A Blog A Day

It\’s a blog where I write about the extraordinary and the ordinary things going on in my life.

Karmic Pattern

Faye is my new Buddhist friend. I’ve known her mother for a year. In fact, it was her mother who gave me guidance during the first few months of my practice. I’ve only known Faye for a few months now. We had a chance to talk by the beach three weeks ago.

The moon was full. We walked along the shallow beach. It was low tide. The sand was white. The water was clear.

We had left our companions. They were enjoying themselves at the other part of the beach. We left them so we could talk about Buddhism and about life.

” You mentioned what happened to you as a child. How did that affect you?” she asked.

” I became depressed as a result of that.”

” All those years and you were depressed?”

” Yes. All those years. If I hadn’t become a Buddhist, I’d still be depressed,” I explained.

There was a tone of incredulity in her voice. I could understand why she wouldn’t really understand. I had allowed just a single incident in my life to ruin my life. I wasted most of my growing years being depressed and unhappy. I would never have understood this if I hadn’t become a Buddhist.

To a Buddhist, it would really not make sense why you would allow yourself to be unhappy. But when I used to be a Catholic, I thought it was normal to embrace my suffering. And now I finally understand how unreasonable that is.

We humans really do create our own suffering. We cling to our past. We cling to our unhappiness. We are so identified with our pain and suffering that we are afraid to let it go. We are afraid that if we let go, we lose ourselves.

I used to believe that my childhood trauma made me unique. In a way, I was afraid that if I forgot all about it, I would forget who I was. But what is the self? The self is but temporary. I am not the same person I was yesterday. Surely, I would have been a different person by tomorrow. The self is like life. The self changes all the time. That is why, it is futile to cling to your past. Buddhism is about embracing life.

I told Faye about my victimizer. I told her about my uncle who was the reason behind my unhappiness. But I told her that I was in the process of forgiving him. And I also mentioned my ex-boyfriend. The other source of my unhappiness. Faye saw a pattern.

” Your ex-boyfriend is a drug addict like your uncle. And look at the both of them. They are the source of your pain. That’s a karmic sign right there. You have to overcome that, ” she pointed out.

Although I have seen the similarities between my uncle and my ex-boyfriend, I never thought of it as a karmic pattern. But it is true, history is bound to repeat itself. This happens so that we can learn from it.

” I never really thought of it this way. So you mean to say, my uncle and my ex-boyfriend is my karma?” I asked.

” Yes. And you have to keep on chanting so that you’ll overcome your karma.”

We sat by the damp sand. Faye tried to explain individual karma and collective karma. She explained it as simply as she could. She said that change starts with a single person. Once the change spreads, society changes as well. Basically, she was telling me that change starts within. Change is like fire, it starts at a single point and then it spreads.

” Nations have a collective karma,” she said. ” That’s why there are nations that are poor and nations that are rich. ”

” Oh you mean like our country? We have a collective karma?” I asked.

” Look at Japan. They used to be a very poor country. But they’re prosperous right now. Once a single person changes, that change would spread to other people. And that change would bring about change to society as a whole.”

She tried to explain to me in words what Buddhism is. She wasn’t able to explain it rather well. But I still got the message. I realized that Buddhism is about life. And that Buddha-hood is about embracing life.

Life has ups and downs. Life has challenges and obstacles. What is important is to have that unwavering faith that even if there are difficulties, you are not overwhelmed by it. One must have faith like flowing water.

I feel so blessed that I became a Buddhist at this point in my life. If I hadn’t embraced Buddhism, I wouldn’t have understood myself. And I wouldn’t have this profound understanding of life. I know I have so much more to learn. I may not know what tomorrow brings, but unlike before, I am no longer worried about the future. I know that whatever obstacles come my way, I would be able to overcome it.

Becoming a Buddhist has actually made me more aware of how precious life is. That is why you always see a smile on a Buddhist’s face. Buddhists are experts on life.

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