by Thubten Chodron
Each day before breakfast, Sravasti Abbey founder and abbess Thubten Chodron gives a morning motivation for residents and guests. We welcome you into the Abbey community by sharing this brief Dharma discourse, transcribed from the collection of talks given October 2005 to May 2006.
You can find more teachings at www.thubtenchodron.org and http://www.sravastiabbey.org/video/Sravasti_Abbey_Videos.html
We all go through bad moods from time to time. It's part of our conditioning in cyclic existence. One of the main things that's going on when we're in a bad mood is that we want things to be different from the way they are.
Things are one way and our mind is saying, "Sorry, that's not acceptable. Things have to be another way, because I want them to be another way." This not accepting what's happening right now causes us so much misery and grief. No matter how much we sit in our bad mood and complain about how things are, things are the way they are, and what's happening is already happening.
Recently I was reading the "Inside Dharma" newsletter put out by my friend in St. Louis who does prison work. A 21-year-old inmate had written an article called "It Is What It Is.”
At the time, this young man was in “the hole,” where you don't want to be. It's an isolated, unpleasant place. He wrote about having a cellmate who likes to talk to people in other cells by screaming to them. The young man was saying how much that annoyed him. It was driving him crazy, actually, until he remembered something that Venerable Robina had said when she visited the prison: "It is what it is."
Repeatedly thinking about that, "It is what it is," he came to accept the situation. He doesn’t particularly like what his cellmate is doing when he is screaming, but he realizes that he doesn’t need to get upset about it. He can’t change it, he said, because his cellmate is on the verge of losing it and falling into violence, and he doesn't want to antagonize that person.
This inmate is learning acceptance. It is what it is. He’s not stuffing down his feelings, but he’s accepting the situation just by realizing that this is what is. He can't change the other person, he doesn't want to fight with him, and so he accepts it.
He came to have some peace in his mind just by accepting the way things are.
If we don't like what's happening in our life, then we have to come back to our understanding of karma and remember that it's a result of our previous actions. If we want things to be different, rather than reject what's happening now, we accept the situation, work with it, let go of our bad mood about it, and instead create the causes for having happiness in the future.
If we have a positive attitude that is happy to create the causes for future happiness, then the present bad mood will evaporate in and of itself as we create some acceptance for what is happening now. Because what is, is.
Technorati: Buddhism Buddha Buddhist Dharma Compassion Wisdom Religion Meditation Zen Philosophy Spirituality Inspiration Peace Insight
“Sariputra, if there are people who have already made the vow, who now make the vow, or who are about to make the vow, ‘I desire to be born in Amitabha’s country,’ these people, whether born in the past, now being born, or to be born in the future, all will irreversibly attain to anuttarasamyaksambodhi. Therefore, Sariputra, all good men and good women, if they are among those who have faith, should make the vow, ‘I will be born in that country.’”
~ Amitabha Sutra
When I obtain the Buddhahood, any being of the boundless and inconceivable Buddha-worlds of the ten quarters whose body if be touched by the rays of my splendour should not make his body and mind gentle and peaceful, in such a state that he is far more sublime than the gods and men, then may I not attain the enlightenment.
~ Amitabha Buddha's Thirty-Third Vow
Tuesday, October 21, 2008
by Thubten Chodron