Thursday, 19 December 2013

Falling in love with Buddhism...(Part I)

I shouldn’t even be writing this as it goes against the ideals of Buddhism to be attached to labels, nevertheless I decide to put my thoughts into writing. There is something wrong with our conceptual way of looking at things, I had dealt with this long enough to realise that this approach to life leads to a lot of confusion. I went in search of the idealistic set of rules that would tell me how to behave appropriately in every situation, I even thought about how somebody else would handle the situation. Someone saner, wiser and more in control. I looked up to a lot of people and observed their reactions and tried to impersonate them when I had to deal with a similar kind of problem, Of course none of that really worked because there was no clarity. The situation was not the same, the people involved were not the same kind and above all how can I think for others constantly??

Then I ran into Zen Buddhism and I realised where I was stuck..Sure it didn’t happen overnight but the realisation slowly crept in. ‘Do not put anybody above your own head’.’No body can and nobody might save you’.’ Be a lamp unto yourself’  I can cite numerous other lines, the thing is Buddhism believes in the infinite wisdom present in each of us, If only we care to look instead of getting carried away with what the world tells us.

Compassion for the self, for others around us, these are not taught to us . One might as well argue that these cannot be taught but it wasn't even introduced to us so that we could practice with it. We are just told to be good to others and be helpful,but why should one do it?What about the self? Are we supposed to constantly punish ourselves and ‘ act’ noble for the sake of others? I didn't find answers to these nagging questions. May be one feels good at people’s validation of their service and benefaction but these won’t sustain us for long and we eventually get tired of seeking it. Or as a Buddhist might say we find it empty. And the other plausible reason is that we accumulate Karma points based on what we do so it’s best that we do good and avoid evil at all costs. That should give enough motivation to keep people away from wrong doing but it certainly doesn't work. If People really believed in the law of karma there wouldn't be so much suffering caused.( Buddhism might say beliefs don’t really help.) May be there is a way to get around this bad karma that we have accumulated and certain religions promise to do away with your karma if we decide to surrender yourself . All we need to do is repent (ie feel extremely guilty) for our misdeeds and God would save us. What I have realised is that there is a deeper meaning to this. This isn't as simple as feeling guilty and then getting over it and committing the same mistake over and over again with the hope of God saving us. Of course things can be interpreted in many ways so its up to us to decide what works and what doesn't. 

What did work for me was that if we look at ourselves with compassion and gentleness we see how we love our drama and how we keep it going. It isn’t easy to look at this dispassionately it is very scary and confusing at times to watch ourselves do stuff that we know we shouldn't be doing yet we continue to do.  Now It doesn't help to condemn our actions ,We only get frustrated and desperate when we don’t live up to the ideals we have set for ourselves. I haven’t been practising for long but what I do know is that there is another way. It is to be patient with all that we do,( the good,the bad and the ugly) that naturally reflects in our ability to tolerate others around us. Being kind to oneself has a whole new meaning .We see our own insecurities and fears, learn not to judge them and so with everybody else. We let people be who they are without criticising or attacking them not because we are saints but because we see the same stuff in ourselves every day.

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