Posted by: Upāsaka | 09/22/2016

Better than Gratitude

I have always been drawn to spiritual admonishments to “Be grateful to everyone” and “Be grateful for everything” the like and still an to a large degree. But, when I break it down, it can sometimes seem hard to view everything that happens as a drop in the endless shower if blessings, especially in a universe that seems to be devoid of a creator.  Intuitively, I appreciate the advice but I’ve never been able to work with it well as a result of the cognitive dissonance.  

Reading the book by Thubten Zopa shut transforming adversity into the path has given me the idea that there may be a more useful way to approach life and its problems. By seeing problems as opportunities for training the heart it’s possible to view every suffering as a blessing. in fact, without problems it wouldn’t even be possible to practice the Perfections-which is another reason the Tibetans so often describe the deva-loka as realms to avoid being reborn in. 

So, it seems, appreciating the advantages of suffering and adversity is a much more powerful and authentic way of living in samsara. Obviously, to make the practice work one has to have the will and the presence of mind to extract the juice of wisdom from life’s bitter fruit but that’s why Right Effort is a factor of the Path. May we make the wine of liberation from the grapes of our suffering . 

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