“Overcome your uncertainties and free yourself from the dwelling of sorrow. If you delight in existence, you will become a guide to those who need you, revealing the path to many.”
From the Sutta Nipatta
The Buddha teaches us in the Four Noble Truths that life is dukkha, suffering. The cause of dukkha is our unfulfilled desires & ambition and clinging to everything which is impermanent. This passage highlights the importance of dropping the dukkha in our lives and moving on by “freeing ourselves from the dwelling of sorrow.” I find the comparison of our sorrow or dukkha to a dwelling quite apropos.
In the past ten years, I have moved only three times, but each time, I’ve found the whole process to be stressful: finding a new place to live, packing up my belongings, and moving them, and then getting used to a new location, new room mates, and new sets of circumstances. For many of us, transition is difficult. Even if we would be much better off in a better space. At one of my previous residences, we had a rodent problem, and though it was annoying, I was fairly satisfied living there rather than moving to a new house. When I did move, however, and I took the effort to move to a better location, I was much happier.
The analogy of moving on, of dropping our dukkha dwellings is a poignant reminder of how difficult it is to deal with suffering in life, but the Buddha gives us a systematic approach to finding happiness in our everyday existence through the Eightfold Noble path:
The truth is that happiness is already here waiting for us to discover it: existence itself is something over which we should delight. If we examine our birth into the world and the probability of the string of events occurring exactly as they have, our very existence as it stands is nigh miraculous. We are a part of an intricately woven chain, and happiness surrounds us. The Eightfold Noble path is a more descript path to happiness, and is a wonderful guide post, and a way for us to share happiness with others through our behavior.
Change must ultimately come from within, and by living an inspirational life of happiness, we can lead others to a content existence. This inspirational leadership is what truly speaks to me as a Buddhist; so often times we find ourselves in situations where we are being coerced, where someone thinks they can inflict change upon us, but change, true growth, is something we must desire fore ourselves. When we see happiness and contentment in others, oftentimes we seek that happiness from them.
Namo Amida Butsu