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Aspects of Buddhism as I understand them to be

17 August 2016 12:00 am - 0     - {{hitsCtrl.values.hits}}

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And yet, it’s another Poya day…
A time for reflection and introspection…

Now is what all we have, the past, is a memory, and the future is a mystery, but the present moment is the only reality, that exists 

 

They say that everything happens for a reason… nothing happens without a reason…this is what the Buddha called the law of Karma- there can be either good karma or bad karma- depending on how one has been.   


Let’s start with some negative and ensuing positive aspects in life. - When something bad happens to us we feel wretched and awful… however, when we look at the larger picture, we come to realise that whatever happened, happened in order to teach us something, and that strangely enough, happened for the greater good. It’s very hard to see the good in the bad, but that’s life for you! This could also be interpreted as Buddha’s teachings 
about suffering...   


My son had his first drama concert sometime back. When the gates opened for the audience to take their seats, I, with my husband and mother- in- law went in. After going in and taking our seats, I observed my surroundings and gradually a peaceful quiet crept up on me. I observed the camera crew, getting ready to record the concert...the teachers getting the children ready for the concert and the audience gaily chatting to one another.   


And then it hit me… My Gosh, I thought.. We are all the same… From outside we might look and be different, but from inside, we are all the same. We all have problems... there’s no one who hasn’t… and what is wisdom?   
It is the understanding of who we are as human beings and what this life is all about. As human beings, we are all the same- at least, most of us. We all have the same lot - we are born, we grow up, enter our teens, then adulthood, to be followed by old age, sickness and ultimately death…As human beings, we are all fundamentally the same.   


From outside, we might speak different languages, have different hobbies and interests, differing in our views and opinions, have differing jobs, might be in general happy or sad, depressed or joyous, optimistic or pessimistic.. as the case may be..   


At the end of life, most people have very potent questions arising within themselves.   
“Did I love well? Did I live well? How generous a person was I? How helpful was I?…At the end of my life, I wouldn’t want to be remembered as a musician, teacher, writer.. All these are ephemeral associations to one’s name tag- rather I wish I’d be remembered for how good a person I was, without all these labels, and that would be only if I’d loved well and lived well.”  Life isn’t easy- there are times when my mind behaves in ways quite contrary to how I want it to be, and the question arises, I can’t be my mind, because the mind seems to have a life of its own. It thinks thoughts, to which ‘I’ have no control… Emotions bubble up without warning feelings arise overwhelming me, and perceptions, they seem to happen by themselves. And ultimately consciousness is all there is.   
I am a continuation of my past accumulated Karma… and I needn’t take myself 
so seriously   
For example, if I have a throbbing thought which I try hard to get rid of, the harder I try the more difficult it becomes. It Just Does Not Go Away and I suffer with guilt wondering WHY won’t this thought leave me I am a bad person. But what we must realise is that there is no one to control us. We are as we are We are as life unfolds, there’s no I… and when we realise this, there is complete if not total liberation.   


Whatever thoughts come, let them come. Whatever feelings wash over us, let them wash over us. Whatever we experience- happiness or sadness, is just that-coming together due to karmic consequences. And when we realise this, our lives become lighter. We feel lighter. There’s no person. There’s just a process. That’s all.   And all this could be interpreted as Buddha’s teachings on Impermanence and also his teachings on Non- Self 
or Anatta.   


One is not the thinker but the awareness of the thinker. This is consciousness. However, I’d say, conscious thinking is a good thing- being aware of one’s thoughts and directing them the way one wants to without getting lost in them.   


This is fundamentally what the Buddha taught us so many years ago. We are as we are. We are a process. There’s no Person. There’s just a process happening. We believe erroneously that we are a person-an individual. But that’s not so- we are a multitude of things happening at the same time.   


And then comes the question about the importance of the present moment- the Now.   
Now is what all we have. The past is a memory, and the future is a mystery- but the present moment is the only real thing that exists.   


Whatever is happening to us in the present moment is all that matters. This is where Buddha’s teaching on mindfulness comes in-when we accept the present moment with full mindfulness. That’s where life unfolds for us that’s Reality… reality is in the now. The Now. And Buddha’s teachings on Mindfulness as a means to understand the present moment is very potent here. Mindfulness is in short, moment to moment non-judgemental awareness.   


Shall end this short synopsis on how I perceive some of the Buddha’s teachings.   
With many loving wishes to you and yours.   
A peaceful Poya to you all!   

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