What do you know about the word “I”? Have you ever thought about it? Is it good to focus on the “I” or not?
Actually, most of us only focus on the “I” because we believe in the existence of a separate self. An “I” that wants to be successful, rich, happy, famous etc.
We (the monks of Phajoding) wonder why all the people are always ready to do everything for the “I” (themselves). The majority of people in the world have never realised that all the suffering comes from focusing on the ‘I’ and the yearning for one’s own happiness. Did you realise that most people’s happiness is like dew on a blade of grass, disappearing quickly as the sun rises in the sky? This is because the happiness most of us seek and experience is the happiness that comes from attachment and the satisfying of this “I”. If we consider everyone’s happiness as our responsibility and that everyone’s happiness is our own, wouldn’t this state of mind reduce our suffering and disappointment when thing don’t work out our way and work out for our friends and enemies?
As Buddhists, we believe that all the living beings have once been our mother and they have cherished us with lots of love and care. If this is so and they are suffering now, what good is your own happiness while others are suffering?
Why do people in the world say harsh words and harm others? It is because of their anger that someone has hurt them in some way. If you have not pacified the enemy of your anger then combating others and continuing to think bad thoughts about them will only make your anger multiply and increase your suffering. Because of your anger you disturb not only your mind but the mind of others which leads to unhappiness and more suffering in the world. It’s like walking in a room full of thorns with no shoes – you cannot avoid the pain and suffering of the prick. Instead isn’t it better to wear good shoes then you protect yourself from suffering. We can wear good shoes by feeling compassion for others rather than focusing only on ourselves.
Whether one is a believer or not, just by practicing the basic acts of compassion and human values, one can contribute to the preservation of Buddha’s words of wisdom along with the maintenance of global peace and stability in an age of religious and political turmoil.
By Nima Tshering (Manchester) aged 20 years.