[Buddhism] The nature of life is dukkha

It's funny how you keep coming back to things. For me, it's Buddhism. When my mom was in town visiting earlier this month, we popped into a bookstore (her idea, not mine!) and she bought me a book. I'd been planning on buying one of the Dalai Lama's books but we saw another one that seemed rather intriguing. It's called "When Things Fall Apart: Heart Advice for Difficult Times" by Pema Chodron.

I have to say that this is possibly one of the best books for explaining the ideas of dukkha (suffering) and attachment.

I'm coming to understand the ideas better and learning a lot more about myself in the process. Although I may never self-identify as a Buddhist myself, there is something about the philosophy that really interests me and resonates on some level.

I am very attached to "things" and people, to the point where I invest far too much of my self and emotion into them (and in the case of people their opinions/wants/needs). It means that I am easily hurt and this is something that I struggle with. Initially, when I first began studying Buddhist teachings, I found the concepts too difficult. I interpreted them as needing to give up everything that I had, everything that I was attached to. This book has given me a different perspective on what being "free from attachment" means. It was the following concept that made it clearer for me (and I paraphrase):

Recognize that relationships are impermanent and that is what makes them so precious.

So, you don't have to give up everything to be free from attachment, you simply recognize that things change. Because of this fact, we should enjoy them now, keeping in mind that eventually (whether it be tomorrow of 50 years from now) that thing may be gone. It is the grasping, the trying to keep things exactly the same, that causes discomfort.

I can't do it justice in so few lines but I'm really enjoying the book. I recommend it to people interested in Buddhist philosophy.

As a side note, Pema Chodron is an ordained Buddhist nun who does much of her work at the Gampo Abbey in Cape Breton, Nova Scotia, right here in Canada.
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