How to Triumph Over the Difficulties of Life
Attainment of perfect purity is not an easy affair. It requires hard, steady and dexterous struggle against one’s lower nature, which is dominated by past tendencies.
But by the grace of God with a right resolution which is not defiled by secret duplicity of heart, one can become pure in heart. And when the pure in heart can even see God, what difficulty in life can he not face?
The purer we are in our heart, the greater is our might to successfully fight against our difficulties.
Four Evils of the Tongue: As regards avoiding four evils of the tongue the Buddha says:
1. ‘Lie not but be truthful, speak the truth with discretion, fearlessly and in a loving heart.
2. ‘Invent not evil reports, neither do you repeat them. Carp not but look for good sides of your fellow beings, so that you may with sincerity defend them against their enemies.
3. ‘Swear not but speak decently and with dignity.
4. ‘Waste not the time with gossip, but speak to the purpose or keep silence.’
Telling what is called ‘white lies‘ is not considered any sin at all. But once you start telling white lies, you escalade into telling lies of many other colours, which are far from being white. And all told lies are traps of future difficulties into which you will be eventually caught.
By being truthful we avoid many future difficulties though initially we may have to suffer the consequences of telling the truth. Without a firm grip on truth one cannot build up a life worth living; for the future of falsehood is exposure and ignominy.
But truth-speaking should not be used as an offending and insulting weapon. Truth should be spoken with discretion, fearlessness and love. When truth-speaking is not qualified by these, it gets mixed up with conceit. Then it becomes a creator of difficulties for oneself and others.
Imagine how many difficulties are being everyday created in the world by inventing evil reports, or spreading them. When you spread an evil report you not only defile your tongue but also become a channel of false hood. And through the channel of falsehood truth will not flow. If truth does not flow through you, spiritually speaking, you are more dead than alive.
The Buddha asks us not only not to carp at others but also to look to the good sides of our fellow beings, so that we may defend them against their enemies.
If we cultivate this disposition can we have any difficulty in human relationship? Everyone has faults no doubt. But even the most depraved person will not be without a good side in him. By recounting others’ faults we cannot do any good to them but surely we can create difficulties for ourselves. Again if we can uphold and defend a person, in spite of his many faults, we will be helping him to get rid of some of his present and future difficulties.
We are asked by the Buddha not to swear but to speak decently and with dignity.
Speech is an all-powerful instrument given to men which should be used with great caution and circumspection. With speech you can inspire one with divine thoughts, or inflame one with anger, break a person’s heart, or infect a person with lewd thoughts.
And wrong speech always comes to you as a boomerang. Only such speech should be uttered as are satya, priya and hita, true, loving and beneficial.
Sometimes just to pass off as smart we utter words which are neither true nor loving, much less beneficial, which may be moreover positively harmful. From use of such wrong words chain reactions may start involving our future.
We see the evil effects of wrong speech everywhere in the world beginning from our parlours to the assemblies of the United Nations.
Habitual gossipers cannot always speak the truth. In order to be interesting they have to use all sorts of quips. And gradually it becomes necessary for them to draw heavily on falsehood, which will surely create future difficulties. Purposeless talks soon degenerate into senseless talks. And many of our quarrels in the world arise from senseless and useless talks.
There is an Indian saying that a dumb man has no enemy. Silence is golden, because at this time we do not sow seeds of conflict, and in silence alone we can comprehend the spiritual truths of life.
Source: The Vedanta Kesari