Mindfulness in Plain English – Henepola Gunaratana

Henepola Gunaratana

How would you deal with the death of your spouse? How would you feel if you lost your mother tomorrow? Or your sister or your closest friend? Suppose you lost your job, your savings, and the use of your legs, on the same day; could you face the prospect of spending the rest of your life in a wheelchair?

How will you deal with your own death, when that approaches? You may escape most of these misfortunes, but you won’t escape all of them. You can suffer through things like that or you can face them openly – the choice is yours.

Pain is inevitable, suffering is not. Pain and suffering are two different animals. If any of these tragedies strike you in your present state of mind, you will suffer… Buddhism does advise you to invest some of your time and energy in learning to deal with unpleasantness, because some pain is unavoidable. When you see a truck bearing down on you, by all means jump out of the way. But spend some time in meditation, too. Learning to deal with discomfort is the only way you’ll be ready to handle the truck you didn’t see.

– Henepola Gunaratana, Mindfulness in Plain English