Monday, November 1, 2010

Choosing to walk on this Path

Sukhamala Sutta

Read this beautiful sutta today..Sukhamala Sutta

'Subject to birth, subject to aging, subject to death,

I am often asked by people, what made me take to this path.
Why do I go for Vipassana courses?
I am a Psychologist; my undergraduation, Masters and PhD were in Psychology.
So people assume I should know whatever there is to know about human behaviour.
Hasn't my education trained me in this direction?

This is true, my education did train me to understand human behavior,
but I was not satisfied with it as I could not fully understand myself the way I could in a Vipassana course.
Another question I frequently encounter with people is--
Did I suffer any personal misfortune or tragedy, that forced me on to this path?.
My sister's untimely and sudden, tragic death seem to give some rationale or explanation
for my engagement in Vipassana courses.
But is this really necessary? Does one have to face misfortune or tragedy to take to this path?
What if life has generally been treating you well, and you have a good, pleasant lifestyle,
will you not take to this path?

The Sukhamala Sutta, gave me answers to these questions I was pondering on.
The Buddha, as a bodhisatta, enjoyed all the luxuries a Prince of his time did
--perhaps even more, as his father, was not too happy with the prediction that he would become "The Buddha" ,
and therefore surrounded him with comforts.
Yet, in spite of living in these comforts, he says--if I am repulsed by those who suffer,
that's not befitting of me, because I am also a human being like them,
and therefore can in all likelihood be in similar state as them. In other words, suffer like them.
So why do I find such sights difficult to bear? Why am I repulsed by the sight of their suffering?
And then he says as he noticed this, his intoxication with life, youth and health dropped away.

It is when you are intoxicated with life, youth and health that you engage in various forms misconduct
causing harm to yourself and others.
His intoxication with life ceased and there was no way he could see himself engaging in sensual pleasures
and could renounce them all.
Thus the path towards enlightenment.

Therefore, it is not necessary that you face a misfortune or tragedy in order to walk this path.
Having experienced, pleasure and pleasure alone, can help a person see the emptiness of such a life
and thus disgust towards it.

1 comment:

  1. Beautiful. I remember a line from Hafiz, I think, the sufi poet..."Once the bird is let out of the cage, it will never return..."