Description

Haemin is especially eloquent on life’s smaller dissatisfactions, and how they can sometimes be trickier to deal with than the bigger, more dramatic ones.

For example, though it’s a good thing that we talk so much more openly today about mental illness, one perverse consequence is that it can actually be easier to admit to a serious depression than to a milder, pervasive sense of disappointment in life.

“Unlike other emotions, disappointment is very tricky to express: it comes out as petty and small-minded,” Haemin writes; it also tends to sound like you’re blaming other people for failing to measure up. Yet of course it’s a far more widespread problem than severe suffering.

It has been argued that Buddha’s observation that “life is suffering” might be more accurately translated as something like “life is bothersome”.

(With luck, extreme agony will be very infrequent in your life, but a background sense of things being not quite right may be truly close to universal.) The first step towards relieving this kind of discontent, Haemin suggests, is to recognise the untenability of the demand that you, or anyone you encounter, should demonstrate perfection to begin with. Much of the bothersomeness of daily life arises not from circumstances themselves, but from the insistence that they ought to be other than they are.

Translated Books (3)

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