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Perceptions in daily life

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  • Perceptions in daily life

    Greetings everyone! I am new to the community, though I have been following it for some time. First I just want to say that it's really inspiring to see people walking the path, and to see all the beautiful intentions of kindness and letting go on this forum. Reading peoples' posts here (just knowing that there are people out there who are trying their best to be kind, peaceful and gentle) is a continuous source of inspiration, thank you. May you all find true liberation from suffering.

    This post turned out to be quite long! Thank you for your patience =)

    I'm writing this post because I would like to pick your brains about dealing with perceptions in daily life, and how you incorporate the perceptions recommended by the Buddha in daily life.

    First I'm going to try to explain what I mean about perception. My understanding of the Dhamma is rough and incomplete, so bear with me and feel free to correct where needed.

    When I was a kid computers were becoming common, and there was a debate on whether kids should be allowed to sit inside and play games. As a result of this, I was told to go out and play when the weather was nice, but when the weather was bad (gray skies, rain, wind) I could sit inside and play games.

    As a result, I feel quite nice when the weather is bad. I perceive dull, gray weather as something nice. I have often noticed in other people that they can be quite negative about bad weather. It has occurred to me that the weather remains the weather, and it is the perception alone that is causing pain or pleasure. Perception can really mean pain for one person and pleasure for another, even though they are looking at the same thing.

    Another example: if two football teams are playing against each other, if you identify with the team that loses you suffer, if you identify with the team that wins you feel happy. The perception of “this is my team” is what causes the suffering\happiness, it has nothing to do with the actual game.

    This how I understand perception and its role in how we experience Samsara.

    I have been struggling with how to perceive impermanence, suffering and not-self in every day life. But over the last few days I have been having a mini-realization:

    I am a student and I work during the summer. Since I haven't finished my degree, the work that is available to me is sometimes boring. Before recently, I have suffered a great deal because of this boredom.

    I started to notice that I was really looking forward to the weekend, because working was boring. But when the weekend came, I noticed I was restless, unhappy, not satisfied like I thought I would be, not having to do the boring work.

    Later, I noticed that even if the workday was incredibly boring, it would still pass. And I recalled that every happy weekend I have experienced has also passed. It struck me that “a day” is impermanent, and that craving a day to end or not to end will cause me suffering. And just today the mini-realization hit me: I have had the perception that there is something permanent to a boring workday, and that the boredom is “me and mine”. My suffering has had nothing to do with the work, its cause was my own perception.

    This has been the first time for me where I have to some degree perceived impermanence, not-self and suffering in a day to day situation. Even though it is quite a humble insight, it really has cut down some suffering.

    So, I would really appreciate if you would share your own anecdotes from lay life. How have you perceived impermanence, suffering and not-self in ordinary, day-to-day things?

    Again, thank you for our patience.

    With metta,

  • #2
    Good points about how what we usually take to be an objective reality is actually subjective and dependent on mind - from which you can draw conclusions about not-self. And how both happiness and boredom are impermanent. Impermanence is perhaps the easiest of the three to notice. Change, and therefore impermanence, is going on all the time. It's hard not to notice it. Of course we have an inbuilt resistance to acknowledging these 3 characteristics. That's called ignorance. The thing is to develop the wisdom that enables us to see these things around us all the time.


    • #3
      impermanence, not-self and suffering? well i'd say it's all in the eye of the beholder indeed.

      for example: i'm a 38-year old student who for the moment often sits with his books on a bench in front of a heavy metal bar to study for his second exams during the so-called 'holidays' in an attempt to gain enough knowledge to do something useful for nature in his lifetime.

      strange location? perhaps but just presence and occasional talks with 'metal heads' and 'punks' -yup the real deal- seems to convince at least part of my mind that i'm doing more than boring myself with useless information while studying there and less strange: it's a way of socializing (i live alone and many of these pub visitors are actually way more tolerant than the average people, although as to be expected they often tend to end up more drunk of course hehe), they have cheap big coffees and it's frequently less hot there than inside my apartment during this summer.

      so is my behavior inspired by wisdom or foolishness?
      if you'd ask me i'd say it just another way of 'having no choice' but that might be part of a delusion which i confuse to be a reality ... but who knows such a thing for certain? hehe

      with metta,



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