If we were Siddhartha Gautama living today, November 30, 2018, it would probably be a really crappy day. It could be a day so bad we capitulate to the fact that our hopes and dreams will never come true. We’re out of fuel with old age and decades of struggle now a physical barrier to those hopes and dreams.
I’m certain there is an ancient legend, the equivalent of the movie, Rocky, that inspired Siddhartha to never give up, fight beyond any pain. I was at that impressionable age when that movie came out. I had a lot in common with Rocky … poor, tough, no useful connections to bigger opportunity … just tons of spirit.
So yes, I relate somewhat more to Rocky than Prince Siddhartha. The three of us, however, share an indomitable, relentless spirit, the insanity to keep pursuing our hopes and dreams.
It wasn’t a mistake for any of the three of us to relentlessly pursue our hopes and dreams for all those years. Pursuing them fueled my escape from “da rock” (Hawaii), got my wife of over twenty years, and lots of heady, but “failed”, endeavors over these forty years of my career as a software developer. But I’d gone ten thousand rounds with Apollo Creed and I sure did feel like it.
Last year at this time, like Siddhartha Gautama, I wearily plopped down under a metaphorical bodhi tree to catch my breath and ponder what the fuck it was that I had been doing. It wasn’t the first time I sat under a big tree to ponder that. But all those other times after I caught my breath, I got back up to go another few dozen rounds with Apollo Creed, pursing my hopes and dreams. The so-called definition of insanity, right?
My hopes and dreams. In other words, out of all the countless possible outcomes for a life and all against those billions of others pursuing their hopes and dreams, I would not be happy until that condition was met. Maybe my odds for achieving those conditions were better than pinning my hopes on winning the lottery. But while, say, one in a hundred is magnitudes better than one in a hundred million, it’s still very crappy odds.
You’re alive if you’re reading this. Be proud of yourself for that, no matter what, because you survived – most creatures don’t get very far. Now let go of those hopes and dreams. Thank them for serving its purpose into getting you this far and toughening you up. You may not feel tough, but you are, even if you’re in a wheelchair, blind, or deep in debt. Because you’re still alive and enlightenment, freedom from suffering, is in the next instant.
Now find your Bodhi Tree for the “Secular Bodhi Day” next week, December 8, 2018. Empty your mind of what you think you know. Drop your burdens, your beliefs. Drop your armor and let what you think is you expand throughout the Universe. That may sound flowery, but that’s because you think you’re just this solid blob of water that feels a pinch. That’s all you are in any instant of time, but the Universe is more than an instance of time.
Faith and Patience to You,
Reverend Dukkha Hanamoku
Links to the other posts belonging to this set of Bodhi Day 2018 posts:
- Day 1: Secular Bodhi Season 2018 – Buddhism is a Skill
- Day 2: Secular Bodhi Season 2018 – Have a Holly Jolly Bodhi
- Day 3: Secular Bodhi Season 2018 – A Bodhi Day Carol
- Day 4: Secular Bodhi Season 2018 – Our Unique Paths
- Day 5: Secular Bodhi Season 2018 – Traditions
- Day 6: Secular Bodhi Season 2018 – Trip to Our Bodhi Day Place
- Day 7: Secular Bodhi Season 2018 – Bodhi Day Eve
- Bodhi Day 2018!