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Buddhadharma : Summer 2017
summer 2 0 1 7 buddhadharma: the practitioner’s quarterly 17 imperishable, we should pass over material gifts and focus our efforts solely on offering others the gift of the dhamma, which alone leads to everlasting peace. This argument calls for a considered response. We might first point out that it overlooks the fact that the Buddha praises giving in all its forms, whenever the gift brings genuine benefit. He never underrates the importance of material gifts and espe- cially emphasizes the gift of food. He says that if one knew the benefits of giving and sharing as he knows them, one would not eat without sharing one’s food, even if one were down to one’s last morsel. We should not let our understanding of the dhamma—which for most of us is theoretical—blind us to the tangible types of bodily and mental suffering that ordinary people face due to poverty and oppressive social conditions. If our sense of identity with others is sufficiently strong, we will be spurred to act to relieve their suffering as effortlessly as if moved by a reflex. Then all arguments against such activity will sound hollow and pointless, and counterarguments will be unnecessary. To liberate people from this kind of suffering is certainly a great blessing—a blessing for those who experi- ence it, and also a blessing for those who make it possible. FROM BuDDhIST GLOBAL RELIEF’S helping handS, FALL 2016 We’re only human Life can be hard, says Ajahn Sundara. And that’s okay. The Buddhist teachings give us a lot of tools we can use, but that’s still not liber- ation. Liberation is when we start letting go, when we start freeing the heart through renouncing all the things in our mind that keep us unhappy—depression, despair, lack of confidence, fear, anxiety, and so on. As I become older, I see more and more clearly that human life is really difficult. There are so many things to do and so many things to attend to just to survive at the physical level. Then we have to look after people. Some people are perhaps married, and look after the children and the dog and the cat and the house and the car and the bank accounts. There’s nothing wrong with that. It’s just really not easy to live a human life. It demands a lot of energy to attend to all these things. It’s not an obstacle to liberation, necessarily. If you feel your life is difficult and troublesome, don’t blame yourself. It is just human life. You’re living a human life, and it’s just like that. You can make peace. You can make peace with being human, with the joy and the difficulties of a human life, and continue to develop a sense of great gratitude toward the Buddha’s teachings for enabling us to live our human life with a sense that it is worthwhile. It doesn’t need to have a mean- ing. I think it is a little bit difficult to search for meaning. We never find meaning. The meaning is life itself, and to make the best of it while we are still alive. FROM AMARAVATI.ORG, DECEMBER 11, 2016 The Source