4 Jan. Pain. Suffering. Nembutsu.

I have realised that subconsciously I had been expecting that my Buddhist practice would eradicate all the pain from my life. Did Thich Quang Duc suffered? Or did he just experience pain?

I have finished listening to an audio-book “Can’t hurt me” by David Goggins. A great book about pain. In one of his talks, Kusala Bhikshu said that suffering is when we don’t want to accept pain. There will be pain, sickness and death. It is not optional. Suffering is. There is a great relief in the realisation that it is not the pain that is the source of suffering – the ignorance is. And ignorance is something I can work on.

But what I also need is the courage to be still and quiet in the face of adversity.

I want to meditate every single day again. Even if for 5 minutes. For starters. I feel like a total fraud thinking about Dharma so much without actually formally sitting. I do recite Nembutsu a lot, but it doesn’t give me as much peace as my sitting meditation practice.

But I will continue my Nembutsu practice. It helps me to remember about the compassion of countless people I am surrounded and supported by, that allows me to exist, and which I don’t appreciate at all. It reminds me that compassion is the best antidote for sadness. It helps me to remember about my own mortality, that all my struggles will not matter at all on my deathbed, because the present moment always overwrites the past. It reminds me that I am a foolish being destined to suffer and die. What a relief in not aspiring to become anybody! That my practice is not about attainment, rather cultivation. That I am not inventing anything, that it is not my false ego that is liberating me. It is quite opposite, it is the dropping off body and mind that allows the Infinite to become apparent. Call it Emptiness. Call it Other Power. Call it God. Who cares?

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