Published Wednesday, 26 May 2021
I say a being is great
who stands not on this shore,
nor the other shore,
nor on any shore at all.
Such a being is free from all ties.
Dhammapada v. 385
We all like to feel safe and secure. Before his Awakening the Buddha-to-be sought security by setting up conditions in the outer world to suit his convenience. It was only when, at the age of twenty-nine, he actually registered the fact that no matter how comfortable or convenient his outer circumstances might be, none of them could protect him from the inconvenience and discomfort of old age, sickness and death. Henceforth he referred to these three ‘signs’ as heavenly messengers because they generated in him an interest in seeking security in the cultivation of consciousness instead of merely manipulating outer conditions. What he discovered was that so long as we are attempting to find a feeling of safety and security by holding fast to fixed positions or to possessions, we will always be disappointed. The end of disappointment is the end of seeking security in that which is ever changing and therefore inherently insecure.