Saturday, February 26, 2011

graduating challenges

Every once in a while there's a teaching that with pop up in a book, in a Dharma talk, in a friend's blog post, (or in a friend's blog post about a Dharma talk!), about suffering being the Buddha's compassion.

At first, it was a teaching I had to approach with intellectual reasoning (which is only shallow), but lately it's been something I've been truly learning through experience.

When I met EunBong, I was at a fairly peaceful place in my life, perhaps the most I'd been ever (it's probably the reason I finally didn't mess things up!). Lately, I've been trying to figure out where that peace went (having a baby would be the first obvious answer!), why I'm having such a difficult time now when I figured I would be progressing steadily ("equanimity" is the word of the week, may I one day have experiential knowledge!).

I think the truth might be, this is progression. Three years ago, I had all the solitude I wanted, all the quiet time I wanted, I could go to bed and wake up at which ever time I wanted, and my salary was more than enough for myself. But a very important element in spiritual advancement was absent; challenge. I must have graduated from Dharma Kindergarten and now I'm struggling to adjust to life in elementary school (well, maybe this is middle school, there's definitely that awkward, going through puberty kind of feeling...).

The word "path" generally has a pleasant connotation, in my delusion, anyway. But maybe it would be more helpful and pragmatic to understand that when embarking on a path, obstacles are to be anticipated. They are a necessary aspect of the path. Lately, I've been struggling with thoughts of life being overwhelming, thoughts that have no effect on making things anything easier. Instead, realizing that this is the soil for growth, I'm encouraged that the Dharma Realm has this much confidence in me! After all, no good teacher wants their student to fail, just for them to be challenged.

Just writing this has helped me understand even to a greater depth than when I typed the first sentence. It occurrs to me that my challenges probably aren't any greater or lesser than anyone else's, they are fit for what I'm prepared to take on. Relatively, that's what we are all hopefully dealing with.


  1. How do we experience our life?

    This is the question of been asking lately . . . because the "how" is what I bring to life, I create my "experience" in response to causes and conditions. Darn it.

  2. Love it. And I love the photo that goes with this post too. Yes, sometimes that path which we imagine as so beautiful can be an uphill slog! But, thank goodness, some one has been before us, getting all the steps in place! Thank you Joseph! _/\_

  3. In addition to taking all that is happening as teaching moments, it helps to rmember to take care of ourselves too. A cup of tea would be nice. :-) Thank you for sharing your struggles and please take a moment to sip that tea! :-D