Today I was thinking that it might be good to talk about a day in the life of an average Buddhist. But as my thoughts began to materialize, I realized that a day in the life of a Buddhist is not any different than a day in the life of any other person. We all have everything in common; a physical body, a mind, thoughts, feelings, experiences, joys and sadness. But there can be some major differences in circumstances that we live in, and how we view and handle these situations. The young child who cannot find clean drinking water is facing a much different challenge then one of us who is dealing with a bad cold or flu. The Mother who just lost her child to cancer is facing something much different than one who is facing foreclosure on their home. Yet even with this wide disparity in gravity, still we are living beings who share everything in common. But with what clarity do we observe this, and in what way to we respond to our connection?
I have friends that are extremely wealthy, and some who are literally homeless. And one thing I have seen over and over again, is that regardless of financial status, all experience joy and pain. The key difference in having a happy and contented life boils down to one thing. And for me, that one thing is my practice. It is not about the Temple I go to, the friends I have, or even my Family members. It’s about staying on the path toward liberation. Learning to accept life exactly as it is, understanding that all things are impermanent, letting go of my ego, and dropping the stories as I observe them materializing.
These things are not something anyone else can do for me or give to me. They must be done for the self, with a diligent determination and loads of patience and compassion. We are all creatures of habit and previous programming that is not easily destroyed. And that sense of self cause all of us to cling dearly to much of which is harmful and destructive. And often, without realizing it, these darker kamma has disastrous results for our own well-being as well as those around. Often times in fact, those who are actually closest to us are harmed the most.
You see, a day in the life for me is simply a chance to practice and grow. Developing whatever wisdom I may, and doing so with the most virtuous (sila) of intention possible. And yes, I often falter and stumble, even doubting my own practice at times. But I am fortunate to have a solid foundation that has been developed through daily meditation, study, and the support of so many wonderful and kind teachers. In the end, I take refuge in the Buddha, the dhamma, and the sangha. Which for me means my Teacher, his teachings, and the Noble friends who encourage me so very often.
May you each be blessed by the Triple Gem, and may you live in joy.