August 08, 2009

Norman Fischer: "For the Time Being"

The New York Times hosts a blog called "Happy Days," and Buddhists have been turning up there lately. This isn't surprising. As the Times explains, it's about the "search for contentment":

The severe economic downturn has forced many people to reassess their values and the ways they act on them in their daily lives. For some, the pursuit of happiness, sanity, or even survival, has been transformed.

Happy Days is a discussion about the search for contentment in its many forms — economic, emotional, physical, spiritual — and the stories of those striving to come to terms with the lives they lead.

A while back we noted Daniel Goleman's "Happy Days" post about "The Happiest Man in the World" (Yongey Mingyur Rinpoche) and Pico Iyer's on the Dalai Lama. Now you can read Zen priest Norman Fischer, part of whose post summarizes the First Noble Truth quite nicely:

If you live long enough you will discover the great secret we all hate to admit: life is inherently tough. Difficult things happen. You lose your job or your money or your spouse. You get old, you get sick, you die. You slog through your days beleaguered and reactive even when there are no noticeable disasters — a normal day has its many large and small annoyances, and the world, if you care to notice, and it is difficult not to, is burning.

I know, I know, the First Noble Truth is why so many people think Buddhism's a buzz-kill. If they'd just stick around for the part about the end of suffering, though, they'd see things differently. But times have changed and there's hope: Now you can read about Buddhism's good news in the New York Times.

Read Norman Fischer's "For the Time Being" here.

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Mariana Pavetto's picture

This moment is all there is. A beautifully written peace on the First Noble Truth. A meditation in itself. A must read.