Reply To: AN1.310



I think I see fear, grasping and resistance in your posts.

In your posts, you are often seeking answers to confirm your hopes and expectations for a better future, while somehow trying to maintain the status quo, and resisting the need for major upheavals. These stem from deep within you, and seem very strong and persistent.

Perhaps on some level you are aware of, or suspect, how futile all this (your current approach) is, and you have begun to despair of ever finding the light.

Please continue to stay with us, and believe in us, or more specifically the Teachings of The Buddha.

The Buddha, I think, taught that there were three facets to tanha. All these stem from strong, perverted desires and will inevitably result in much suffering.

They are 1)desire for sense pleasures, 2)desire for existence (in any of the 31 realms), and 3) aversion. I think you are currently experiencing much aversion for the unsatisfactory aspects of life, while at the same time craving for sense pleasures and existences that will give you these pleasures. These are all manifestations of tanha. Perhaps you may be surprised that strong aversion is also a type of tanha, but it is.

The Buddha preached the Middle Way, and it is applicable in different ways. Try to approach your life circumstances with equanimity. It is easier said than done, I know, but we have to start somewhere.

When fortunate things happen to you, do not be overly elated. When unfortunate things happen to you, do not overly despair. Do not worry about the future, if you have done the best you could at the time. Whatever will be, will be. When planning for the well being of your future, do not be too concerned if your plans will come to fruition or not.

You may think it is not in your nature to think and act like that. But have you considered that through uncountable maha kalpas, we have been planning and striving and plotting and scheming (plotting and scheming in those lifetimes in which we were predominantly immoral) for our worldly self-benefit and it has all come to naught at the end of the lifetimes? What has inevitably followed us, however, has been our kamma, whether kusala, punna, akusala, or papa to bring fortune or misfortune upon us.

Since we have all lived for so long in uncountable rebirths and are likely to do so again in the future if we do not do something about it, let us leave all the striving, planning and dreaming to future lives. There are far more important things to be done for now, in this very life. For all of us have been emperors, empresses, rich men or women, and so on in the past and will probably continue to do so in the future, so there is really no need to worry so much about worldly success, fame or fortune. We do need to be able to delay our gratification though! :)

Since the world is highly seductive and has the anicca nature, non-Ariya human beings who have a lot of javana power in their sankaras are almost always being seduced and baited into committing immoral actions and inevitably spend most of their time in the apayas.

If what you are feeling is frightful enough, have you considered that things could be infinitely worse in Avici Hell and the other hells, as well as in the preta or asura realms or having the life of an animal with much uncertainty in their lives? Furthermore, it is very hard to get out of the apayas once we are drawn into them. Furthermore, even if we are fortunate enough to have the extremely rare chance of being born a human, it would still be extremely rare to encounter a Buddha Sasana, as there are maha kalpas where there is not even a Buddha to help us see the real nature of existence. When we think both our lives and deaths are very uncertain in the future, we begin to see how urgent it is to embark on the Path, to at least become a Sotapanna.

Many people feel tension, unhappiness, stress or emptiness in their lives, even when things are seemingly going smoothly for them. This is because of the cravings all of them have. I believe it is far more important to achieve peace and happiness than to be successful in worldly, material terms yet be miserable.

How can we start? Try to perform more dana, sila and bhavana. In terms of dana, practise giving with no expectations of getting anything in return. You could give of your money, possessions, time, moral support, smiles, advice, etc. Refrain from committing immoral acts and do more moral acts; learn more Buddhadhamma and practise accordingly. Gradually, more happiness will start to creep into our lives if we persist for some time.

I have often wondered what it would feel like to be an Arahant or Buddha. For the Buddha, He had achieved all that was Noble and there was ‘nothing else to be done’. Such states are extremely wonderful. Perhaps you could imagine: If you had achieved everything that was worthwhile to be done and there was nothing else you needed to do, how would you feel? Try to bring such a scenario to your mind and immerse yourself in that state or feeling for a while. Try to return to that state or feeling whenever you feel stressed or frightened.

Hope all this helps.