Posted by: Upāsaka | 11/18/2018

Taking on the Unpleasant

Yesterday I happened to overhear a conversation where a group of strangers on a train banded together to gossip about another couple of strangers who had been looking for seats on the crowded train. When asked if a bag could be moved to make room, the person (who would later be a gossip) replied that she would not do it. Later, when the couple left, this person complained about how she didn’t want to be uncomfortable for the duration by having to share a seat with someone.

I had a lot of judgement of her and the other gossips which was equally unfair to them but more than anything out got me thinking about the kind of person I want to be until I am able to find release. I want to be someone who willingly sacrifices my comfort for a stranger. I want to be someone who volunteers to undertake the unpleasant. I want to be strong enough of mind and heart to put others before me. And yet I worry that I will burn out. I worry that it’s not possible.

So be it. Maybe it is not always possible and maybe I will fail a thousand times. As long as I try a thousand one times I won’t have failed for good. As much as I try to give up this bodhisattva attitude it just doesn’t seem to want to go away and keeps coming back despite my attempts to cut it off and remove it. Perhaps in some later life or at another time I will put it down again but it seems to me that striving for complete enlightenment as a Buddha in incalculable eons is where my practice is currently pointing me. Yes, I will have to be reborn in hells for untold numbers of lives but I don’t see anyway around that. At least if I am recién as a hell being with bodhisattva intentions I can help to bring those beings with whom I’ve made contact to liberation. Without it, I’m making no meaningful kammic connections.

May I always take on what others do not wish to do.

May I sacrifice my comfort for the good of others.


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