Uncertainty

by Friends of Godwin

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It is interesting that in certain cultures what is happening externally can be more unpredictable, because unexpected things often happen. Maybe here it’s not so bad because you get the impression that everything is under control, and to a great extent you can predict what will happen. But in a country like Sri Lanka it is entirely different. You never know what’s going to happen. Always the unexpected can happen. I will give just one or two examples.

Now here I have been travelling on the railway system, there is no problem, there is always a train. You can time a visit and you’ll be able to catch a particular train and you’ll be there. In Sri Lanka this doesn’t happen. You may not even know whether there is a next train. So you go to the train station and they say today the train is two hours late or there is some problem with the rail track and today there is no train. So this is very good for the practice because you learn to be open to uncertainty.

This is a very deep but very profound aspect of the Buddha’s teaching, to be open to uncertainty, to be open to the unexpected, because this is the real nature of life. So realising that this is the real nature of life we cease trying to control the environment in particular ways. Of course it can give a sense of security when you think that everything is under control and there is no problem, but this kind of security is a very fragile, false kind of security.

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