Posted by: Michael Rickicki | 08/02/2017

Enslaved by Sense Pleasures

It seems to me that married life and romantic relationships in general offer very little in the way of spiritual sustenance and, truth be told, are a breeding ground for the defilements. Yes, when held correctly a marriage and its attendant responsibilities can help one cultivate the paramis of dana and khanti in particular but beyond that, in my own experience, they don't do much for helping one tread other aspects of the path. In fact, I not often than not find myself angry and resentful. So, what to do?

The standard, non-Dhammic answers we get from people like our therapists and friends just don't seem to cut it. Most of these suggestions revolve around getting your desires and expectations met: goals which are base and adhamma. Clearly I would like to be treated better (who wouldn't) but that is an expectation and not the way things are. Besides, this is my kamma and my choices now perpetuate this situation.

This is ALL of my making. I could run for the hills if I cared solely about being treated a certain way. But is having everyone around me be nice to me possible? Unless you're some kind tin pot potentate surrounded by sycophants I don't think it's going to happen but would you really want that?

This resentment, bitterness, this dis-ease lives in my heart. It's not out there in another person so it really does seem to me that the issue at hand is dealing with it without excuses and without trying to assign blame. As a result, I may quit seeing my therapist because, despite being nominally Buddhist, he has spoken to me more about the Bhagavad Gita than other other religious text and seems thoroughly wedded to the Western materialist view of life. In other words, the idea of kamma has never come up in our discussions.

So, with all that being as it may, I need to make the asseveration again to bear insult and injury without complaint while holding fast to the idea that I'm no less worthy of kindness and compassion because if it. May I reflect on the Kakacupama Sutta and may I create the conditions for liberation in this life so that I may never again waste such a precious opportunity by enslaving myself to the pursuit of sense pleasures.

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