The foolish person thinks,
'these children are mine, this wealth is mine’,
but we do not even own this very mind and body,
much less our children and wealth.
Dhammapada verse. 62.
Life is not fair.
Sometimes life can feel frustrating.
We look around the world and see cruelty, suffering and pain and feel helpless. We don't know what to do.
No matter how much we try, even with the best intentions we cannot convince others to be kind, compassionate, honest and caring and a little voice in the head shouts, 'it's not fair. '
And that voice is right, it's not fair, but fairness is a human concept and does not exist outside the human mind. Life itself is impersonal and only an endless stream of conditions, one creating the environment for the next. An endless flow of impersonal moments continuing into infinity.
So, as disciples of Dhamma, what is our place in the moment when we feel overwhelmed by a feeling of impotence and struggle to make a fair world?
Actually the answer is unpleasantly simple.
It is the recognition that no matter how noble, how pure and how loving we feel our intentions to be, the only being we can actually take responsibility for is ourselves. We can tell stories, quote scriptures and argue facts but in the end Dhamma and it's infinite purity and love, is heard or not.
Perhaps it's like the cigarette smoker, the heavy drinker or the meat eater? We can offer a thousand arguments why they should stop, but until their own heart speaks they will not only continue, but argue for their right to do it.
We can't make others understand we can only live a loving, compassionate and caring life for ourselves. This is such a deep and profound teaching that we need to reflect upon its importance often. We take responsibility for our own personal conduct and make the emotional space for the world to go its own way. Even if we don't approve, even if we are frustrated by it, even if it's painful.
However, this does not ever mean that we are helpless, dreaming puppets in a world of manipulation and should simply stand by and allow injustice and any form of cruelty and abuse to take place, but to remember the true cause of these things. We live in an unawakened world and so must understand that that beings are the way they are, and so act in accordance with their understanding of life. However, you are the way that you are and you need to reflect, 'what is my contribution to the world? More anger, more frustration, more confusion, more shouting that it's not fair, or a loving embrace of reality and then a wise and caring response?'
Dhamma is about love. It is always about love, first for ourselves and then outwards into the universe to connect with all beings equally and without exception. When we live from this unconditional acceptance of reality we are already free, free to accept the behaviour of the unawakened world, free to be above its cruel and unjust influence and free to respond as our heart determines.
This is the way of Dhamma.
May all beings be happy.
I am turning on the light, where does the darkness go?
Integrity is the heart of Dhamma, this means to be clear! When we are clear our life is clear, when we are confused, our life is confused. The equations in Dhamma are always very simple. Live with love and be aware, everything else is just words - noises in the air!
Buttons in the Dana Box by Michael Kewley