No announcement yet.

Ambition and facing uncertainty

  • Filter
  • Time
  • Show
Clear All
new posts

  • Ambition and facing uncertainty

    Dear Venerable,

    I have recently joined this community in hopes that it will benefit my practice and also as a way to get to know some other Buddhists. I got the insight that Buddhism is what resonates well with my way of thinking a couple of years back, although it is first last year I took it upon me to devote myself to the practice of the Eightfold Path. Now to the questions at hand, I am currently living abroad, as a student of a language school in Tokyo. I have an ambition to learn Japanese and I have been studying it intensively for more then 2 years at this point.

    What troubles me now is that I have realized that my ambition is causing me a lot of stress and feelings of guilt when I don't study enough. It's an unsettling feeling, but I don't see any real alternatives right now then to continue with it so I can find work in the future and support myself. It is that last part that drives the burning desire to study, I see no other option in terms of job and security, so even if I would ease up on my ambition, I would face more uncertainty whether or not I will be able to support myself in the upcoming years. So how should I as a practicing Buddhist deal with this kind of situation? I'm starting to get into the "letting go" phase right now, and would like some advice on how to deal with ambition and also the grim feeling of uncertainty.

    I appreciate your time.


  • #2
    Dear Jonas,

    You have to be very careful not to let go of the wrong thing. You need to know the difference between what should and what should not be let go of. We all have our duties in life and the moment one of your duties is to study. When you study do it well and efficiently. If you do, you will be able to relax and let go when you don’t study, and your meditation will improve. When this happens, you become even more focussed and efficient when you actually do study. And don’t study too much, because your efficiency will start to drop. Pace yourself and know your own limitations. So ambition is fine, but don’t allow it to ruin your happiness.

    Please don’t feel guilty regardless of what happens. Guilt is not useful. Be forgiving of yourself if you make a mistake, and then try to learn from it. Guilt tends to hinder your ability to learn and may get you into a habit of self-punishment. Sometimes when people feel guilty they do other things to distract them from their guilt that make them feel even more guilty. It is easy to get into a vicious cycle. So please forgive yourself. You are never going to be perfect, and that’s ok. We think we are in control of ourselves and therefore we feel bad that we don’t use that control to get our lives together. But we are not really in control. See that, and forgiveness becomes much easier.

    With metta.


    • #3
      Thank you Ajahn Brahmali for bringing clarity to my situation, I will just take a more easy-going approach to my studies and try to be less demanding.

      With metta



      Debug Information