Because sensual pleasures, elegant, honeyed, & charming, bewitch the mind with their manifold forms — seeing this drawback in sensual strands — wander alone like a rhinoceros.“KHAGGAVISANA SUTTA: A RHINOCEROS” (SN 1.3), TRANSLATED FROM THE PALI BY THANISSARO BHIKKHU. ACCESS TO INSIGHT (BCBS EDITION), 30 NOVEMBER 2013, HTTP://WWW.ACCESSTOINSIGHT.ORG/TIPITAKA/KN/SNP/SNP.1.03.THAN.HTML .
“Calamity, tumor, misfortune, disease, an arrow, a danger for me.” Seeing this danger in sensual strands, wander alone like a rhinoceros.
When we think about Buddha, we remember Him as an enlightened being. A teacher of dharma, who taught both men and gods. A disciplined chief monk who lead an exemplary life.
And when we read verses such as those above, we think it is a little bit harsh. Especially if we enjoy frolicking in social parties and attending entertainment venues (gym, theater and cinema). Most of the time, we simply brushed it off by saying, “Ah, that verse is for the monks” or “That is so anti-social, what does monk knows about social life?”
We forgot that Buddha used to be a prince and lived a high life too. He was entertained ceaselessly by beautiful people. He enjoyed luxuries, had a beautiful wife and a son too. He knew what life was like, living at the top of the social pyramid.
Naturally, he is qualified to form an informed opinion that all those temptation in life is not worth sacrificing our practices and mindfulness.
Entertainments, parties and social gathering, those beautiful moments of laughter and fun is enchanting and bewitching. We temporarily forget about our worries and pains in life. We temporarily forget about our inherent sadness. The sadness of our mortality and fragility.
When the parties end, we try to cling to good memories. We have an empty feeling and we quickly plan and imagine the next party. We longed for the next good party to create new memories of fun and laughter.
In this manner, one gathering after another, relieving past memories and imagining the next one to come. Life seems fleeting. We escape into our enchanted land. One year seems to past by so quickly.
When we are now locked in because of home quarantine (This article is written during the 2020 covid-19 pandemic), we are at a lost. Time seems to drag? We try watching TV and we see death. The number seems to increase everyday. We are scared. We feel lost and we feel sad.
Don’t be alarmed but be happy. Because we are finally waking. The life that is not bewitched by partying is actually thus. Before the lock down, there were deaths everyday too, we just pretend it is not happening. Now, we are forced to face it. Our mortality and fragility.
Before the lock down, time is the same as now. We lost mindfulness and we lost time. We thought we were living when in fact we were dreaming. We were bewitched by our busy work life and social commitment, that’s all.
Now that we have amble stay home and alone time. Do not be scared and do not be depressed. Perhaps,it is a good opportunity for us to explore the Buddha’s message. Try meditation and establish mindfulness.
It may seem boring and time really drag. tick tick tick. We want to escape again. switch on the TV and etc. But wait, are you sure you want to go back to “sleep” again? Perhaps, now is the time to understand what living really means. Get in touch with ourselves and our mind.
From a practitioner’s point of view, sensual pursuit is like “Calamity, tumor, misfortune, disease, an arrow, a danger for me”
Why? Because it kills our awareness and let us “escape”. There is a new blockbuster, lets go check it out. There’s a new restaurant in town, lets go check it out. A fashion show. An art exhibition and the list continues. That was how we kill time.
We live without living. If you had been lamenting life is too short, try sitting and meditating today.
Tick, tick,tick…… I hope you don’t complain that a second is too long.
Let the monkey mind settle down. Live life simply and enjoy living for once. In the safety of your home.
May all be well and happy.