Even if you become a Buddha – the ‘enlightened one’ or the ‘perfect one’, or whatever it is – you have to come back to this imperfect world to live with its imperfect people!
The world will not change, just because you have changed… When you come back to this imperfect world, don’t expect to see the Buddhas all around you. It will frustrate you!
The Buddha is an enlightened one: loving, patient, kind, forgiving, accommodating, and empowering…
And, above all, the Buddha is the ‘wise one’.
Therefore, Buddha’s greatest wisdom is: this world is imperfect; its people, too!
“Why do we judge others?”
This morning, I found myself showing a great deal of impatience with some of my students. I was revising something which we had done in the class many times over… a simple chapter, in deed. Some students were making ‘silly’ mistakes and I was getting irritated and yelling at them.
Was it helping them?
Certainly not. It was doing exactly the opposite: They were more nervous - fumbled more… and, ended up making more mistakes.
Why was I doing it, in spite of all my wisdom?
Well, now that the group is gone… and, I am writing about it. Probably, that’s why I am able to see the reason…
I had coolly forgotten the fact that I was three times my fumbling-students’ age… That, I had taken decades to reach where I had… yes, to become the Buddha… if that was what I was expecting them to be!
Believe me, the moment I grasp this simple truth – that others too will have to take their own time to reach the ‘bodhi tree’… I find in me the patience and tolerance. My judgment drops… and, I find enough kindness and care to nurture another fallible soul in this world.
Yes, not until I grasp this simple truth: that, others too will have to take their own time to reach the ‘bodhi tree’… That they too will have to sit for many, many years to become the Buddhas like me.
There is one more way to help and heal myself: “What if I were in my student’s place and my teacher did the same thing to me?”
Empathy seldom comes in our hearts, unless someone treats us like a tyrant!
As a teacher, I do succumb to times like this… show a great deal of impatience, intolerance, and harshness. But, fortunately, it doesn’t happen too often… And, whenever it does, I, immediately, get the inner signal that I have to do amends, quickly… And, yes, I do. If that calls for my apology, I give.
“Those who live in glass houses should not throw stones.”
Oh, this old wisdom!
Every time I indulge in ‘stone-throwing’,
I only end up breaking my own glass house…!
I seriously believe, that, such moments –
as this morning’s –
are important for my spiritual growth…
After all, am I not being ‘spiritual’ when I realize:
That, like others, I too live in a glass house?
That, like me, they too will have to sit under the bodhi tree for many, many years?
And yes, that, it is ‘perfect’ to be in an ‘imperfect’ world?
The student. The teacher. The Buddha. … All have to live in this imperfect world…
In the ‘glass houses’!
Pics.: Prakash S. Nayak