Monday, July 31, 2006

A Lesson in Life

Accepting Things ...
Some years ago, I learnt a very important Dhamma point or principle from a monk. He
said, “ When reality does not agree or match with what one considers to be ideal, with
what one expects, desires, wishes or likes, then Dukkha ( suffering, conflict, pain,
problems, agitation, mental upset and a host of other negative mental states ) can arise
in the untrained mind.’’ When we reflect on this, we can see the truth of this in our life.
Who has not experienced one or more of the following sometimes ( or oftentimes! ) ?
· We want to get good grades but things do not turn out .
· Certain persons treat us the way that we detest.
· We want to possess certain things but are not able to.
· Sickness and pain afflict us …..we expect good health or take it for granted.
· We do not get the promotions, posts , titles etc that we yearn for.
· We encounter people we don’t like and people whom we like are separated from us.
· We lose our material possessions and our loved ones.
· States of affairs do not turn out the way we think they should .
· We are ‘down’ for no apparent reasons… we want to feel good…
· Misfortunes or ‘attacks of bad luck ` come upon us.

One who does not understand and realize the true nature of things will experience even
more Dukkha. We merely react according to our conditioning, habits, “muddled
thinking” and our ego and delusion.
The Buddha once said, “ Tolerance, patience and understanding are the highest virtues a
man can develop.’’
Try applying this with regard to the above-mentioned matters.
I recall a past experience where a student ( an ‘A-Level’ student) showed admirable qualities of patience, calmness and ability to accept things as they come along (unavoidably). He was one of our tour members in our Buddhist Pilgrimage Tour to India in
December 1996. In the itinenary, we were supposed to visit 8 Holy Places, namely
· Lumbini ( Lord Buddha’s Birthplace)
· Bodhgaya ( The Place of His Enlightenment )
· Sarnath ( Where He preached The First Sermon )
· Sravasti ( Where He spent many Rains Retreats and delivered many Suttas )
· Rajagriha ( Spent years in pre and post Nibbana. Delivered the “Heart Sutra” )
· Vaishali ( Delivered some important Suttas and also the Last Sermon )
· Sankasya ( Place where He was supposed to have descended from Tusita Heaven)
( Place where the next Buddha, Maitreya is supposed to be born )
· Kushinagar ( Where He passed into Parinibbana )

We managed to visit all except Sankasya. On 11.12.96, we travelled from New Delhi
at 5.00 a.m. by train ( a couple of hours ) to Agra, to see the Taj Mahal. After this,
near noon , we travelled by bus ( a very tough and rough journey for a few hours) to visit Sankasya . When we were near the place, we were told that the bridge leading to
Sankasya had collapsed earlier. Imagine the disappointment , complaints , mental
upsets etc of so many tour members. We had to turn back to Agra ! And there was this
student who took it so well …patient, calm and understanding. He said, ‘ This is my
second pilgrimage visit to India .’ In my first visit a few years ago, I too missed
visiting Sankasya after the other 7 Holy Places. Well, it does not matter. We have to
accept things positively ….sometimes they just cannot be helped. Maybe, I can visit
Sankasya sometime in the future.’ You know, I learnt some very good Dhamma from him.
With Metta,
Bro. Oh Teik Bin


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