The Meaning of Life: How to Get Rid of Painful Feelings (Part II)

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What is the aim of this life? The aim of our life is to get rid of the painful feelings experienced in life, not only your own personal painful feelings, but to help the others to get rid of their pain as well. Only when we can get rid of painful feelings, can we find the true happiness in life. Compassion is one of the methods to obtain true happiness. We should train ourselves to face those bad things that make us feel discomfort and pain instead of escaping from them, to overcome these negative emotions and learn to develop kindness and equanimity towards everyone on earth.

Any kind of pain we suffer in our daily life comes from the Five Poisons (desire, anger, ignorance, pride, and jealousy). These lead us to negative emotions. If we cannot see the world in its fundamental reality and instead insist on grasping things and pursuing an unpredictable future, we will always suffer from dissatisfaction. Through the practice of Buddhism, we can learn wisdom and compassion and then we can get rid of the pain permanently and have a perfect life. The final aim of Buddhist practice is nirvana.

Through the power of Buddhist wisdom and compassion, we can cut the enormous vexations from our life, and return to the original Sunyata, or the emptiness. It can happen when your avedha-vasa, the power of good wishes is stronger than your karma.

There are people who have asked me, “Why you did you become a monk?” I answered them in a very simple way, “Because I wanted to leave the home that was filled with selfishness, money, personal emotion, and feelings of domination and ownership.” These properties and feelings can make us feel pain and weak. If we can leave them behind us, we can get true and permanent happiness.

Nowadays in the world, the love between girls and boys has turned into a selfish one, a love that is only ‘skin deep’. Skin quality, hair colour and the shape of the body matter more than the mind of the person. The couples don’t really care about how the other one is feeling, if he or she is in pain, in some kind of trouble or not. Such love can only lead to a painful end and cannot last for long, because appearance, may it be the face, hair or body shape will change, and we all know this is the nature of the body. Nowadays people spend a lot of time, money and energy for skin/hair care, make up for the face, all to make the body more beautiful. But how many of them care to “make up” the heart? Often once someone starts to “love” someone, painful feelings follow shortly. Why? That is because this love has a root in selfishness and ownership. It put the big “I” into the centre. How can it not lead to pain? Such love is not true love. Look at your own mother, is she still pretty? Does she still have well shaped body? Will you still love her when she gets older and uglier?

There is a story about a wife who cooked many dishes and waited for her husband to come home to have the dinner with her. It was late and she got worried, thinking, “Is he together with another woman who is younger and prettier?” Her son said to her, “Mum, can we have our dinner now? Why must you wait for dad to come back?” The pain comes from the clinging to the big “I”. It becomes a big burden that you carry on your shoulder, but if you can put this burden down, just like her son said, we don’t have to wait, and then the painful feeling will go away automatically.

meaningoflife2-2A selfish love to a single person can easily lead to a lot of negative effects. In the extreme, it can hurt yourself and others as well. But a non-selfish love and a love that is equal for every sentient being on this earth would not have any negative effects. It can only make yourself and others happier. This is the love that a Buddhist is looking for and training for. So as I often say: “love belongs to oneself, but happiness belongs to everybody”.

We all know that there is nothing in this world that will not change over time. The material world will change and feelings will change as well. The things which you like the most will become old and broken one day, the person whom you love the most will also leave you one day. All of us who are living now will all disappear within 100 years. Some of you actually have everything in your life now, good house, nice clothes, lovers, and families. But you don’t know how to cherish what you have and continue to pursue something that you don’t have. That is the cause of pain and you do not even notice that you are actually pursuing feelings of pain! This is behaviour without wisdom. This is caused by the ignorance of what is common for human beings.

What is ignorance? That is when you do things without wisdom. Ignorance always causes karma. If we do not have good control over the Five Poisons within us, they make our body, speech and mind produce more and more negative karma. Because of desire, we wish to get something that does not belong to us. We may then steal or rob things in different ways. Because of anger or jealousy, our mouth may utter horrible words, say bad things about other people, or talk about useless things. Due to ignorance and pride, our mind may wish others bad luck, etc. Therefore, to avoid making more negative karma, we have to get rid of these Five Poisons from our mind. A good Dharma practitioner should be very pure in body, speech and mind. This is the standard to distinguish between a normal person and a good Dharma practitioner.

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