Struggling is an inescapable a part of life. The sutras inform us that each individual has a nature to be born, to develop outdated, to get sick, and to die. On high of that, we lose the issues we would like. And we acquire the issues we do not need.
One solution to cope with struggling is to run from it. We run in direction of pleasure, we run away from ache. And within the midst of all that working, we ignore the sling and arrows of life which might be nipping at our heels. We all know they will catch us ultimately, however we hold working anyway.
In Buddhism, we take a special strategy. We stand nonetheless. We await struggling to catch us. And when the time is correct, we attain out, we seize it with each fingers, and we maintain our struggling shut. We embrace it as a buddy.
As Buddhists, we do that not as a result of we take pleasure in struggling; removed from it. We’re simply sick of working on a regular basis.
Once we do that, once we look deep into the eyes of our guilt and our despair, one thing shifts. And we discover happiness the place struggling was once. As a homesteader, I expertise this day-after-day.
Now that it is winter, the air is chilly. The bottom is muddy, and my chickens’ water retains freezing because of the frigid temperatures.
I hate the chilly. I hate sliding round within the mud. However my animals want recent water. Greater than that, they’re buddhas who should be handled properly.
So, thrice a day I courageous the mud and the chilly to take care of them.
Within the moments earlier than I depart the home my head is stuffed with ineffective ideas. I ponder how for much longer winter will final. I fear concerning the patches of ice that litter the bottom. The ideas proceed once I step out on my porch.
The wind will get inside my coat; freezing my pores and skin. And as I sit right down to placed on my work boots, my knees crack and pop like kindling in a hearth.
Issues get higher once I stroll out to the rooster coop. The hens cluck and run round in circles as I strategy. I do not know in the event that they’re pleased to see me, or in the event that they’re excited concerning the mealworms I am about to present them as a deal with. I suppose it does not matter.
I throw some mealworms into their coop, and so they descend upon them like zombies attacking a corpse. Whereas they’re distracted, I change their frozen water for the liquid selection. I additionally high off their meals provide to make sure they will have loads to eat once I’m gone.
After I depart the coop I place my fingers in gassho, and I chant “Namu Amida Butsu” eighteen instances; thrice for every fowl. Then I wait. The chickens coo with contentment as they eat the worms, after which one after the other they run over to the water feeder for a drink.
As I watch them lap the water into their beaks, one thing shifts. The wind remains to be freezing my pores and skin, nevertheless it’s additionally refreshing every time breathe it into my lungs. My knees are nonetheless sore, however I really feel like they’ll stroll a couple of extra miles.
All of my struggling is right here, however as I watch the chickens eat and drink, it is joined by one thing else; happiness.
I am pleased as a result of in a world the place every of us is doomed to delivery, getting older, illness, and dying, I could make life higher for the residing beings underneath my care.
As Buddhists, that is how we stay. We glance deep into the struggling of our lives, and we discover moments the place we will make issues higher. Buddhism is washing the dishes when it is not our flip. It is serving to our neighbor shovel their driveway, and sharing a form phrase with our companion earlier than mattress.
Buddhism is discovering happiness in a world stuffed with struggling.
Once we do that, our trials and tribulations aren’t one thing to keep away from. As an alternative, they’re alternatives to convey gentle into the world.