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Monday, September 6, 2010

If you have ever found yourself subtly or not so subtly dissatisfied with life, with how things are, then how have you explained that dissatisfaction to yourself? Have you blamed your upbringing, your personality, the culture you've grown up in?

In the final analysis, I don't think it's any of these. I'm taking a clue from Buddha here. Buddha maintained that life itself is inherently unsatisfying. And, why is that? Because we all die. There is nothing permanent to hold onto. We try and try to latch onto something real and enduring--work, relationship, projects, power, fame--but they don't satisfy. Something goes awry and we end up frustrated, disappointed, angry or hurt. From Buddha's point of view, this is inevitable.

Is there any way to gain freedom from the suffering that goes-with the search for permanent satisfaction or happiness? There is, but it entails coming to terms with one's own death, and this is not something most people want to hear... understandably so. I don't believe the fundamental challenge lies in overcoming our fear of death, but in embracing death as an intimate companion in life. If I am one with death, there is nothing to fear and nothing to avoid. Dissatisfaction ends with taking death into oneself such that the "I" dies into the unknown. This is already too conceptual; and it is not an idea or goal. I hasten to add that death and I are not one; but I'm open to the possibility and that, I suppose, is a start.

cemetery walk
in the shade a moment
my shadow disappears

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