Wednesday, September 10, 2014

Brothers and sisters in old age, sickness, and death

One of the ways that monks address a group of people in Thailand is by saying: ‘Brothers and sisters in old age, sickness, and death.’ It is interesting to think we are all brothers and sisters because we all share the same—old age, sickness, and death. Suffering, loss of the loved, being irritated by being with the unloved, and wanting something we don’t have—everybody shares these things whether they are African, South American, Australian, or anything else.

...Buddhism is not a brainwashing or conditioning type of teaching. One is not being asked to adopt Buddhist ideas, or say all the right Buddhist things, or wear Buddhist clothes (even though I do). It is not a reconditioning process; it is mindfulness, awareness, letting go of conditioning. For me, Buddhism is reminding myself of the great gift I have every moment of that pure presence, the ability to be fully present.

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