Enlightenment is sprung out of our willingness to consider what is broken, painful, and tragic as precious. Our broken, painful, and tragic stories are the heart of the matter —’no mud, no lotus’ as Ven.Thich Nhat Hanh has said, and ‘there is a crack in everything – that is how the light gets in,’ as the composer and former Buddhist monk Leonard Cohan has stated.
In the moment of an ongoing planetary crisis, it’s hard to imagine the world being any other way than a place of chaos, collapse, and tragedy. Even with cures and prevention methods against threatening diseases and economic catastrophe, our old friend Fear knocks fervently on our door and says, “resistance is futile. I’ll hold you hostage.“
However, nothing lasts, and all is possible.
Nothing lasts, and all is possible.
Nothing lasts, and all is possible.
Who would have thought in old Tibet that His Holiness the Dalai Lama would sit in a digitally streamed conference calling a Swedish teenager a leader in the context of planetary climate change. Or that a “help me Obi-wan Kenobi” hologram in your car’s front window would guide your vehicle to the next destination while your Grandpa is on load speaker from a skyrocket heading towards the new settlement on Mars.
That’s way out there.
Sounds like fiction to me. Jet, here we are.
Everything changes and everything is possible.
What we thought was impossible or mere fantasies thirty, forty years ago is now true and a living reality.
Basic Buddhism started beyond the intrinsic rituals and architecturally advanced temple buildings like the ones that came later. In the early days of Buddhism, there was a simplicity permeating its existing core values.
The followers of Lord Buddha focused on a nomadic lifestyle, community building, and leading a middle way sort of life, avoiding falling into extremes. Nor the extreme of over-consumerism or an ascetic lifestyle where you own nothing and only eat what happens to fall from the trees. Neither of these extremes was encouraged. Instead, everyone who had realized the inescapable predicament of basic goodness, ethical conduct leading to a good night’s sleep, and peace of mind was in the forefront.
Buddhism was, and is, a practical philosophy that right from the beginning taught its followers to embody and live its teachings. Its practitioners did not merely gather around interesting philosophical discussions and settled with writing a book about it. Buddhism was never meant to be kept as an interesting discussion over a cup of tea, in a lecture hall, or a Dharma center. Nor as scholarly debates permeated by competitive pride leading to a Ph.D.
The fundamental core of Buddhism is soaked in the preciousness of embodying an authentic path of transformation through living its’ value grounds.
Buddhism is a practical philosophy, and we need to apply its wise basic goodness to embody that sustainable transformation we are longing for. The peace, the stillness, the bliss is already residing here. At this moment. No need to look outside. And yes, it’s not an easy path, then again – what is?
Everything is possible, and nothing will last.
That’s our chance!
As we are in the midst of a world of historical change, we can choose what we want to fill our potential future with. You don’t have to believe anything to get something out of Buddhism; you are invited to dive in and live it right now.
Be kind, be generous, develop patience. What matters is not what you believe or even what you experience in your formal meditation and sadhana practice. Choosing a sustainable way that is of benefit to you and all starts in the mind by implementing, that’s right, basic goodness. The historical Buddha portrayed that as the eightfold path consisting of:
Please don’t take my word for it. Try it out yourself. ‘O bhikshus and wise men, just as a goldsmith would test his gold by burning, cutting, and rubbing it, so you must examine my words and accept them, but not merely out of reverence for me.‘
The Buddha – ghanavyuha sutra (Sutra of Dense Array)
No Sila (ethical conduct) No Samadhi (blissful peace)
A curious mind analyses where the beep we came from, where we are going and how we impact others. To implement an emphasis on ethical conduct doesn’t make much sense as long as we disregard our interconnectedness. Threatening diseases and tsunamis do not stop at a human-made border and show its passport before proceeding. Neither does crops, drinking water and fresh air remain an exclusive limited edition in a shopping window unless we allow it. No matter how hard the winds of separation blow – we are stuck with the fact that we are in this together.
We are now standing before a crossroads where we mindlessly can sleepwalk down one lane and see where it will end up, while some humans settle on Mars, or we can mindfully choose to use this time of significant change to consciously create a society that is far better than what we have today!
The heart of the matter to succeed is to take ethical conduct to heart and embody it today.
Stop waiting for perfect. Just begin.
Set your boundaries out of self-compassion – while practicing radical acceptance, delight in the moment, and be patient with others.