A quote usually attributed to Buddha says, “Pain is inevitable but suffering is optional.” What a profound statement!
There is no suffering if you can let go. Pain becomes immaterial in the absence of suffering. I am reminded of a story I had come across a while ago. As follows:
After a day of preaching and alms, two fellow monks, in brimming youth, of more or less the same age, with one being more senior, were returning to their monastery while the sun was returning to his abode. Firmly established in their conduct, they would walk with their heads down and glances scanning not beyond two feet. Those were the days of monsoon and the gods seemed happy as it rained generously that day too. The valley was green and puddles of water looked like patches of random art on the unpaved roads. Their monastery beautifully set in the magnificent mountains was past a rivulet, barely six feet wide, that would have strong water current during the monsoons.
Naturally, they had to cross the rivulet to get to the monastery. As they arrive at the bank of the river, they see a beautiful young woman, white like the pearlescent snow-capped mountains of the valley, with a softly radiating face like the morning sun, standing there still but somewhat anxious. They exchange glances; the senior monk understood that the young lady was afraid of crossing the swollen rivulet.
Without any verbal communication and with no further ado, he gets closer to the feminine idol and gently picks her up in his arms. He crosses the river and puts her down, even more gently, on the other side of the river. She bows in gratitude and respect before making tracks towards her home.
The younger monk is somewhat troubled by the actions of the senior one. Out of veneration and respect, however, he stays quiet. The two monks continue walking towards their destination. Silence persists for a good few hours before it is broken by the junior monk.
“Can I please ask you a question, if I may?” He mutters.
“Yes, of course.” The elder one replies.
“According to our code of conduct, we are not allowed to touch a woman.” His statement fails to hide the imminent question hiding in it.
The senior monk says, “Yes, indeed.”
The younger one finally asks, “So, how come you carried that young woman across?”
“I did not carry the woman, I simply lifted the one in need, ” the elder one says, adding, “Besides, I left her on the other side of the river and you are still carrying her, brother.”
Most people do not want to let go, many others, do not know how to. On the journey of self transformation, under the practices of mental transformation, the next post in the series will highlight the practice of letting go. Stay tuned.