There was a week of studying nonstop getting ready for class, then half a week of being sick and slowly getting better, and now I can get back to what I had planned on putting up here a couple of weeks ago- a basic explanation of some of the central ideas of Buddhism. Here we go:
#1 Life is Awry
Some doors just don't close properly.
At nighttime we see things in corners that aren't really there.
We think that people who can't understand us are stupid.
We can't really understand ourselves half of the time.
A blindfolded man thinks that Pepsi is Coke, and that an elephant's leg is a column on a building.
The right words spring to our lips hours after we've been insulted and need a snappy comeback.
The things that make us happy make us sad when we lose them, and sad when we don't have them, even if they don't often make us happy while we do have them.
A chair is four legs and a seat and a back, but all of those things on the floor aren't a chair.
Our mind constantly turns over and over and over when we're trying to sleep, but can't come up with the name of an important client when we first see her.
Good people often die miserable, and horrible people sometimes die wealthy and contented.
We are told lies as a child about Tooth Fairies, and Santa, and Easter Bunnies, and we're angry that we've been lied to, yet we tell the same lies to our children.
The nearer and dearer someone is to us, the more room we have to be miserable when they hurt us, or devastated when they leave us.
We change from day to day and year to year, but we imagine ourselves as one continuous person.
When you point at something and name it, you have shown how little of it you understand, but what can you do without naming?
Life is awry. Life is unsteady, anxious, stressful, unnameable.
This isn't good or bad, it just is what it is. There is no system of solving these problems, this situation, because it is fundamental to life itself. There are only ways of trying to deal with it healthily and truthfully.
Realizing that life is awry, that life is unsteady and unsound, is the first step to understanding.