smallflower.GIF (1312 bytes)smallflower.GIF (1312 bytes)
Volume 7 no 3

It’s a Blissful Life …Encounters of Buddhism in life by Jen Chen Buddhism practitioners
The joy in living
The fear of being taken advantage of should one be too kind or compassionate often deter people from doing what they already know are good deeds. If kindness or compassion is not demonstrated through deeds, then how does one call them as such? The article Lemon Tree elaborates. The Joy of Living illustrates that the freedom of the mind from stress and anxiety, and the true joy of living stem from a virtuous mental culture and not from external means. Practising what the Buddha taught, of course, can attain the ultimate freedom of the mind.
My friend who is exploring Buddhism wrote me a letter about his experience and I thought there are useful lessons that can be learned. He wrote:  

“One of the things that is urging me onward is this; I have a very good friend who is a surgeon. He works unbelievably long hours every day. It is not unusual for him to stand on his feet for surgeries that may last 12 to 13 hours. He is tremendously successful. I have asked him how he does it, how he stands the pressure. He explained to me that when he is consulting with or operating on a patient he is totally focussed on what he is doing. He is relaxed and calm, and largely unaware of the passage of time - although he works quickly. He experiences no worries or anxieties about anything. His greatest freedom of mind is when he is doing surgery! I believe in everything that he told me because otherwise I don't see how he could stand the pace. This man is an object lesson to me of the freedom that can be experienced by freeing the mind.

Most people I know use distractions to avoid the pressures of life. Some smoke cigarettes, some snack on foods they don't need, many listen to the radio or read the newspaper to avoid their own thoughts. But those activities come quickly to an end and the anxiety returns when you are obliged to return to your self. In fact, I know I have experienced it many, many times before when engaged in highly pleasurable and distracting activities like watching a movie.

Through meditation I have now experienced a taste of what it is like to be free of anxiety, stress and worry. I am looking for the way to bring this freedom of mind to more of my daily life in all my work and relationships, so that I can experience the joy of living more of the time.”

The first lesson attests to the fact that wisdom is innate in all people. His surgeon friend is practising a method of Buddhist cultivation - letting go of the Three Minds, although he has not heard about it. Wisdom manifests in varying degrees and it also shows that those who do not bog their mind down with unnecessary thoughts, being clearer in their mind works better and lives better.

The second lesson is that by not taming their mind, people all over the world resort to distractions to avoid the pressures that built up from a wandering mind. It is a common experience that worldly joys are often short lived, and therefore, such pursuits never end. They culminate in a vicious cycle that progressively deteriorates the mental culture.

That this friend, by his own efforts in seeking the freedom of the mind, already has a foot inside the door of Buddhism clearly demonstrates that those seek will always find. The freedom of the mind from stress and anxiety, and the true joy of living stem from a virtuous mental culture and not from external means. The ultimate freedom of the mind comes from understanding the universal truth expounded by the Buddha.


Copyright 2002.Jen Chen Buddhism Centre