The following is an excerpt from a teaching by Jetsunma Ahkon Lhamo called “Take Control of Your Life”
First there’s contemplation. We should think like this. All sentient beings are suffering, yet they are all Buddha. How is it that the Buddha was different, that he was not suffering? The Buddha said the difference is, “I am awake.” Therefore, I will practice in such a way as to become awake like the Buddha. Or we can also look at the suffering of sentient beings and we realize that every one of them wishes to be happy exactly like us. We’re so similar; we have different cultures and different colored skin, but we are so similar in that we all wish to be happy. And so the Buddha teaches us that in order to have happiness, we should cultivate a pure and virtuous mind with pure and virtuous deeds.
Now as a young person in a materialistic culture where’s there’s lots of Pepsi Cola and dancing and beautiful people and spring break from college happens on the beach in a bikini and you know, the hallmarks of our civilization, we look at that and we think, ”Pure conduct? Virtuous thoughts? How’s that gonna be fun?”
Well, here’s the problem: You see those young beautiful bodies on the beach, and you think, “Ah, once I had that, was like that.” And then you see they’re all dancing and having a good time and you think, “Ah, for a party. I haven’t had a party in such a long time. How wonderful to be that young and beautiful and have a party.” And then you watch them drinking and you think, “Ah, I used to drink once. That was great!” Because that’s what we were taught. We were taught that we should party and be happy. And that’s what you do with your left over money after you spend all your life making it. These are the things that we’ve been taught.
But the Buddha says, “Well, you have that wonderful body now, but every minute it’s changing.” And for those of us who have been there, and done that, seen that and watched it go, we look at that and we go, “It went fast. Man, it went fast. And you know, I put some effort into that.” And then we think about all the drinking, and that was fun for a little while until we became alcoholics and then it wasn’t fun anymore, or until our stomachs couldn’t take it anymore and then we discovered something. We’re drinking poison! It’s not good for us. So our society doesn’t teach us anything. It teaches us to bang into walls and hopefully from that we may learn something.
Copyright © Jetsunma Ahkon Norbu Lhamo All rights reserved