Everyday Dharma/ Final Exam/ White Noise/ Better Happiness
- TheDailyEnlightenment.comWeekly 25/02/05
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Those who see worldly life as an obstacle to Dharma*
see no Dharma in everyday actions.
They have not yet discovered
that there are no everyday actions outside of Dharma.
-Zen Master Dogen (pic:paperfrog.com)
*Practice of the Buddha's teachings of Compassion & Wisdom
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The Wordless Smiling Sermon
Aren't Fireworks Overrated?
I Surprise Me
Writing as a Spiritual Practice (Why I Write Anything at All)
Link Archive |
Realisation: Sitting For My Final Exam
"In the school's examination hall, I was poring over the last paragraph of my essay paper. There is half an hour to go, before we have to lay our pens down. The essay is finished. But as usual, I know it can be improved. These 30 minutes, however, feel like all the time in the world... much more than needed for me to brush up this essay. I lean back and relax for a while.
A few minutes later, I'm upright again, reading the essay, taking it from the top. I find some grammar mistakes and make corrections. I spruce up some expressions and add a line or two here and there. With the version 2 complete, I reread the essay. Once again I find myself touching up - which means I should reread again to double-check. Being a perfectionist, I would usually do this till I'm totally satisfied with every word and line. In fact, I might do this up the the very last minute... Anyway, 20 minutes left.
The "nth" time I'm rereading the essay, I realise I have only 15 minutes left. That was when I discovered that a major shift in the storyline would greatly enhance the essay. Should I risk making amendments? There might not be enough time. What the heck... let's do it!... 10 minutes left... I find myself panicking, breaking into a cold sweat. I think I've gone too far now - I have to complete this new version... I just have too. Or do I really? This essay will either be the best work in my life, or the worst. Just give me some time... Yes, I'm going to make it... No, I might not... Maybe I can! 4 minutes to go... 3, 2, 1... The bell rings. Time's up."
It's a lot like life, isn't it? No... this IS the story of our lives. How we make endless revisions of it, how we sometimes mess it up when we think we are improving it, how we become complacent sometimes, thinking we have too much time, before we regret. Yet we should still make as many revisions of our lives as long as we are alive - for a life without changing for the better is a stagnant pointless one. What's crucial is which parts of your life you are changing. Are you only changing to bigger houses, cars and career titles, or to a kinder and wiser person? Shouldn't we be less attached to endless amassing of our material assets, and focus more on building our spiritual assets of wisdom and merits instead? Afterall, only the latter follow us beyond this life.
We lose our sense of time at times as we live. The speed of life sometimes seems to accelerate, at other times slowing to a crawl. But be it fast or slow, whether you like it or not, life will end. Ours is a race against time to live fulfilling lives, to be able to leave life gladly when we have to. On our deathbeds we will face our final exam. If we pass well, we get reborn in a better life. If we fare averagely or not so well, was life then lived in vain? When we pass with flying colours, we break free of the cycle of life and death entirely. Because I do not know when are our final moments, may we visualise ourselves to be taking our final exams now, which means that every little thing we do or not do matters.Life will always present us exactly what we need to learn. The very things you can't get over, out of attachment, aversion and delusion are those which you should learn to. Every little spate of unhappiness is a test. And death of course, is the final exam, for this life at least. Will you face death with fear or confidence, regret or contentment? How about preparing to die well now by learning to live well now? Are you thinking of last minute revision cramming for the your final exam? How would you know when are the last minutes and whether those would be ample time? Will you be able to let go when you have no choice? Or will you make endless more revisions of life and death by being reborn? Well, it's your life. Live well! -Shen Shi'an (pic:jacksoncountyhospital.com)
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Review of Last Issue: Response to "Is Your Karma Really Good or Bad?"
Excerpt: Which Kind of Happiness is Better?It's likely that you came here to study and practise the Dhamma in search of happiness. Your understanding of happiness, the happiness you desire, however, may not be the same happiness that is the genuine goal of Buddhism and the practice of Dhamma...- Keys to Natural Truth (Buddhadasa Bhikkhu) (pic:haskell.org)
The usual happiness that common people are interested in is when a particular hunger or want is satisfied. This is the typical understanding of happiness. In the Dhamma sense, however, happiness is when there is no hunger or want at all, when we're completely free of all hunger, desire, and want. Help to sort this out right at this point by paying careful attention to the folowing distinction" happiness because hunger is satisfied and happiness due to no hunger at all. Can you see the difference?
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