My respect to all.
My earliest memories are of Shwedagon Pagoda – memories that have always been my sanctuary through a lifetime of travels, studies and more than a fair share of stupidity. Fast forward through marriage, births, deaths, and all of the mixed experiences that karma brings.
Now my time is spent looking after the elderly sick and dying people in a nursing home.
Having decided to move back to SE Asia I decide to read up on Theravada Buddhism and the forest tradition in particular because of where I will be living. Started reading – first reaction is that I know far less than I believed I did. Lord Buddha tells us to listen and question not to be attracted by his obvious qualities. This works for me as I was brought up in the western scientific traditions – the only way that you can prove a theory is to try and disprove it.
So I read more, um... 4 Noble Truths – then go to work – what do I see universal suffering and the reality that birth will bring. Looking after people from all sorts of like circumstances; rich and poor, city and country, educated and uneducated successful and unsuccessful – none of this matters because suffering comes to all. What I see all around me is grief. Loss of loved ones neighbors pets, houses, social position … the list continues.
Reflect back to my education (economic at university) where I was taught that “needs and wants are unlimited but resources are not”. Buddha has taught that it is grasping that has caused us to be born in the first place and keeps us in the cycle of birth and death. Economics has taught me that the material and sensory desires will never to fulfill. Even those who believed that they had achieved goals of wealth and social position have lost most before they even pass. So these things are only temporary and serve as an illusion that blindfolds us.
This is all a bit black so back to study the lessons of Buddha – the Nobel 8 Fold Path … this is where the light is.
OK I could go on but I will not make you suffer with my writing any more beyond saying that this should serve to introduce me. Looking forward to spending time here.
Love and best wishes to all, Paul