I have to separate illusion from delusion constantly and this only comes from practice which is trial and error, right?
The delusion that the earthquake in Buddhist China was more than a painful occurance: From love I wish all peoples in all the disasters a speedy return to how they were if that is what they wish. If not I hope they will be able to take from their individual tragedies a renewal- an affirmation of their life, if that is what they are drawn to do.
I watched a documentary of Henry Rollins walking around Northern Ireland and as he was looking at the different small memorials to the dead on each side and at the provocative graffiti on the sides of apartment buildings he commented, “If you say that you’re cynical, that just means you aren’t listening.”
The illusion that the profound pain and difficulty being experienced by the survivors of these diasters (earthquakes, mine explosions, and a large airplane crash this year, and as always the harm from the pervasive and seemingly chronic armed political conflicts) is impermanent; that their emotions are not valid. If you yourself feel attached to the definition of impermance as in the values of a dead man, don’t drink any fluid for 3 days and you may learn how good it feels to be strong or healthy or at least aware- to be a sentient being, how fortunate you are. Or, in the same style, I heard this once at an Alcoholics Anonymous meeting (I was just walking by:): “A man walks by a boy who is hitting himself in the head with a hammer. The man yells over, ‘Boy, quit hitting yourself in the head! Why are you doing that, anyway?!’ Breathlessly the boy replies, ‘Because it feels so good when I stop.'”
The reality of delusion and illusion instructs me that I (we and us) can be of help to everyone in however small way every day that I/we/us can: Prayers throughout the day, an offering of an unsmug and authentic smile to a difficult grouch, A hand to hold for a sad friend (and the difficult grouch) or just spend a day being ‘awake’ which may lead to us not being petty, grouchy, or over-emotional to others. We can offer this easy and inexpensive nourishment to ourselves and our world continuously. Asleep and awake.
Norman Fischer writes: “…we human beings are creatures uniquely capable of living meaningless lives…”
I think this especially easy with a Western perspective and elsewhere from an affluent livelihood. Contentment does not release me from concern- and certainly not from positive actions. Buddhism, to me, allows an open heart to thrive; And encourages me to become stronger and useful. I am alive.
Annatta is there to give perspective- not a reason to not care.I’m not sure of the time frame but every cell in our body is replaced (cloned, perhaps?) continuously. Growing up the only vegetables I would eat were canned green beans (with lots of butter and black pepper:) and griled corn on the cob (with lots of butter and salt), and now there probably isn’t a vegetable I wont eat- ‘Mom I just ate a salad with a raw green pepper!’ My tastes have changed- I haven’t changed though- I am still changing.