EBT advice for trying times

We just had an election and the results are harrowing . The son of the dictator who plundered our country and killed his own citizens will now be in power. His running mate is the daughter of the current president who is infamous for his human rights violations. I just feel hopeless and kind of numb. I kindly ask for any quotes ,suttas or advice that can help and may lift the spirits . Thank you.

3 Likes

Elections, wars, the financial collapse of Sri Lanka, etc are part of the rise and fall of samsara seen on a grand scale. So it is important to seperate conventional from ultimate reality. The steps for doing that are in the stages of insight, in this case purity of view:

"In the same way, my friend, purity in terms of virtue is simply for the sake of purity in terms of mind. Purity in terms of mind is simply for the sake of purity in terms of view. Purity in terms of view is simply for the sake of purity in terms of the overcoming of perplexity. "—MN 24

2 Likes

Snp 4.15 really moves me in trying times. The Buddha talks about how violence moved him to find peace within his own heart.

6 Likes

The “Future Dangers” suttas were liked by Prince Ashoka and referenced on his edicts/pillars. They’re about how things can quickly take a turn for the worst at any moment and therefore one should not take peaceful times for granted and use that time to attain liberation.

Furthermore, the monk reminds himself of this: At present people are in harmony, on friendly terms, without quarreling, like milk mixed with water, viewing one another with eyes of affection. The time will come, though, when there is danger and an invasion of savage tribes. Taking power, they will surround the countryside. When there is danger, people will congregate where it is safe. There they will live packed and crowded together. When one is living packed and crowded together, it is not easy to pay attention to the Buddha’s teachings. It is not easy to reside in isolated forest or wilderness dwellings. Before this unwelcome, disagreeable, displeasing thing happens, let me first make an effort for the attaining of the as-yet-unattained, the reaching of the as-yet-unreached, the realization of the as-yet-unrealized, so that — endowed with that Dhamma — I will live in peace even when there is danger.

This is the fourth future danger that is just enough, when considered, for a monk — heedful, ardent, and resolute — to live for the attaining of the as-yet-unattained, the reaching of the as-yet-unreached, the realization of the as-yet-unrealized.

https://www.accesstoinsight.org/lib/authors/thanissaro/asoka.html

5 Likes

May I offer:

The only “place” where we have the energy and power to skillfully meet these challenges is the citta, the heart/mind. It can be done. That’s our leverage point.

Practicing the Brahamaviharas, looking deeply into anicca, dukkha, and anattā, jhana/samadhi practices – these not only lead to more ease, happiness, and equanimity here and now, they pave the way to the end of dukkha. These are the “tools” we can use at any time. They work.

In SN 22.1 an elderly man meets the Buddha and says how his body is falling apart. He asks for a teaching in how to deal with this and the Buddha says to train like this:
"āturakāyassa me sato cittaṁ anāturaṁ bhavissatī’ – “Though my body is ailing, my mind will be healthy.”

This can sound like a slogan on a poster but, of course, there’s much more to it – including the Buddha’s pointing to the mind as the place of practice leading to freedom.

The body’s gonna do what it’s gonna do and the world will spin through cycles of painful and less painful.
But sincerely cultivating the Dhamma brings great benefits here and now – and leads to the way out of the whole mess. :slightly_smiling_face: :pray:

4 Likes

RMC, I am very sorry that you find yourself in this situation.

Are you referring to The Philippines?

I’ve discovered the hard way that Buddhist forums can be barren places to find emotional comfort during hard times. I don’t know if it is the deficiencies of pure text communication, the doctrines, or the individuals in the forums.

My sincere hope is that finding a lack of comfort and a lack of support is NOT your experience.

It is trivial compared to your situation, but I remember the aftermath of Trump getting elected in 2016. I also some have apprehension on a daily basis about upcoming elections in the US and the continuing rise in right wing populism.

Living in frequent apprehension about the future really, really, really stinks.

At the vihara I go to is a wonderful and empathetic bhikkhu. Also a regular attendee of the meditation sessions who is high strung, who knows it, and who has admitted it. After Trump was elected he was very upset and frequently upset.

The bhikkhu didn’t have any words that would come across as magic bullets in a text based medium.

However, I’ve known the bhikkhu, that guy, and the meditation regulars for years.

When that guy expressed how upset he was the bhikkhu, with kindness AND gravitas basically told him to remember what he was taught.

All the comfort was between the lines of his words, in his empathy, in his confidence, and all of us knowing each other, but it helped take an edge off for a while.

My sincere hope is that you find some way to do that as well.

2 Likes

I recently read Bhante G’s autobiography, Journey to Mindfulness. In it, he reflects on the difficult times and people he has encountered, and how, if they hadn’t been so difficult, he may not have found his path to the dhamma. Hearing how he frames his life and its obstacles is helping me as I go through a difficult transition (I also did not find support here).

1 Like

Much Metta, @RMC

I found Bhante @Akaliko 's video here quite helpful.

I find many of the writings and talks of Bhantes @sujato and @Akaliko quite helpful. They are available via their website.
https://lokanta.github.io/
I find them helpful because they are consciously living the experiment - how do you remain a compassionate Buddhist when climate change might be ending the world - that all of us our living, but maybe not always so consciously.

Good luck! :heart: :pray:

3 Likes

Good sutta!

I found the Sujato translation MUCH easier to understand:

https://suttacentral.net/snp4.15/en/sujato

1 Like

Looking at the state of the world, the macro and the micro is terrifying. It’s doubly terrifying when you have kids or young siblings, what will happen to them? Samsara is horrible. It’s a powerless feeling.

But we are not powerless. We just have to do our best, care for others and ourselves as best we can, and not lose heart. We have the three jewels and we have ways to deal with all the pain. We just have to do the work. It’s hard, I know, but it can be done. The Buddha did it, and I trust him because I’ve seen the Dharma work - even if just a little.

Stay safe, do your best.

3 Likes

Times are always trying. The body is always subject to old-age, disease and death. People want “good times” - or even just “not bad times” - to help ease this or forget about it altogether. Some in the world are lucky to live in places that are safe and comfortable and can become very skilled at suppressing the pain of this grim reality, while others are without such luxury and must face it every day.

The Dhamma applies to a view that doesn’t ignore this and won’t really be effective in supplying or generating notions of hope and happiness unless the individual is willing to consistently face the truth of their situation and work their way out of it.

4 Likes

Well said @SDC !

I’ve found the advice of Sayadaw U Tejaniya very helpful:

Wisdom is freedom. Anything can come, and anything can be the experience. Whatever it is, is fine.

2 Likes