Sometimes, in difficult times when our lives seem to be falling apart, it is useful to see things from a different perspective. It reminds us that the way we see things in any given moment is just a perspective, and that changing the way we see something can change its meaning and our response.
As I understand it, Buddhism is not a religion, but a way of life that holds happiness, compassion, and relief from suffering as its goal. And Buddhist wisdom teaches us that while the pain of being human brings suffering, there are perspectives and responses we can adopt that will relieve our suffering. It is through suffering that we learn how to be happy in any circumstances.
We should find the truth in this world, through our difficulties, through our suffering. This is the basic teaching of Buddhism. Pleasure is not different from difficulty. Good is not different from bad. Bad is good; good is bad. Shunryu Suzuki Roshi Zen Mind, Beginner’s Mind
Fearlessness is a simple gesture of accepting whatever there is. This is what’s happening in this moment. It can’t be other than this. This is what it is, and the truth is alwayssoothing Sylvia Boorstein (source unknown).
Like an old man watching children at play, we need to see through our own seriousness. No matter how seriously the children go about their games, the old man is amused and never for a moment takes them to be real. We can watch our own thoughts and emotions in the same way. Without taking them so seriously, we can see them as children of play and give them lots of space. Dzigar Kongtruel Rinpoche It’s Up to You: The Practice of Self-Reflection on the Buddhist Path
As we open to what is actually happening in any given moment, whatever it is, or might be, rather than running away from it, we become increasingly aware of our lives as one small part of a vast fabric made of an evanescent, fleeting, shimmering pattern of turnings. Sharon Salzberg Faith: Trusting Your Own Deepest Experience
None of the antidotes to stress – numbing ourselves, running away, the various therapies – will ever really get to the root of it. We actually hold onto our stress. It is a way of holding onto our positions, our beliefs, our sense of being right – our self. In that tightness and rigidity, the body cannot deal with it and the mind cannot deal with it. We suffer because we will not let go John Daido Loori, Roshi. Mountain Record of Zen Talks (Dharma Communications)
If any of these quotes really speaks to you, perhaps copy it out and read it every day. Or come back to this post often to remind yourself that changing the way you see something, can change everything.
Quotes found in Shambala Sun, May 2009
Zen Mind, Beginner’s Mind by Shunryu Suzuki Roshi
It’s Up to You: The Practice of Self-Reflection on the Buddhist Path by Dzigar Kongtruel Rinpoche
Faith: Trusting Your Own Deepest Experience by Sharon Salzberg
Mountain Record of Zen Talks (Dharma Communications)by John Daido Loori
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