One of the Buddha’s most profound sayings is “Nothing is Permanent“. The Buddha observed this in all facets of life – the fact that everything changes, nothing lasts forever, or for merely more than a moment.
What we can learn from the saying? One thing for me is understanding that anything we might try to hold on to may be gone or changed in just a moment’s notice. So I think we should carefully watch the attachment we have to the happiness or satisfaction we get from certain objects, or from a relationship or even from a state of being we might be in.
Even our own personal lives will eventually come to an end. I think that understanding this can help to just live in the present moment. Without attachment to what has gone on in the past, and without trying to expect too much from our future existence. One never knows where our current path will lead. So what we can do is just observe what is happening right now, from moment to moment.
This also helps those who may be going through any state of suffering. That the suffering will eventually pass, too, because it is also impermanent as is everything else. It can be a hopeful message in times of turmoil or sadness.
If we can reach a state of detachment from things and expectation and daily life, and just accept that everything changes, then we will be better able to deal with the eventual changes along the way. A great quote and idea to meditate on!
Happy indeed we live, friendly amidst the hostile.
Amidst hostile men we dwell free from hatred.
This is one of the more difficult tasks for me. When encountering hostility or ill-will directed towards me, I usually have a difficult time remaining happy or at least being unaffected by it. For example, while driving the other day and getting on the highway, someone behind me just couldn’t wait and tried to cut me off, then honked at me because they were unable to complete the cut-off. They eventually were able to speed up around me so they could flip me off. How exactly does one remain happy and friendly in this situation? I have a difficult time with that one. But I find that the more I practice buddhist tenets, meditation, positive thinking, etc – the more I am able to at least not let these things get to me for very long. At the time, I was angry… after all this was on the highway where lives are potentially in danger!
“Friendly amidst the hostile” – what a great challenge, yet what a great teaching, if this can be practiced. Sometimes, after I observe that anger is arising, I force myself to smile. Not just in my mind, either – I physically make a smile on my face. This actually helps, even though the feeling behind it may not be entirely friendly or happy. But just the act of forcing a physical smile somehow works to balance the emotions.
Question for readers: What ways do you find helpful to remain free from hatred and friendly among the hostile?