Good Fortune in Disguise

956849-787080-thumbnail.jpgIf we tell ourselves that something which has happened to us is bad, we will react in a negative manner. We might think "Why me?" or perhaps "What did I do to her?"

Try not to act from aversion. It is said that we should turn afflictions into bodhi, into awakening. We can use this unfortunate experience to deepen our understanding that nothing is real, that everything is temporary and changing. And if something is ever-changing and unreal, then so are our unwise reactions to it.
Also, sometimes, what we first thought was misfortune turns out to be good fortune in disguise.



Forget the Labels

We tend to categorize and label people, and then develop expectations based on those labels. 

For example, we think "spouse." Thinking spouse, we often expect the person to always love us. We think "friend" and with such thinking, we usually expect our friends to always be loyal to us.

If we then have difficulties with our spouse and friends and others around us, our labeling and setting of expectations can block us from amicably settling those difficulties.

Try forgetting the labels and think instead of the other person as another human being who simply wants the same things we do. He or she wants to end suffering and attain happiness. With an open heart, we just might be able to help the person get a little closer to what they wish to achieve.



Disengaged from Realty



It is often the case that whatever we are doing, be it sitting, walking, standing, or lying, the mind is frequently disengaged from the immediate reality and is instead absorbed in compulsive conceptualization about the future or past. While we are walking, we think about arriving, and when we arrive, we think about leaving. When we are eating, we think about the dishes and as we do the dishes, we think about watching television. This is a weird way to run a mind. We are not connected with the present situation, but we are always thinking about something else. Too often we are consumed with anxiety and cravings, regrets about the past and anticipation for the future, completely missing the crisp simplicity of the moment.

~ B. Alan Wallace, Tibetan Buddhism from the Ground Up


Seeing True Nature

Our practice as Buddhists is to see our true nature. Before we see our true nature, our viewpoints, speech, and behavior flow from our afflictions and residual habits. At this point, our viewpoints, speech, and behavior are still selfish and dictated by our greed, anger, and ignorance. There is no selfishness or greed, anger, and ignorance in Buddhas’ and bodhisattvas of the highest ranks viewpoints, speech, and behavior.

We should ask ourselves if we are still selfish, or if we still have greed, anger, ignorance, and arrogance. If we still like this or dislike that, we still have an ego that likes and dislikes. When we have an ego, then we still have selfishness. Even if there is only a trace of any of those in us, we are not yet awakened. We still have not seen our true nature.

One who has seen true nature is completely free of selfishness, greed, anger, ignorance, and arrogance.





956849-787074-thumbnail.jpgNonviolence does not mean we do not react. It means we do not react with more violence, with more anger. In nonviolence, we are not indifferent, we are proactive and engaged in finding solutions to the underlying problems.

We do not need to wait for a war to be declared to practice nonviolence. We need to practice it every moment of our lives. If a flicker of irritation stirs within us when the phone rings or when someone interrupts us, that flicker is a rising of violence, a seed for future conflict that is planted deep within us. It will combine with other such seeds and together they will grow stronger.  

If we can manage to reduce our self-absorption, our preoccupation with ourselves and what we are doing, the barriers we erect between self and others will come down. We will realize that the underlying problem that caused our irritation to rise was our viewing what we were doing as more important than the other person's activity.

Having found our underlying problem—viewing ourselves as separate from other—we will be in a much better frame of mind to not have that flicker of irritation the next time we are interrupted.