Friday, December 31, 2010

A New Year's Eve Message

Everything is empty!

Here we are on the brink of another year. We can use this opportunity to reflect over the past year, or to ponder the future. This can be beneficial, as long as our reflection does not turn into regret or resentment, and as long as our pondering does not turn to fear or worry. Whatever we do on the eve of 2011, we can do it with awareness. If we act from a state of knowing rather than nescience, we have a greater chance of doing it right, and even developing some wisdom.

Wisdom is needed in this world. Look at the sky ripped open, the still-hungry millions, the near-extinct animals, the war-mongering, and the general fear. On New Year's Eve, many of us will get out of our heads on alcohol and/or drugs, shutting out the suffering world, and burying our own miseries beneath copious amounts of intoxicants. This, however, will simply leave us with a hangover on New Year's Day, and no deeper understanding of the world, including those we claim to love.

Love is needed in this world. Not love based on lust, nor love that demands that people act and say the things we want to see and hear, but real love that allows people to be themselves, whether straight, gay, hip or nerdy, gregarious or solitary, or whatever. In this kind of love, we are open to the suffering both in ourselves and others, and therefore more able to respond appropriately, helping where needed. How can we approach the world with this kind of love?

Love and wisdom are two sides of the same coin. According to Buddhist tradition, they are the two wings of enlightenment. If we can see the world with wisdom, we will also develop love for it, for we will see that it is us, and therefore love it as we love ourselves. If we can feel the world with love, we will also develop wisdom towards it, for we will feel its suffering, and with this wisdom know the way out of suffering. We are enlightened together, as one.

So, after the hangover's worn off, or the incense sticks have burnt out, we might take the time to look back at who's living this life, and see the emptiness at the heart of all this oh-so precious existence. Seeing this emptiness, we have the means to develop the wisdom mentioned above, for when everything - including the thing called 'me' - is seen to be empty, we see it in a completely different way. And love is no longer reserved for this self and those close to it, but spread out to all we meet.

Anyhow, wishing you all the love and wisdom in the world for the New Year. Have fun tonight, and tomorrow? Take a few moments to see where all this stuff ('the world') comes from. It's a real eye opener!


Peter Clothier said...

Fine post... thanks. I share related thoughts about the New Year on The Buddha Diaries. It's a good time to reflect. Always, in fact, a good time! Cheers...

freespace said...

buddhism is like that like playing a video game in an ignorant way. here the player keeps on losing back to back as if he thinks tyhe only way to win is to finish the game. suddenl;y a person in the game told him that in order to get out ofrom his frustrations he mudst quit the game aware that the game seems real but it is not, just an illusion. winning will keep the player being bound for more tear breaking game moments. the player reflected and realizewd the game is fiction no more no less. he turned off the monitor and the consiole thus released out of misery. theb uddha gave peoplep ractical solutions to end suffering then stop thinking about immortality and conditioned existence. instead to end suffering be detached and reincarnate no mre. hpy new year to this blog. especially to the bodhisattva of space G...

G said...

Peter - Read your New Year's thoughts and agree with them. I'm with John Lennon, too!

Freespace - Thanks for your comments in 2010 - may there be many more in 2011!