By the way, samsara has always sucked. Buddha predicted, and Geshe Kelsang Gyatso and other Buddhist teachers have been saying for years, that we would be, and are, living in increasingly degenerate times. Maybe we have been sort of lucky in this human life so far, and samsara has moreorless spared us its worst ravages; or maybe we have not.
(Carrying on from this article.)
However, I am noticing recently that the deceptive nature of samsara has become more obvious to many people, and our complacency is thus being a little challenged. Our usual expectation of progress and our usual ways of fixing things are not working so well. And that this is good (only) in so far as it is motivating some more people to find solutions from a different source, changing the future by changing the mind.
What is samsara?
Samsara is not a place. Sometimes, when things go wrong, for example when someone’s credit card is stolen, I think we say to each other, “Samsara is horrible!”, with a sense that there is a real horrible samsara out there. And it is true that samsara is horrible, but it is not true that it is out there. As Geshe Kelsang Gyatso says in Joyful Path of Good Fortune:
Samsara does not exist outside ourself. Therefore, we cannot become liberated merely by abandoning our possessions, changing our lifestyle, or becoming a nun or a monk.
Samsara is a creation of our own delusions. Get rid of these once and for all by realizing that everything is the nature of mind … and there is no samsara, only the Pure Land. Right here, right now.
The end of the world as we know it, therefore, is not the end of the world.
And this approach of changing our future by changing our mind will work because nothing at all is fixed. There is no inherently existent future; everything exists in a state of potential.
The enemy of complacency
Nagarjuna prayed not to be born as a politician. Many, if not most, realized beings feel similarly. But even if we did have enlightened beings as our politicians, we would still suffer from poverty, abuse, and hardship while we remained with their causes in our minds — delusions including selfishness, and the negative actions or karma these have made us perform. We cart these around from life to life, and only when we take the responsibility for overthrowing them will we be finally free and happy.
Even in the most comfortable surroundings imaginable, Buddha still had the wisdom to see that samsara was deceptive, rotten to the core, built on decay, ageing, death, sadness — which is why he went off to find the solution and bring it back to everyone. He discovered that waiting for samsara to improve is a fools’ game. The only way to live in freedom is to control and purify our mind.
Next installment: Happiness depends on the mind.
Your comments, as always, are welcome.