Burma, Sharing

Life jumps, señor

There are times when I’d rather avoid having a close look at decay, or change, if you like. In the last few days, I try to go where I can see blossoms spectacularly blooming in rich colours, enjoying nature, fresh air (possible also in Yangon!) and a good talk with a friend. Does this mean I am not able to be fully at ease with what is – because I tend to approach the more convenient or say, the brighter side of life? Of course it is more agreeable to sleep in a comfortable bed in a bamboo bungalow than to rest for some hours on the dusty playing ground in the midst of Yangon concrete jungle.

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Bamboo Guesthouse terrace

There is a difference: Thursday… Sleeping on the ground with garbage all around and mozzies buzzing and mice scavenging and and empty stomach and the thought I might be stumbled upon by a bunch of drunken rowdies who beat me up for nothing. Friday: Sleeping on an optimally soft-tight mattress after a strong shower and a rich dinner with lovely newfound friends, feeling the air-con in the bamboo-rattan cottage and having no worries at all, and a bus ticket to the beach for the next day. Of course, big difference!

How is it that in less than 24 hours the sisters fortune & fate can change so much? Without Daniel being unreachable I’d never have gotten up at 4:30 and met Kyi Thu Shein two hours after that. Had never asked him about the bus. Had never been told about his hometown Myaungmya. Without that night in the dark alley, without that time spent without bed nor cover – I didn’t dare to put up the newly repaired hammock as I tried to remain hidden) nor shower nor dinner I would not be where I am right now. That’s a fact. I don’t say that it brought me here. But I dare say there are conditions and causes for every little thing we experience – and what we make of it.

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On our way to the Forest temple

Eventually, that’s also what lurks behind the words that life is what you make it. This is exactly what Ajahn Chan and all the teachers around the world try to tell us: happiness arises because there was unhappiness before and vice versa. Changing circumstances are what makes us happy or unhappy. If there are no (apparent) changes we get bored or spaced out pretty soon, right? In other words, the reason we experience pleasure is that we felt unpleasant before and when we feel unpleasant it is just because we were oh so comfortable before. I got up this morning and found myself in a very different setting than the morning before. Very different. Almost opposite. This big change was what rendered me so very very happy.

I feel elated and thankful for anicca.

Impermanence really is the game to play.

Dhamma gladness adds to every chapter on the way.

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Ananas in its natural habitat

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U Aung Zin, Joe Ming, and me

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