illustration (attribution, if any possible, is at the end of the article)
(a "sudden awakening, gradual cultivation" presentation)
Number one phenomenon when someone gets some bad news? Looking for 'reasons', rationalising some causal narrative or another…
If that involves blaming the victim (possibly oneself), so be it! If that involves blaming "past lives" or an "invisible hand" one actually knows nothing about, really, so be it! If that involves blaming "sheer bad luck", so be it (even though this is just a label asserting "I have no clue", but one still gets the feeling that something was 'explained')!
Well, life doesn't conform to one's expectations.
There's no point in seeking the cause for that, except in the biases and naïveness of one's expectations, except in not "seeing reality as it is."
You'll take a shovel in the face, it's not a matter of 'if', it's only a matter of 'when': you'll age and you'll die. You're likely to be sick at some point too… Even if nothing else happens, that's enough for disappointment to arise because, guess what? You don't fall sick when it's 'convenient', you don't age at a 'convenient' speed, you don't die when it's 'convenient'. Clinging to one's expectations and one's wishes is the one sure recipe to be disappointed.
you don't know when,
phenomena don't occur as you'd wish them to,
that's the only insight you truly need to start the path,
so, here and now, what are you going to do?
(this is not the same as "what are you going to do about it "… as if your personal death or your timing were any more key in the universe than anyone else's).
You can lead a wise and virtuous life, one which doesn't make death disappear but which ensures that you have no guilt or regret when you'll die…
Virtue is an antidote to guilt.
Wisdom is an antidote to regret, by dropping one's biased views, one's prejudices, one's selfish preferences… by "seeing things as they are" rather than projecting veils and categories and expectations over them.
Both virtue and wisdom may be cultivated, strengthened.
Virtue itself makes the cultivation of wisdom easier (by removing obstacles such as enemies that need to be dealt with, who you easily generate for yourself if you try to satisfy selfish desires indiscriminately). Virtue itself can be cultivated first by following precepts, then by understanding causality and living one's life accordingly… Virtue nurtures wisdom which nurtures virtue (e.g. by giving insights into causality, allowing the shift from rule-based morality to causality-based morality).
It's a virtuous circle, but everyone needs to do the first step for themselves, no one else can do it for you!
Interestingly, when you truly lead a wise and virtuous life which ensures that you have no guilt or regret when you'll die, you also have no guilt or regret while you live!
• "the four tasks of the noble one"
• "advice for beginners"
• die in peace
• Nāgārjuna's encouragement to practice the Dharma
• 'precepts' in Buddhism
• accepting things "as they are"
• 'abused'… by one's anticipations
• seeking the end of suffering is not running away from suffering
unattributed gif… here and now, what are you going to do?