Wednesday, February 18, 2009

seems like all good stories start with two monks that went walking

How timely that we're covering Buddhism in my World Religions class; I've been needing to reaffirm my philosophies lately. Yes, I know suffering is caused by desire. I know that is the nature of living, and I accept it, but I still haven't perfected the Middle Way, between self denial and self indulgence. This whole "my car is DEAD" thing could have bothered me more, but I barely broke a sweat. I just accept it as an event, a chance to ride my bike more, walk more, and spend more time at home organizing and whatnot. It's not too hard for me to let go of material things I already have when the time comes, but it has taken practice (which was painful at the time). It all just disintegrates, anyways. It's pure physics.

The buying of a new car, however, is fraught with potential-anguish-pitfalls. Desire leads to suffering. Maybe that sad feeling I have inside when I think about the gorgeous Acura that I saw on craigslist and decided was MEANT FOR ME (but sold while I was on my way over to test drive it) is a good example of this; that car carries with it a certain amount of status, that I now feel like I can't attain. I desired that particular car and I am disappointed. That sadness manifested itself through a snowball of childish, covetous thoughts and behaviors; wanting to feel important, wanting to take Helen for a ride in my mom's car before returning it (to impress?), stopping impulsively for ice cream, checking my phone a million times to see if I got a reply to a certain text message. The end feeling to all of this was depression! At least I saw it coming.

Aside from shiny cars, only personal-life stuff is freaking me out right now. I can't help but fear that Bill isn't in fact being genuine about how he feels, because that's apparently what Brian was up to. And Tom.

But a new acquaintance told me a cool story of two monks who went walking, and it really helped. Moral of the story: let it go, and keep walking.

Two traveling monks reached a river where they met a young woman. Wary of the current, she asked if they could carry her across. One of the monks hesitated, but the other quickly picked her up onto his shoulders, transported her across the water, and put her down on the other bank. She thanked him and departed.

As the monks continued on their way, the one was brooding and preoccupied. Unable to hold his silence, he spoke out. "Brother, our spiritual training teaches us to avoid any contact with women, but you picked that one up on your shoulders and carried her!"

"Brother," the second monk replied, "I set her down on the other side, while you are still carrying her."

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