The Book of LIfe

Just flip the pages of anyone’s life book; get beneath the story line, and what do you notice? Changeability, the unpredictable, the unforeseen (good and bad): to recall that, brings forth faith – be open and alert. A human life is also marked by an ongoing quest to find fulfilment – which hasn’t quite arrived (and maybe isn’t even near). Seeing that brings attention back to the present: what do you really want, and where will that be found? It’s never in that ongoing flow of continuity that the Buddha called ‘becoming’ (bhava). What about if the mind stepped out of that, into the immediate openness of an awareness that isn’t craving or dreading becoming anything? When you even review that tide of “now I’m this and I should be that, and I might get there” you realize that this goes on irrespective of circumstance and identity. So there’s nothing intrinsically personal about this life book, and you don’t have to throw it away and get a better one. The advice is to study it from a different viewpoint: it’s written in personal handwriting, but bear in mind and take it to heart, that the marks of change/risk/unpredictability (anicca), of incompleteness and the unresolved (dukkha), and of impersonality (anatta) are universal marks. Through bearing these in mind, there can be a breakthrough to the unconditioned, the secure, the sorrowless, the place of peace. One can step out of the book.

Ajahn Sucitto, Lockdown Means Opening Up

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