Dhamma News February, 2019
Is there a destiny we all are heading towards?
by Bhante Debongshi
Nature takes care of its properties and arranges itself to become the basis for all beings on Earth. In terms of life evolution, a natural selection of transformative karmic energy plays a significant role. The magic of life is that it has a natural creative ability of its own by which it depends and evolves. In fact, all life forms on earth are unique in nature.
People often ask about life and reality, the idea of self or no-self. Is there any destiny we all are heading towards? On one occasion a car mechanic asked me these questions. I asked him, “What do you do?” He said, “I am a car mechanic.” “So, being a car mechanic, you know very well that a car is a complex mechanism and is made up of different components. Isn’t it? As an expert, you also know that there are different components in the body of car, such as doors, windows, mirrors, wheels, etc. Yes?”
Suppose you had to repair an old car and you were asked to pull out and replace everything. As a mechanic you want to make money and you provide your expertise by repairing it. While replacing the parts, you broke apart the car and separated all components part by part, piece by piece. After disassembling piece by piece and putting them aside, I ask, do you still call it a car? No! Why? Because when all the parts are dismantled, they become separate pieces from the whole system of the vehicle. Since it is fragmented from a systematic order, it no longer can be called a car. Right? It is only when the components are constructed an orderly manner that we call that assembled condition “a car”. There is no form of the car otherwise.
Similarly, when the five aggregates (body, consciousness, perception, feelings and mental contents) are integrated for conventional reasons we called this arrangement “a person”. When they are disassembled, there is no “person”, no “I”, and no “me”. Let’s examine together and do this practice! Put everything aside that’s not you. The glasses you wear, the watch, shoes and clothes that you wear. Are these things considered “you”. No! If not put them aside. Whatever the parts you refer to as your body, head, ears, body hair, nails, teeth, skin, bones, are they you? No! Anything you define as “yourself” put them aside. And whatever remains there, “that’s you”. Your awareness. Consciously, do this practice every day. One day you will know the answer to your question “who am I?”
The fact is, your body and mind can never be you, and they can never be “your life”. You can claim these as accumulations, but they can never be you. These things that you put aside are but mere accessories. Life by definition is not in the having of these accessories. It’s a natural phenomenon that nature has arranged and manifested in each and every individual being uniquely. Therefore, “life itself is you” and “you are life.”
If you are diligent in Vipassana practice, your life sensitivity will grow. It’ll allow you to go beyond your limitations and cross all boundaries. This will then enable you to experience life itself. Once you’re sensitive enough to touch the inner dimension of “who you are”, you will naturally stop thinking about life.
You see, when you came into this world, you came with nothing but life. Isn’t it? That means, life itself is you, and you are life for sure. To know this fully you need to turn inward in order to get the answer from within. By turning inward, you become a conscious being: able to directly see how your life-sensory system is working. Take a moment and contemplate this, there is no other individual “like you” in the worlds. There is only one of you in the entire cosmos. Please contemplate for a moment…. there are no other beings in this entire cosmos “like you.” There is only one of “you”! You are, who you are.
So, in nature every life is unique like that. None of us is like another person. There is only one individual being “that’s you”, unlike any other. In the survival process, physically and mentally we are completely different, but in terms of truth, all beings are alike. As an insect has life, also humans have life. This life-sense is an undivided natural phenomenon.
In term of physical and mental entities, there is one only being in this world like you, that’s “you.” You cannot be like others, and others cannot be like you. No one in this world can be like another. Let’s understand this for sure. Once you realize this and touch the dimension of your true-existence, you’ll naturally feel it unnecessary to look around for something outside of you. You are “who you are.”
You did not know this fact while you were child, that’s reasonable. As a mature person, you become conscious enough to know about your own existential being. When you are still doubtful about yourself, certainly, your inner dimension is yet to be explored. This is the time for you to turn inward and explore what has been hidden within.
Contemplate and perceive with wisdom the end of life, then compare this to a burning oil lamp that’s held in a windy place. Those who once had great luxury and success will die, and those who are enjoying great luxury and success will also one day die. Death is rolling over all beings including myself. This is the truth that must be realized by the wise.
Since you didn’t carry anything with you when you came to this world similarly you will leave without anything. I am asking, why do you need destiny? Why do you need a purpose in life? Your life is your making (atta-hi attano natho). There is no destiny in life. No need for a purpose. It is just “life”. A natural phenomenon without borders, and you are a living-reality. If there is a goal in life, then “realization” is the highest goal.
However, there are limitations you can create which arise out of desire. It is a choice, that means your mind is the creator of destiny (cittena niyati loko). Based on your desires, you can create thoughts in your mind, then your thoughts become your words, your words project into action. It is through action you build up your habits, and by compulsive habits you create your character that leads you to that direction which you call your destiny. In this way, you create your own destiny. There is no destiny in life otherwise. If you want to create anything out of your desire that is your choice. You can create any purpose in life the way you want. Here is the risk, by creating a purpose of life, you create a wall around life. Limitations. Later, you as a piece of life strives to break down these walls again. Your life is 100% of your control. I am asking again, why do you search for a destiny? It is wise to enhance sensitivity in life which allows consciousness to grow and to know and see things as they truly are.
In fact, instead of creating something which is not sensible to life, at least create pleasant thoughts that can assist you to take pleasant actions which can bring pleasantness to life. It is wise to avoid actions that works against life, so do something that works for life. I invite you to look at “life” as it is and realize yourself “who you are.” This is the end of misery.