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Buddhists/Chaos in Real Life

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Question
I am a Canadian woman in my 60's.  I am drawn to Buddhism but do not know how to proceed.  I meditate daily, practice mindfulness and breathing, and study books on Buddhism.  There is no Sangha in my rural community, and my husband is not spiritual at all so I have no support.  Still, I try to live the Eightfold Path.

My question is:  How do you maintain equanimity and peace, and spread loving kindness in a hostile personal environment?  Not only do I live daily (and have for 43 years) with my husband's anger, my extended family is abusive, self-abusive, loud, and disrespectful.  Visits with them are chaotic and upsetting, no matter how I try to stay with my breath and the present moment, and remain peaceful.

Buddhism in a monastery with fellow practitioners would be peaceful and easy in contrast to the chaos and abuse that is my life.  How does one practice Buddhism in real life?

Answer
Hi Hazel,

"How do you maintain equanimity and peace, and spread loving kindness in a hostile personal environment? ,,,,How does one practice Buddhism in real life?"

The answer to your questions will be the message of the Buddha.  We are used to the assumption that there is always a solution to a problem.  If we take this stand, then we are going to be very disappointed because we think that every problem must have a solution.  When we cannot resolve the problems, we get very upset.  

We need to change our perception to life.  Once we understand the real nature of life and existence, then we are better equiped to face problems in live.  Let's start with the Buddha's teaching of the first Noble Truth.  The first truth is that existence is "unsatisfactory". It is the nature of this world that there will always be problems.  That is why existence is unsatisfactory; and at times sorrowful.  We cannot change this truth.  Knowing and realizing this truth means we must have the wisdom to accept this unsatisfactory nature of life.  Once we can accept this truth, we will make effort to accept whatever unsatisfactoriness that comes our way.  "Acceptance" is not blind "submission". Acceptance means the wisdom to acknowledge that there will be problems in this world.  The next step is to try our best to solve whatever problems that confront us.  Having done our best, and still we have problems, then we have two alternatives; get away from the problems, or just be with the problem but not of the problem.  Sometimes there is not much choice.  That's the reality of life.  

With this Buddhist understanding and wisdom, we live through life like a surfer riding the waves. If we cannot control the external factors, at least not let our mind be troubled by them.          

You may like to visit this site by a monk residing in Canada.  Bhante Kovida is a friend of mine and you can communicate with him by mentioning my name.
http://www.bhantekovida.com/

Take care.

Justin Choo

Buddhists

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Justin Choo

Expertise

All your questions will be answered, and you may not have to agree with the answers. Such is the beauty of Buddhism. I follow the Theravada tradition, and have been studying Buddhism for more than 50 years. As I am not a Buddhist scholar, I answer in simple language, and I prefer answering general questions rather than textual.

Experience

I was brought up in the 50's as a Buddhist. For the past 50 years I have read numerous books on Buddhism and listened to numerous talks on Buddhism by well-respected and learned monks and lay teachers. I have conducted Buddhist classes for parents of Sunday School children in a Theravada Buddhist Temple. My teacher was the late Chief Reverend, The Ven. K Sri Dhammananda of The Brickfields Buddhist Mahavihara, Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. You can view the relevant website in memory of my revered late teacher @ http://www.ksridhammananda.com and my blog posting at http://blackandwhite999.blogspot.com/2008/08/my-revered-teacher.html

Organizations
I am a life member of the Buddhist Missionary Society Malaysia.

Publications
YOU ARE INVITED TO VISIT MY BLOG @ http://lifeislikethat999.blogspot.com/ Published a book called "The Rainbow And The Treasure". It is a compilation of extracts from various sources to introduce Buddhism to beginners. (Currently out of print)

Education/Credentials
Bachelor of Commerce And Administration, Victoria University Of Wellington, NZ.(1974)

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