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Is This Week’s New York Times Modern Love Written By a Buddhist Lady?

Saturday my friend and I had a discussion about what is really meant by the oft-ill translated Buddhist statement:  Life is Suffering.  This week in The New York Times Modern Love column , author Laura A. Monson I think gives a good, real life Western example of what that first noble truth really means.

An excerpt:

You see, I’d recently committed to a non-negotiable understanding with myself. I’d committed to “The End of Suffering.” I’d finally managed to exile the voices in my head that told me my personal happiness was only as good as my outward success, rooted in things that were often outside my control. I’d seen the insanity of that equation and decided to take responsibility for my own happiness. And I mean all of it.

Say what you want about Modern Love, I think her article is well-written and moving.  Read it and let me know: do you think Laura A. Monson is an incognito Buddhist?

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posted August 3, 2009 at 1:43 pm

Ha Ha, I was just going to post this article and someone beat me to it. What an amazing article. It makes you think how many times the disagreements you have with someone is more about how they are feeling inside then anything that is within us, but we take thier words and their anger so personally. We say “It must be me, I am not worthy of this or that” and really if you are happy within yourself it can make all the difference in the world when relating to someone else in a relationship.

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posted August 3, 2009 at 2:22 pm

Nice. I think Monson could be, definitely.

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mary tibbetts

posted August 3, 2009 at 4:20 pm

Having suffered through a good deal of this kind of thing (both of us were buddhists) I wondered where she found the fortitude to say “I don’t buy it”.

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Julia May

posted August 3, 2009 at 5:53 pm

@Mary: I agree. I think it was also interesting that though she said, “I don’t buy it” she also made strides to make the separation possible for her husband.

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posted August 4, 2009 at 3:00 am

We are all incognito Buddhists. Not to mention incognito Buddhas.

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posted August 4, 2009 at 3:05 am

We are all incognito Buddhists. Not to mention incognito Buddhas.

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posted August 4, 2009 at 6:59 am

Oops, sorry about the double post. If I do it a third time, does that make it a mantra?

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posted August 4, 2009 at 11:08 am

I don’t know about this one Julia. A red flag when up when I read it but I couldn’t think why it didn’t feel right.
This morning I woke up and thought of this song and somehow it perhaps illuminated more fully what could have happened.
Since I’ve never been in such a relationship I can’t really say for sure.
There is a song by sung by India called “Costumbres” – Habits. It’s about a woman and her changed attitude about her marriage. About her husband who has found a new love. And of her certainty that although she and he are tired of this marriage. The habit of being together is stronger than a new love.
“No cabe duda que es verdad que la costumbre es mas fuerto que el amor “
– There is no doubt that habit is stronger than love.
I can’t say for sure but that’s a very powerful story and Costumbres a very powerful song.

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Your Name

posted August 6, 2009 at 5:40 pm

Nothing, absolutely nothing is stronger than true, abiding Love.
I have today “accidentally or non-accidentally” stumbled upon this webpage and I have to say that LOVE is the power that gives life to all things, love makes everything beauty full even in what may seem like our darkest hours, but only if you focus every part of your being upon LOVE and not upon suffering.
And lots of people may say that that is easy for me to say, but it is only because I have travelled a very long, dark and lonely path heading ever further and further away from Love to come to this understanding, and if it were not for the all-forgiving, all-uplifting power of love that stayed forever with me, cocooned me and was trying to guide me against the egotistical will of my own little material self then I would not be here.
The habit of staying together is NOT stronger than love, it is just what it is, the mind-numbing normallity of a lack-lustre relationship where neither party can be bothered to begin to awaken themselves from the sleeping daydream they are in and begin Mindfullness training in order to be aware of all the diamonds of living wonders right before their eyes!
If you want some help in finding this for yourself then wherever you are stop for a moment, especially if you are driving, close your eyes and then focus exclusively on that which gives you the most pleasant feelings of being safe, secure and loved or on something that engenders those incredibly loving feelings of well-being and contentment within you; then make that commitment to yourself that these feelings will never,ever, ever go away, that they will always remain with you, within you, where no-one else or anything else can ever change them or alter them except you!
And then you will have it because you will be on th path to full enlightenment by taking control of your world within yourself which will then outpicture it’s Self into your external world bit by bit until you are the Buddha sitting on the lotus watching all the material beings running hither and thither chasing their own tails because of their non-mindfullness and you will then feel a true, loving compassion, so overwhelming, for all these beings, so much so that your own life force will channel true abiding love to everyone and everything to lift them up to boddhisatvahood too
I am now and I shall always be your humble servant in the name and service of Love

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posted August 7, 2009 at 2:47 pm

“I don’t know about this one Julia. A red flag when up when I read it but I couldn’t think why it didn’t feel right”
Damaris – I felt the same way. I asked my husband to read the article and he expressed admiration for the author. He said she is being realistic and putting up boundaries, which can seem cold, but is reasonable.
However, I sensed something else underneath in the writing. I would find it possible that there is a dark under-current and the author appears calm and clear on the surface, but is not so all the way through. I think there is more.
Or maybe there is less. It would be pretty awful to be stuck in a marriage devoid of love and passion.

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