I watched "The Buddha" on PBS last Wednesday and was fascinated. The thing I found the most interesting was that at the end of his life, the Buddha died. His followers were around him, grieving, but he was so happy. He finally had achieved enlightenment, and as a result, he died. That was it. No more reincarnation, recycling. I guess this is what the word "samsara" refers to, is being caught in cyclic existence -- sort of being stuck, not being able to transcend existence.
So the Eastern idea of death seems to be rather opposite the Western view. In the Eastern view, apparently for Buddhists, their greatest desire is to simply die at the end of their life, never to exist in this world again.
I ran a 5K in perfect weather yesterday morning. For the first time, I felt like I was holding back in the first half of the race. I was able to sprint at the end, which I usually do anyhow. I enjoy that ending kick. I did my fastest time yet, 31:02. (I know, that's slow by the standard of most runners, but I'm thrilled about it.) I was sixth out of the 11 runners in my age class. Next year, I'll be in a different age grouping and will be the youngest instead of the oldest! Something to look forward to, kind of. Another exciting thing about yesterday's race was that I beat a ROTC team that was all jogging together.
So, these are the things I greatly desire: exercise. writing. learning. growing spiritually. I also really enjoy eating, sleeping, bathing, certain other indulgences. The Dalai Lama mentioned that desire is an essential part of life -- it's a matter of what you desire, taking the right path with your desires. He said, to desire to become like Buddha is a right desire. (Of course.)
That's good, because I do wonder sometimes if I'd have to give up my passionate nature to be a Buddhist. That's something I am unwilling to part with, is that side of me that cares so very much. What other people describe as my being so "sensitive," that double-edged sword of a word. The passionate nature aches with pain, or with joy. I am beginning to see that passion, properly channeled, can lead to greater understanding, love, and compassion, and enormous spiritual growth.
Good night! Peace be with you.
Peace be with you.
Pastor Janet pointed out today, these were the first words Jesus said upon appearing to his disciples after he rose, and he said it twice. So we could not possibly miss the message. And somehow, we still did!
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