padma norbu wrote:Does it matter? Do you care that you're alive? Was the idea that nirvana "snuffs the flame" ever appealing to you because you might have kind of a Freudian death-wish?
I'm happy to be alive and have been for a while, because I'm happy to have another day to practice more and to be with the people who I get to see. It sounds corny, but it's true. I get a lot of pleasure and joy out of getting up in the morning.
I've never been able to wrap my mind around the appeal of nirvana as analogous to "fire unbound." I'm more interested in continuities. There have been times, though, when I've felt very deep despair and contemplated whether or not it was worthwhile to carry on living. Doing better in recent years.
How are you doing, padma norbu? How do you feel about it?
You pretty much summed up my thoughts. I've come to the conclusion that the only solution to this predicament is 24-7 practice, which makes sense when you consider the fact that all serious practitioners seem to be doing that. The only thing I like to do anymore is have fun with friends, which happens more infrequently these days and there's always some communication problems that creep in and ruin a good time for me. If there was a button I could push that simply wiped out all trace of my existence permanently and forever, I would push it without hesitation. The deathless state of the Buddhas is probably not exactly what I'm thinking of, but close enough and the best option given the situation, it seems.
Sadly, I am just a bad practitioner. Maybe somehow I will get better soon. I am really hoping so... It is really quite amazing, but the older I get, the more I realize that I simply can't make
myself do anything anymore. I don't know how I got this way. It's weird. I can only perform under duress. Hopefully, I will be given a definitive death sentence one day like "you have just three months to live" and I'll go HOLY CRAP, I need to spend that 3 months in retreat! Dharma practice under duress seems like it might be difficult, but maybe not. Maybe I'd feel like there are no more distractions. Then again, maybe I will be distracted by profound sadness of all the things I took for granted that now suddenly seem awesome. Like how I currently feel about childhood: back then I thought I couldn't wait to be an adult so nobody can tell me what to do (LOL, kids) and now I'm like, "you know... being a kid would be great! If I could do it all over..." Strangely paradoxical feelings about life and death, I guess.
"Use what seems like poison as medicine. We can use our personal suffering as the path to compassion for all beings." Pema Chodron