Life is continuous change. Nothing is constant. The four sufferings of birth, old age, sickness, and death are universal. Amid this harsh reality, we yearn from the depths of our being to live with dignity and for our lives to have meaning, and we make efforts toward that end.

Buddhism teaches that it is our fundamental attitude to problems and the suffering which usually accompanies them that determines the extent to which we win or lose in creating a happy life. When we look at the lives of great people of the past, we find that they remained undefeated by life’s hardships, by life’s unpredictable waves, and that they held fast to hopes that seemed fantastic dreams to most. Moreover, they let nothing stop or discourage them from realizing those aspirations. They were able to do this because their hopes themselves were not limited to personal desire or self-interest, but were based on a wish for the happiness of humanity. This gave them extraordinary conviction and confidence.

We experience all will experience suffering. That is the reality of life. But each of us possesses the power to face and overcome our obstacles. The point is whether we believe this and are actually able to manifest this strength. To be defeated by suffering and filled with complaint is to be shackled by our karma. It is by squarely facing our suffering that we are able to transform it into something that is part of the purpose of our lives. By overcoming it our ability to achieve our purpose in life becomes strengthened. It is by challenging and overcoming difficulties as ordinary people that we demonstrate our own Buddha nature.

Peace and Love, Jim

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