Lavender

My name is Lavender, I live in a place so beautiful that it is what gives me life. I would not be able to survive in any other part of the world other than here. Surrounded by vast mountains, waterfalls, and large, intricate forests is where I call my home. Out in the wilderness, sitting on rocks and in forests is where I enjoy being the most. Sometimes when I am in these places it is hard to believe that there is such a thing as suffering and pain.

I am a scholar, my job in the village is to translate sutras that arrive from India through merchants and monks. I feel like I can truly understand the meaning of these sutras when I translate them, by wording them from one language into another. It is a very difficult skill to have, when I translate the sutra I must be very careful to not lose the meaning of the words in any way. By wording it slightly the wrong way, the sutra could lose its entire meaning. The essence of the teaching must stay true to its initial context.

In order to establish good relationships with the individuals I work with, I have developed trade skills. Therefore, I have experience in trade to come more into contact with merchants, who deliver the sutras. Translating the sutras from Sanskrit into Tibetan is my life’s work and it is what I love to do the most. I find joy in the simple things that I have. My enjoyable work, the merchant friends I have created through my work, and the beautiful landscapes surrounding me. These things are all that I need to truly be happy. I believe that the simplest things in life are the most important, it is destructive to desire more than the things that you need.

Lately, it has been rumoured that there is a terrible hail storm that is going to occur in our village. I’m not sure what would cause such a destructive thing to happen to our village. However, I believe that some things happen of which are out of our power as human beings. It is better to accept them as they come and build from the ruins, rather than dwell on the fact that this terrible thing happened. So whether this hail storm happens or not, we will survive and rebuild. There is no way to stop the suffering, we must accept it and try to see past it. People have told me that there is a ritualist in the Sarnath selling amulets that will help prevent damage from the storm. However, charms like these will not work if one does not fully believe that they will. I think this would be wasted on myself, because I am going to accept the outcome of whatever happens, and not try to alter it. I have faith in our community to get through this storm, therefore I do not require false hope from an amulet.

Last week in the classroom discussion, we talked about whether or not it would be possible for someone to be able to follow the eightfold path in our culture. Our group agreed that in our society, we are very involved in material things. It is in our culture to over indulge, consumerism is a big part of us as human beings these days. Therefore I believe that someone in our day and age would have great difficulty following the path. Also, I brought up that the eightfold path tries to implement perfection in a human being. It tries to eliminate every piece of impurity from the individual, which I think is a little too extreme. Humans are naturally imperfect, so if we implement paths and steps toward perfection, wouldn’t that perfection be unnatural?

Despite this, striving for enlightenment would have to depend on the individual. Everyone is different, therefore it would be easier for some people to follow the eightfold path than others, based on their personality and surroundings. One most be very devoted and willing to follow the eightfold path, they would have to really want to do it in order to succeed.