Balloons break, love affairs wanes, we all have to visit the dentist. Life is not perfect.
The Buddha-dharma (the teachings of the Buddha) describes the Four Truths – this is where we must start to understand Naked Buddhism.
The First Truth: Shit happens. There is no idyllic - perfectly happy life. Problems in relationships arise, people get sick, financial and personal worries exist, accidents and sickness cause physical pain and death is inevitable.
The Second Truth: Life can fuck with us. We always like to feel in control. When trauma descends on us it can send our lives into a tail spin. Buddhists refer to this as duhkha (doo-ka) which loosely translates as a wheel out of balance. I like this analogy: if we lose the little balancing weights on our automobile or motorcycle tire the wheel will start to wobble and the vehicle will be undrivable.
The Third Truth: Suck it up. If we can step back from our problems and diagnose them…look at their origin…acknowledge their possible outcomes then we can deal with them. If we allow situations to take control of us we become miserable. We can change the things that can be changed and learn to accept the things we cannot change. We only go around one time – we only have this life today. It is important that we keep problems in perspective and move on.
The Fourth Truth: Life will move on. You can never stand in the same river twice. If we free our minds; if we focus on the now we can overcome depression and despondency and live this insubstantial life to the fullest. Buddhism offers a way to free our mind through meditation and we can bring about a cessation of duhkah by living a wholesome life as prescribed by the Buddha’s Eight Fold Path.
I will cover the Eight Fold Path in my next naked Buddhism post.
A Buddhist story:
A farmer comes to the Buddha for advice. The farmer says ‘I like farming, but sometimes it doesn't rain enough and my crops fail. Last year we nearly starved. And sometimes it rains too much, so my yields aren't what I’d like them to be.’
The Buddha listened patiently.
‘I am married also,’ said the man. “She is a good wife, but sometimes she nags me too much and I get tired of her. I have kids, and sometimes they do not show me respect.’
The man went on like this with all his difficulties and worries, finally winding down as waiting for the Buddha to say the words that would put everything right.
“I can’t help you,’ the Buddha said.
‘What do you mean,’ asked the farmer. ‘I thought you were a great teacher.’
‘Everyone’s got problems,’ said the Buddha. ‘In fact we all have eighty-three problems; and there is nothing we can do about it. If you work really hard on one you might be able to fix it but another will pop into its place. Your problem is that you want to have no problems and I can not help you with that.”