March 3, 2009

exp. 7/17/2007

I am currently taking a Buddhism class, and really really enjoying it. We have talked about the basic fundamentals etc. etc., and one of the truths is that "life is suffering." At first this sounds extremely pessimistic, but when you think about it it's actually very true. We form attachments to everything around us whether it be tangible objects (ipods, cars, computers) or people. We forget that everything is impermanent and that everything will die. The buddhists view death differently from the way most western religions do; they see it as a part of life and accept it for what it is because ultimately everyone will die. This is a hard thing for us to think about, but it is true and there is nothing we can do about it.

I realize this sounds like such a downer to us because we typically don't like to think of life this way. But try taking this view of death and putting it in the mindset that we should appreciate everything around us while it's still here, and all of a sudden the thought seems very optimistic. We were talking in class how we take things for granted, and that we can't even recall little details about small things, such as our environment while walking into town.

This is what struck me. I couldn't tell you anything about the signs and buildings on the side of the 5 on my way to and from work, but I can tell you every goddamn thing about the walk from the collége in Cannes into town. I swear I remember every step, every smell, everything.

This made me ask myself why I could still recall these details so easily even thought it has been almost two years since I left for Cannes. I came to the conclusion it was because I knew I would only be there for a certain amount of time, and then it would be over. I wanted to take in as much as possible so that I could enjoy it while it lasted. This got me thinking that this must be how buddhists view life. Because everything essentially has an expiration date, everything is precious and we should enjoy every aspect of life while it lasts, because some day we will die. It sounds harsh even to me as I write this, but I like the thought of seeing everything as impermanent (like my stay in Cannes) and trying to enjoy every aspect of it while I can. I know this sounds preachy and I really don't mean for it to. It's just something that I've been thinking about and wanted to put into words so that I could better understand the idea myself.

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