The 84th problem.

Read a wonderful parable today in Indian Express and while I couldn’t find the link, I found the same story on [http://wisdomquarterly.blogspot.in/2011/07/83-problems-buddhist-sutraparable.html] Posting it out here.

 

THUS HAVE I NOT HEARD. Once while the Buddha was staying near the fields, a farmer came to him, paid his respects, sat to one side, and said:

“O, great teacher, I am but a simple farmer. I love farming. But sometimes there is drought, at other times flooding. I am a husband. I love being married. But sometimes my spouse is indifferent, at other times smothering. I am a father. I love being a parent. But sometimes my children are dull [incorrigible], at other times unruly. What am I to do?

The Buddha looked at the farmer with great compassion, extended both hands, and said: “Sorry, I can’t help you with those kinds of worldly problems.”

The farmer was dumbstruck for a moment. When he regained his composure, he argued: “Wait a minute. People speak in praise of you from all quarters. They come to you seeking advice for all things. And they go away enlightened. You’re famous!”

“Sorry,” the Buddha repeated, “there’s nothing I can do to help you. Every person has 83 problems. And I can’t help them with that.”

“Well, tell me,” the farmer asked calmly hoping to make the best of his visit, “what can you help me with?”

“I can help you with the 84th problem.”

“O, and what’s that?” the farmer leaned in.

“The 84th problem is the desire not to have any problems.

The farmer was overjoyed. And the Buddha taught him how to overcome suffering.

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2D’s – Diwali and Desires – Part 2.

The Buddha talked about trishna – thirst or hankering and he put it so simply as one of the 4 noble truths, the second being “Suffering arises from attachment to desires”. Krishna talks about Desires in the Gita and says they are insatiable; the more one feeds them, the more they arise.

Undeniably, getting rid of desires or hankerings is difficult, had it been easy, then the Masters wouldn’t had to repeat the same message over and over again.

The recommendations?

Buddha says “Meditate deeply, discriminate between the pleasant and unpleasant, and break the fetters of Mara”

Krishna says “…realizing the truth of your True Self (Atma) is your principal weapon for eradicating desire. Self Realization is the true spiritual knowledge.”

Guruji talked a lot about desires, the best quote from his talk on Intention, Attention and Manifestation, is that “Desires fulfilled or unfulfilled, leaves you in the same place.”

That is food for thought, one way is to look back in our own lives and see how many desires we had, that got fulfilled and what joy and satisfaction or misery they brought and how many desires remained unfulfilled and how much sadness, misery or joy they brought and see for ourselves what changed with each of these desires and hankering.

Spirituality, I think, is also intense self-study.

If that is hard, then to quote the old hindi proverb – “Man ka ho to accha aur na ho, to aur bhi achcha” is probably a better way of dealing with what life serves us.

What do you gain from meditation?

Pointing back to a post from the past “Gains from Meditation“, worth reproducing in entirety here:

Eknath Easwaran, writes in “The Dhammapada” about a conversation on Meditation:

Someone once asked the Buddha skeptically, “What have you gained through meditation?”

The Buddha replied, “Nothing at all.”

“Then, Blessed One, what good is it?”

“Let me tell you what I lost through meditation: sickness, anger, depression, insecurity, the burden of old age, the fear of death. That is the good of meditation, which leads to nirvana.”

And the beauty of it, is that we can all experiment with it and reach the same conclusion.

I can vouch for the efficacy of meditation and allied practices and have written about my experiences earlier.

Gains from Meditation

Eknath Easwaran, writes in “The Dhammapada” about a conversation on Meditation:

Someone once asked the Buddha skeptically, “What have you gained through meditation?”

The Buddha replied, “Nothing at all.”

“Then, Blessed One, what good is it?”

“Let me tell you what I lost through meditation: sickness, anger, depression, insecurity, the burden of old age, the fear of death. That is the good of meditation, which leads to nirvana.”

And the beauty of it, is that we can all experiment with it and reach the same conclusion.