Treading softly

It is said that you should be nice to people on your way up in your job as you will probably meet those people on your way down.  This applies not only to work but to life.  Buddhism tells us that we are not separate but people with the same problems- life, ageing, sickness and death- no matter who were are.  You can be the Prime Minister of a country but you will still suffer from the problems that life, ageing, sickness and death throws at you.

I have had people in my life who have been really bad towards me.  I realise now that they were immature or probably suffering deeply themselves to treat others like this.  However, I made the humiliation and suffering they inflicted on me as sources for further creativity. ‘Turning poison into medicine’ as Buddhism says.  These people will also go through these four universal sufferings- the same as me. As Nichiren says in this beautifully evocative piece of writing-

“How long does a lifetime last? If one stops to consider, it is like a single night’s lodging at a wayside inn…Once you awaken to the uncertainty and transience of this world, you will find endless examples confronting your eyes and filling your ears. Vanished like clouds or rain, the people of past ages have left nothing but their names. Fading away like dew, drifting far off like smoke, our friends of today too disappear from sight. Should you suppose that you alone can somehow remain forever like the clouds over Mount Mikasa?
The spring blossoms depart with the wind; maple leaves turn red in autumn showers. All are proof that no living thing can stay for long in this world.”

Therefore in life, it is best to tread softly as W B Yeats has said.  To treat our fellow passengers in this passage of life and time with respect while respecting ourselves too.  For even if we don’t meet them again on our way down or up, we will always meet the four sufferings.  When someone disrespects me, I always tell them but then I let it go like the autumn leaves that blow away in the wind.  In order to respect your own creativity and life, I have learnt to let go of these people and what they did or said and felt so much better for it.



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