every situation

In "Confession of a Buddhist Atheist" ex-monk Stephen Batchelor explains that in his view being a modern non-denominational Buddhist involves collecting some favorite Buddhist quotes and pushing off in your raft into the river of life.

I have my own collection of Buddhist quotes. There are thirteen, and the first quote is possibly all I need. To me, it's pretty much Buddhism in one sentence:

"I vow to accept every situation as it arises."

Unfortunately, I don't even remember exactly where I got this quote from. I think of it many times per day. When I start getting wrapped up in thoughts about something, what something means, what other people think about it, what will happen, etc, etc... I remember this quote. I think to myself, "Oh, right... ok, first... just accept it."

That doesn't mean the "it" I'm trying to accept is ok, or good, or even that I will not try to change it. But it means that I try to stop the struggle in my heart against the reality of the thing.  And since this is Buddhism we're talking about, this can get all "meta-" very fast... as in I try to accept not only the thing, but I also accept my feelings about the thing.

I find this very helpful.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

I really appreciate you sharing this quote. I think we all spend too much time debating why things are happening and what the "right" way to respond is. I think we can all benefit from spending more energy on ourselves, and less on things that we have little control over.