No Other Land. . .
Buddhism is in everyday life, it is in every moment. We do not need to pump ourselves up that we are better than others or put ourselves down for being less than others. All we have to do is walk the path, noticing our thoughts, feelings and actions and what brings us joy and what brings us distress. As the Buddha says, although we often don’t notice it our actions are driven by our thoughts: underlying thoughts create feelings that drive our behavior, what we do. So because it’s hard to notice the underlying thoughts often the best we can do is to reflect on what we did: “How come I got angry when So-and-So said that?” We have to rewind and notice the sequence of moments that made up our experience. This is another way that we care for ourselves: we take ourselves seriously and we notice how others impact us, how they trigger our wounds, and we then attend to those wounds. In the Buddha’s time, there was a famous murderer called Angulimala who was terrorizing local villages. He had a necklace of fingers around his neck, taken from the people he had killed. He was driven by trying to control others to make everyone afraid of him so that he would never have to be hurt. The monks were too scared to go out and beg for food. The Buddha was not worried and walked into the nearby village to beg for food. He heard a man starting to run from behind him. It was Angulimala. Angulimala shouted, “Why aren’t you running? I am going to kill you.” The Buddha said, “I have stopped running a long time ago. You are the one who is still running: running from your mind.” In order to work with how we behave we need to notice the underlying thoughts or feelings that are driving our behavior: the emotional impulse or motivation behind why we say something or do something in any particular moment. We must live in the present, launch ourself on every wave, find our eternity in each moment. Fools stand on their islands of opportunities and look toward another land. There is no other land; there is no other life but this.
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