In the Buddha’s Words
– 2.1 The Dart Of Painful Feeling
An article I wrote for NTU Buddhist Society’s Prajna magazine.
This Frantic World
Another academic year has come and gone, let us reflect on how the year has gone and how we can find peace in our life amidst this fast paced frantic world.
As I write this, I recall the recent bombing in Istanbul airport and shopping district in Baghdad. 2015 and 2016 has been pockmarked with so much attacks in public places, one has to wonder if humanity is on its way to write itself out of existence.
And when bombings are not in the news, natural disasters such as earthquakes, droughts, floods and typhoons seem to be the new norm in weather and news reports.
As though man-made and natural disasters are not enough, we see news about the economy and it’s not a pretty sight whether back home or globally.
Even if one can ignore the news, there is the seemingly never-ending cycle of exams. Is there ever an end to all these?
What can we do about all these?
There are three main areas that we would be looking at. 1) Areas of changes externally 2) Areas of changes internally 3) Areas of acceptance
So one day I was at lower pierce and saw some insects skimming along the surface of the water. All was fine until I saw an insect struggling in the water. Being kind and selfless, I reach out to save it. Ok, it was probably not so heroic. I just thought it was drowning and merely tried to fish it out … hehe
I’ve dished out plenty of ants, houseflies, bees, tiny wasps from basins, toilet bowls, and yes mugs of water, so I was no stranger to insect rescue operations. As I waited for the insect to recover, do some cleanup, I looked at it closely.
A picture from the internet of the insect that was resting on my finger. Not taken by me … hahaha … This is more or less how it looked like, except that it’s wings was slum over my fingers and it didn’t look like it was in a rush to do cleanup.
Hmmm … … after a few seconds, something struck me. It was like one of those Hollywood movies where the main character has a suddenly realisation of what actually happened!
I was not rescuing the fly. It was quite happy cruising along, and as I discovered, it being a mayfly, it would breed in the water. It was not drowning and didn’t require any rescue from me. -.-”
That morning I learn something. I learnt that we can sometimes make mistakes in our assessment of a situation and conclude wrongly that people need help.
Just as on the surface, the insect really looked like it was struggling, sometimes we may think that others have a problem and we have or are the solution. The truth cannot be further from it.
When it struck me what was happening, I quickly put the mayfly back into the water and it didn’t drown. I continued to buzz along, in the world of its own.
Sometimes when we go overseas to do humanitarian work, we hear of projects to build a modern toilet, to build this and that. Is this an example of us looking at others as struggling in the water, when in fact they are doing just fine?
I’m not suggesting that we should stop our humanitarian works, but instead we should continue doing them, just to give more thought to them and not presume that we always have all the answer, or as a friend commented “What makes us think that transplanting our system to their country will help them when we ourselves are not necessarily happier?”.
Reminds me of the saying “A mud Bodhisattva crossing the stream cannot save oneself” … much less others.