Thursday, 24 February 2011

A simple meal, a not-so-simple lesson

I always believe things happened for a reason, and the people we meet are meant to teach us a lesson or two.

While volunteering during the Dharma event the past weekend, we were provided with generous packets of vegetarian lunches and dinners everyday. One of the days, most volunteers were having their dinner during break time, while I had already finished mine.  I saw one of the devotees whom I meet regularly during pujas and big events.  I had even mentioned him in this blog previously.

To be frank, whenever I see him, I always try to avoid him because he is mostly sarcastic in his speech, and I get a little disturbed whenever he talked to me or asked me things in a very negative and challenging way. He has an eccentric way of speaking to you very softly, almost like whispering, very secretively. Often his eyes would be looking at the floor. Otherwise he would be furtively looking around left and right as if to make sure others do not hear him. Whenever I see him, he would complain to me about many people. Mostly I just brushed him off and changed subject or smiled without replying.

Anyway, I saw this devotee in a distance. Compared to normal times, he did not approach me that day. I think he was avoiding me in case I was going to ask him to make some offerings. One elderly volunteer aunty, whom I respect, went up to him and asked him if he had taken his dinner. While he hesitated for a reply, she asked if he would like a packet of dinner. Again he hesitated but it was obvious he had not eaten. I was touched to see this volunteer aunty offering him dinner (possibly her own dinner) although the man was not a volunteer, as if knowing he was hungry and that he had skipped dinner. This volunteer aunty embodies the true spirit of giving without prejudice. A shining example.

We are often so preoccupied with our own problems and in search of our own happiness. We never really think of others. We are selfish because everything revolves around us. We do not care about others. It's only "me, me, me" all the time. I have a lot to learn. Although I do still get freaked out a little by people whom I am not familiar with, on and off stalking me incessantly, I have to remind myself that these people need help in one way or another, or just a little attention. Would it take so much from me to shower them with a little attention?

Each of us has our own deluded eccentricities. It is just that some are more obvious, some are not or some are hidden. In short, everyone is suffering. The Buddha said that we have 84,000 delusions/problems within us which have the potential to ripen. That was why the Buddha gave 84,000 teachings to eradicate the 84,000 delusions of the mind. Whether everyone gets healed or rid totally of their obstacles depends on the individual's karmic past. How karma works depend upon individuals and their willingness to learn from their karmic situations, to overcome the obstacles. The beauty of the Dharma is, besides healing ourselves, we can learn to heal others. Through the kindness of the Three Jewels, in the form of the guru, it awakens our compassionate heart and through observing the problems faced by our fellow sentient beings, we learn to heal ourselves. And by healing ourselves, we can then, in turn, heal others. May everyone with inherent delusions be healed completely.

"Why do you feel elated when praised and dejected when criticized? It's because you don't accept the way things truly are. It's a trip. You're controlled by your hallucinating mind, which is totally divorced from reality. Your up and down emotions are like clouds in the sky; beyond them, the real, basic human nature is clear and pure."  ~ Lama Yeshe

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