Pain Is Inevitable, Suffering Is Optional.

Pain is of two kinds, mental and physical. Both are experienced by all living beings and we humans are no exception. While most people can handle physical pain with medicines or by learning to live with it, almost all, cannot manage mental pain. Mind being a monkey, it keeps going back to the pain to re-live, experience and even get a perverse joy in that experience. Quite a few even make big shows of experiencing pain long after the cause has disappeared.

I am a follower of the Indian philosophical system of Vedanta, which teaches detachment called titiksha in Sanskrit. Titiksha along with the other five qualities that are mentioned in the Wikipedia article makes a person face life’s vicissitudes with poise and detachment. Followers of such teachings do not suffer. Since there are ways to avoid suffering, not taking recourse to them is the option one exercises.

All spiritual systems teach adherents how to handle mental pain and Buddhism is no exception.  Here is a Zen story to teach the same.

I hope that you enjoyed my take on this Friday’s 2 on 1 post. I had suggested the topic. My fellow blogger too would have some thoughts on this subject and you can read them here.

Karma.

My regular readers know that I am a great believer in the theory of karma.

Often, there are stories that makes one wonder why somethings happen one way when similar instances end up with different outcomes.

There are many stray dogs everywhere but some get adopted and get homes and most don’t. Why should this happen?

There is no logical explanation except that the dogs that get adopted do so because they are enjoying the fruit of some good action in the past and the adopters are enjoying a fruit of their own past actions.

Here is the first story to illustrate the phenomenon.

And the second.

Ajahn Chah.


Please click on the image to get a larger resolution.

I received these four books as a gift parcel from my cousin Shankar who had a fascinating tale to tell me about them.

Shankar was quite attached to a young lad who was his nephew’s classmate from school. This young lad is now 41 and having emigrated to Canada some years ago, for the past few years has been a Buddhist Monk there.

The monk has returned to India for a short visit to meet up with his past and had invited Shankar over to his family’s home to meet him and some other friends who have also come from Canada with him.

Shankar bought some of the books that the school to which the young monk belongs and sent them to me for the simple reason that he felt that I was the only one in the family who would enjoy reading them and also perhaps understand the contents.

I was quite intrigued as to his motivation and asked him on the phone as to what made him decide to choose me to receive the gifts and he said something that has been resonating with me since our talk. He said that I was the only one that he knew who had gone deeply into matters spiritual and also the only one who has more or less become very comfortable being on his own with his books and spiritual pursuits. Obviously, this is the image that I have in my family and I am very pleased that I am thought of as being like this.

Coming to the books, I had never heard of Ajahn Chah. My son Ranjan had a few Thai classmates in college who used to come home often and one of them even became a monk. I therefore knew that Thailand has a vibrant Buddhist environment and that there are many schools of Buddhism there.

I am intrigued enough with the new books to drop all other reading material that I have in the pipe line to read all these four books. If at the end of it all, I find anything interesting, I shall blog again about my impressions.