Reasons Why You Should Read This Book!
Recently, Rinpoche has instructed me to read up this book and to write a blog post about it. At first I did not think much of this book and I was just judging the book by its cover, thinking that it wouldn’t be interesting. Not long after reading the book, I started realizing how much it relates to me and in this case, most of us. If you read this book, I am sure you will be surprised by its accuracy and on-point explanation, it basically describes about our lives and the problems that we constantly face. If you want to get this book, it is available here.
How I feel about this book:
I believe this book is very beneficial for all of us to read. This book has widen up my mind and taught me how to look at things from different perspectives. It also teaches me how to become a better and kinder person. What do I mean by being a better person? Being a better person does not mean you HAVE to be a Buddhist, you HAVE to pray to Lord Buddha, you HAVE to sit under a tree and meditate. No, being a better person has nothing to do with our religious choices, you can be a Christian, Hindu, Muslim, Jewish and so on, the point is not the religion. What I mean about being a better person is that we become more kind, more aware of our speech and action, learn how to solve the problems that we come across independently. Below are some of the points that stuck out to me, of course these are just a few of them. I highly recommend everyone to read this book, not only that it inspires me to become a better person, it also broadens up my mind.
Dharma is about developing a beautiful and harmonious relationship with people around us. Although from the outside it may seem like there’s no difference between doing secular work and dharma work, but in actuality, Dharma brings all of us closer to one another, we learn to accept and forgive each other’s flaws.
If we seek for a change in relationships with our partner, parents, siblings, friends and so on, we don’t find faults in others and we don’t blame others for who they really are. No one is perfect, therefore we have to abandon our expectations and just accept ‘samsara’. Yes it’s a big word I know, it takes a lot of determination and practice but if we are sincere about changing, it can definitely happen. Since we are in Dharma, we should learn to let go of the past and focus on the present and make the best out of it. We must always be nice to others irregardless of how they treat us.
Giving does not necessarily need to be done physically in the form of giving gifts and so on. Giving can also be expressed through actions, thoughts and words, but how? By stop talking back and being defensive to people when they confront us or when they are just generally questioning us. If you find it difficult, you can start with talking nicely and respectfully to your parents, partners, friends, colleagues and so on.
Letting Go and Moving On
We must learn to let go of our attachments, be it in the form of branded items like cars, bags, houses, antiques, jewelries, money, food, love, hate, likes, dislikes, friends, parents, relationships, siblings, everything that is existent in samsara because they are all unreliable and impermanent, nothing is permanent. When they are gone, we should just learn to let it go. It will definitely hurt a lot but there’s no point of holding on to it so tightly. I am not saying that we should just abandon all these and go to meditate in a cave, what I am saying is that we must not be overly-attached to all of these. It’s impossible to forget about our attachments in one night, but if we are determined to make the change, slowly we will realise that we become lighter and happier.
What Happens When We Don’t Let Go?
Being too attached to someone or something will not bring us anything but suffering and upon the time of death, there’s a higher chance of us taking rebirth in the three lower realms. The reason why spirits exist is because they are too attached to their attachments and therefore they have created the karma to come back as spirits to linger around their possessions. What kind of possessions? Anything, you name it, be it a person, a place, a branded bag, jewelries and mostly our own gross body. I have heard about a story of a person who was tremendously attached to his treasures and even at the time of death, he still could not let go. He eventually taken rebirth and returned as a snake that resides around his residence to ‘guard’ his treasures. But the thing is that, what can he do with all the treasures now? Whatever outer wealth we have in this life can never be brought to our next life, it has never happened before and it will not, it’s impossible.
One of the best ways to live happily is by reducing our anger. But how? By stop pointing fingers at others even if they are at fault, because with actions like this, we create more unhappiness. When a person is wrong, we correct him/ her in a friendly manner in order to avoid arguments. There are times where we just want to look good and win the argument, then we end up hurting these people and leaving them no choice but to stay away from us. We must not expect others to change, we should be the one to transform for the better. We may be able to convince a few people to change and sometimes, they really do. But do bear in mind, the world does not revolve around us and therefore we can’t expect everyone around us to change and we just stay as where we are. To think like that, it shows how arrogant and selfish we are, how do we deserve happiness if we were to think and act this way?
Nothing is Permanent
Everything is impermanent and because nothing is permanent, we have to make the best out of everything we can now before it is too late. For example, I am still living under my parents’ ‘big umbrella’, but how long more can I stay under their umbrella? 5 years? 10 years? 20 years? Eventually it will come a time where they have to pass on as well and the umbrella will be gone forever. Just like what Kensur Jampa Yeshe Rinpoche said: “That way of living- depending on the wealth of our parents, family or love ones- is a speedy way of burning up our merit and creating the causes for not having any later.” So what will happen to me when my merits are all used up? Isn’t it better to start being independent now so that we can survive in the outside world when out parents are gone? For me, I will continue to study harder, finish my homework without having being prompted to, use my free time to think of what I want to study and what to be in the future.
Projection is also another thing which we must let go of. We have been projecting our expectations lifetimes after lifetimes, therefore it has become a ‘natural state of mind’ for almost every single one of us and that makes it very difficult for us to overcome. But it is not impossible, projection is the main cause of arguments, disharmony, conflicts and disappointments. We cry, we fight and we do all sorts of things, be it to get someone back or just simply to release our emotions. All these arise from false projections/ expectations.
We must always appreciate and cherish all the good things we possess now, for example the Dharma. Serve our guru with tremendous respect even if the guru manifests what may seem ‘negative’ in our silly mind. The guru is the most important portal for us to achieve enlightenment, without the guru, there will be no Dharma; without the Dharma, there will be no liberation from all sufferings. Therefore, it is very important to serve the guru with respect and love, treat him the way how we would treat the Buddha.
Attachment to Happiness and Attachment to Hatred
This is also one of the main things which we have to look after in our lives. Emotions are just temporary feelings, it changes according to the situation and environment, it does not stay stagnant. Take our mother for example, when she’s nice and buys us what we want, we can be very nice to her, treat her with a lot of care and love and give her the best we can (for that moment). But the moment she stops doing it, we can immediately become angry and yell at her. Our current state of mind is as unstable as an animal, for example a dog. When we are nice to our dog, feed it well and give it a lot of love, of course it will become attached to us automatically. But the moment we start abusing it, the feeling of loved and the sense of belonging can be immediately turned into fear. We cannot really blame the animals because they do not have high intelligence like how we do, so what excuse do we have now? There’s no point of being attached to temporary emotions because again, nothing is permanent.
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