The middle path

I just watched Samsara. It was a largely quiet movie. I’m estimating about 200 lines of dialogue overall, in a 2 hr 10 min movie! It was boring at times, almost tempting to multitask, but that’s what the director wanted to convey [what I think].

The movie was about a monk who renounces celibacy to experience normal life, which he does, for years…until he almost cheats on his wife and realises how desire is corrupting him. So he leaves, like Siddhartha left Yashodhara, and heads back to the monastery. Just before he reaches his destination, he’s confronted by his wife, who gives him a piece of her mind, with a very feminist speech, before washing her hands off him.

The nature of desire is anomalous. You conquer countries by invading and occupying them, as if you were collecting real estate deeds. But desire, it’s one of the few you conquer by throwing it away.

“What’s more important? Satisfying a thousand desires or conquering just one?” Or more pertinently, which is more satisfying or more worthy of achieving?

Most times, when you want something sooo badly, and finally get it, you don’t get as much joy from having it as you thought you might. Maybe the thrill of the wanting sensation, the chase and the climactic achievement overshadows that of possession. Maybe.

A friend [Ranjay] said monks don’t abstain from desire, they shut themselves from it and assume that’s abstinence. Well, it’s true in some cases. But if a monk has taken up monkhood by choice, then it’s not his interest to hang around temptation because he doesn’t get tempted or can control his desire so as to not want to be tempted in the first place, and SO ends up in a monastic area, doing monastic things.

And there is no middle path for many things. Suppose you’re in a marriage that you’re not interested in anymore. It’s selfish to leave, and selfless to stay. Selfless is laudable, but surely there should be room for a compromise? I mean, c’mon what kinda marriage is it if you don’t want to be in it anymore? What kinda marriage will it be if you stay only because you’re obligated to? Just an example.

So much for the Middle Way. It IS an elegant philosophy, but it doesn’t make sense. Not to me. Buddha became enlightened; did he pass on the fruits of his “research”? Or did he tell his disciples to find out on their own, but gave a few tips on how to get there? WHAT?

“Middle Path” may be misunderstood as equivocal. In fact Buddhism is not as such. “Middle” means neutral, upright, and centered. It means to investigate and penetrate the core of life and all things with an upright, unbiased attitude. In order to solve a problem, we should position ourselves on neutral, upright and unbiased ground. We investigate the problem from various angles, analyze the findings, understand the truth thoroughly, and find a reasonable conclusion.

The Middle Path in Buddhism does not mean having a biased view or superficial understanding only. The “Middle Path” represents a distinct theory and way of Buddhist practice that is not common to other religions. Buddhism is a religion with high moral values. It lays great emphasis on human thought and action in dealing with the natural environment, society or individual problems. It is concerned with the relationship between thoughts and behavior, and the relationship between behavior and its consequences. From http://www.buddhanet.net/cbp2_f4.htm

Personally, if I had to choose, I’d rather conquer just that one desire, or die trying. Cos the other option is nigh impossible. Who said you can actually satisfy desire? If you could, then it wouldn’t be desire; it’d be thrist or hunger or need. Not desire.

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