During the discussion group within the Introductory Buddhism Course from Kopan Monastery, I concluded some interesting ideas that I hadn’t thought so deeply before. The discussion group was one of the best parts of my stay at Kopan Monastery as we were totally strangers when we had come here, but some of us left as friends. Even if some of my conclusions were opposite to the Buddhism point of view, among the enlightenment I had these days I would emphasize a few:
– “I am ok how and where I am now. I don’t want, and especially, I don’t have to reach perfection or everlasting happiness … yet. I just want to enjoy myself at the level I am now … with my kind of happiness and my kind of suffering.” In this case, there is zero motivation for me to get more deeply into Buddhism practice as I don’t want to reach perfection/everlasting happiness (however you call it). I feel enough enlightened by the ‘small’ daily challenges of my life. Instead of seeking and thinking every day at the highest level of Nirvana, my self motivation is based on enjoying the baby steps I do and the travel among them. Whatever direction I choose, putting pressure on myself and suffering along the way is not an option (as practicing the Dharma is not a real pleasure, at least at the beginning). I suffered enough in the past. I want to enjoy the freedom of my own choices. If I want to reach everlasting happiness, I choose to walk along a beautiful, longer road. That’s my option. I may be selfish from Buddhist point of view, but I assume the consequences.
– “The most powerful gift you can make to someone you love is the freedom of their own choices.” This conclusion was achieved as an answer to the question ‘How we can bring more love into our lives and reduce the unhealthy attachments we have?’. I must admit, I felt very proud concluding it after talking with the other ones for a while. I know from my own experience that it’s hard, sometimes it really hurts when you now that the other person will get hurt anyway, but you just have to shut up and don’t say anything. Most of the times, silence is a proof of love more than ‘giving advice’. We grow up and we learn from our mistakes only when we have the freedom to make them. Allowing freedom into our lives and into others lives creates deeper connections into our relationships and increases the fulfillment that love brings.
– “I accept myself as I am: with mistakes, imperfections, and dark sides.” I had done this already, but at Kopan Monastery I was told how much I have to seek for enlightenment right now and quickly. I needed to accept myself as that bad, ignoring person who was not searching for everlasting happiness immediately and quickly. Based on the theory of the mirror, what we have in ourselves, we see in other ones. When you accept that you have your dark sides and that people have different mindsets than yours, you don’t get upset anymore when someone does something that you don’t like or agree with. You just accept they also have a dark side as you have it also and that they have different opinions. According to Buddhism teaching, at this moment, I have a ‘big’ dark side: I ignore and I don’t want to put an effort for achieving happiness that lasts forever. That’s my way of thinking at this moment. I accept myself for that. I respect what I feel now even if it’s right or wrong. When the right moment will come, I’ll move on to the next level. What I am sure is that that moment is not now.
– “Traveling is a good opportunity for letting go of your attachments for people.” This is the last discovering I’ve just made a couple of minutes ago at our last breakfast together. A German lady said: “We are never going to see each other again. This is so sad.” That moment, I realized that is quite impossible to keep in touch with everybody while traveling. I get to know lots of people, but even if you change address, you cannot physically keep in touch with everybody. At some point, you have to come to an end and let go of your attachment for every nice person that you’ve met in your life. You make a natural selection and keep around you the persons that are most dear to you. I find it as a natural, intuitive physical selection.