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Volume 6 no 1

It's A Blissful Life

Venerable Shen-Kai noted that since time immemorial the Buddha-dharma has often been spoken in ways that people find it difficult to relate to their lives, giving rise to an air of mystery or subtleness. So much so that the general public perceives Buddhism to be overly profound on one hand or mere superstition on the other. As a result some people are afraid to learn about it. The general public is, therefore, not able to fully benefit from it. In view of this, the Venerable dedicated his life to bring the Buddha's teachings into people's lives as a blissful culture for humanity. Here, practitioners of Jen Chen Buddhism share first-hand encounters where the principles of Buddhism are the source to a blissful life.

Top of the Pile

It is a wonderful thing that useful lessons can be learned even from the trivial things that go on around us. For example, when my teenaged nephew told me that he seems to be rotating between a couple of tee shirts because they were, as he put it, the ones on the "top of the pile",
I stumbled on a principle that can be very useful in our life. I called this the "top of the pile" principle which forms a basis for a healthier and balanced life style.

People are generally ignorant about this "top-of-the-pile principle". It goes like this: If our possessions can be arranged in a pile, regardless of the size of the pile, it is only those few at the top that matter. There is actually no need to go to the extremes to amass a huge pile, because those on the top of the pile can easily satisfy our needs. That pile can be anything, although money would be most relevant as an example. At some point, the efforts that are put into amassing a bigger pile would begin to generate diminishing returns, for they often come at a higher cost.

It seems that sentient beings have a habit to amass far more than their capacity to consume. Some put all their eggs in one basket, so to speak, by putting too much attention to accumulate more and more of what they already have in abundance. Sometimes their over indulgence cause them to scheme, cheat, run foul of the law, neglect their health and family, or even to risk their lives. But, can they actually utilise all that they have amassed? It is a pity that they do not know when enough is enough and when to stop, much less that about being content is happiness.

Rather than putting all the eggs in one basket, one stands to harvest better returns if time and effort are also invested in other aspects of life. The causes of investing time and effort in good health, family, and friendship, performing good deeds and in cultivating good practices shall reap a balanced and blissful life as the effects.

Lest one feels that this top-of-the-pile principle is counter to progress, and is fearful of losing out to others and not having enough, I should think it is better to reserve the judgement for a later time because only time will tell. When we do the right things, it is natural that good things shall follow. For example, when we practise the Buddha's teachings and conduct ourselves in (1) Right Speech, (2) Right Action, (3) Right Livelihood, (4) Right Effort, (5) Right Mindfulness, (6) Right Concentration, (7) Right Understanding and (8) Right Thought, what else can go wrong? My experience has been that as long as we do things right, the pile that is due to us will always be there and there will always be that "top of the pile" to meet our needs. This is the blissful life.


Copyright 2002.Jen Chen Buddhism Centre