour, do not be overwhelmed and get sucked into attachment. Learn to observe
these changing states and experiences. Like all conditioned things, they will pass.
Likewise, when we face or encounter problems, adversities, conflicts, misfortunes
and hardship, let us learn to be patient, understanding, tolerant and courageous. Watch
that mind of ours ; learn not to react. We should just try our best to solve the problems.
These negative states too will pass.
I remember an old lady devottee in our Association. She is a friend of mine. A few years
ago, she used to join our Pali Chanting Sessions and I sometimes gave her lifts home.
She must have been in her seventies. One day, she approached me . Our conversation
went on something like this :
Mdm. X : Brother, I am very angry; somebody told me that there is a certain person who
at my back, used to criticize my clothes ; she says that the clothes I wear are
not proper ( ‘bu chuan yan’ ); this busybody ! Hasn’t she got nothing better to
do than talk about people’s clothes ? She is here to pray to Buddha, isn’t it ?
I want you to tell me who this person is and I’ll give her a piece of my mind !
( I realized I had to explain to Madam X some Dhamma points .)
Me : Auntie, you are older than I am but I am going to say something you
may not like; you may be angry with me . Please forgive me.
You should not be so sensitive over such things; do not react. For one thing,
you are not even sure whether there is a person who commented about you;
it’s heresay and you are getting upset ( and ruining your health !) over nothing.
Now, even if it’s true there was this person who said things about you,
SO WHAT ? She is the one practicing wrong speech, not you . Remain
unperturbed; let your mind be peaceful. Do you know that even Buddha, The
Enlightened One was blamed , abused and accused of wrong doings ? He
remained calm, peaceful and steady in His mind . The truth prevailed in the
end . Think : if, even an Enlightened One is blamed, what more about we
worldlings full of defilements ?
( Mdm X calmed down ; she seemed to accept what I said. She even appeared relieved !)
Mdm. X : Is it so ? How come I don’t know about this ?
Me: Well, it’s written in the Buddhist Scriptures. You can read about it if you wish.

( I thought everything was settled. A few weeks later, Madam. X confronted me again . )
Mdm. X : Brother, I am angry! I want you to tell me which lady commented about my clothes !
( Back to Square One !)

Dhamma Points for Contemplation
· Oftentimes we are caught in our own traits, conditioned habits/thinking and reactions…. only sustained, persistent and patient Dhamma Practice ( Dana, Sila and Bhavana ) can uproot these defilements .
· Always keep reflecting on the 8 Worldly Conditions.
· Others’ faults are easy to see; one’s own , one hides or tries to rationalize away.
We foolishly dwell on things of the past and bring about DUKKHA. Be with THE MOMENT.

May You Be Well And Happy !

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