DAY FORTY-SIX: Wednesday, 5th May 2010
So, I have a reading assignment from Rinpoche – to read the Diary of Anne Frank within 10 days and after which, I will be tested with some questions.
I am sure quite a lot of us have heard of the Anne Frank story – it encapsulates the dreadfulness of war and the carnage that summed up the plight of the Jews during Hitler’s reign of terror.
I have heard of the story myself but never got around to buying the book and reading it. Personally, I can’t stand war stories or anything related to war. It just depresses me too much. Hence, I most likely wouldn’t watch movies about it or read books about it.
I remember once when I was about 19, and I came across the large encyclopaedic book called, History of the World. I liked History very much when I was younger. So, I started reading it. When it came to World War 1 and World War 2 – I started bawling like crazy. After that, I realised that the history of mankind is just steeped in war – one way or another. Not a very pretty picture, to say the least. So, in other words, we have been doing these atrocious things to one another since the beginning of time. Or in Buddhism, we say since ‘beginningless time’ since no one can really say when time really began.
So, that is a very depressing thought that plagues me to this day. We seem to only document horrors, atrocities, disasters and all the really bad, nasty stuff. So, I decided to read and watch other things, except war-related subject matters.
Now that I am given the opportunity to read Anne Frank’s Diary, I see it as a precious opportunity for me to ‘cleanse’ myself of a certain prejudice I had held over the years, and look beyond the grimness, the despair, the pain and horror – and look for the soul of the human spirit. After all, that is the most valuable thing isn’t it? The triumph of the human spirit, the courage and the inspiration that arises from it all – that is what makes us humans so amazing and wonderful – when we can rise above our own suffering and still become a great source of inspiration that lasts through time.
As I was reading Anne’s diary – it struck me how we, as a species, hold only two significant dates in our entire lives – our birth dates and our death dates. But it is the ‘dash’ in between these two dates that truly define our lives, if not us. This thought was reinforced when one of my old friends sent me a video, entitled: THE DASH MOVIE. It talks about the very same thing.
The very first time I ever came across anything remotely related to the ‘dash’ was June last year in a Gawad Kalinga Convention in Boston. Two twin Filipino brothers, Luis and Mari, were sharing their own personal journey in Gawad Kalinga and they both talked about how they wanted their lives to be defined within that ‘dash’. It was the most up-lifting speech, moving and very personal. Then Mari spoke about how no one can guarantee that they can live forever so it is really up to us, the existing generation to make the changes for a better future and build a foundation of values, virtues and beliefs that will enable the future generations to carry forward. They were both alluding to the culture of benefiting the whole, and not just the exclusive few. As in, their whole country.
And who would have guessed that a diary of a 13 year old would survive through the worst of humanity and remain to this day to remind us of how we should never allow ourselves or anyone else to descend into such darkness and cruelty.
There are plenty of stories and examples of horror, violence, hate and anger – they are littered in the pages of history books everywhere in the world. But have we learnt anything from it all? What is the point of documenting all these atrocities? Is it to parade the so-called conquests or to act as grave reminders and help us all change for the better?
Do we document History to repeat or to teach?
My DAY FORTY-SIX :-
No. Of Prostrations: 300 (yes I wanted to make up for all the ones I missed and the ones I am going to miss when I am super busy)
Daily Sadhanas: Check and Done with Death Meditation and Dzambala Mantra.
Physical Exercise: 35 mins
Daily Reflection from "IF NOT NOW, WHEN?" – Here we go. I close my eyes and I picked out page 029.
Wow, it is the Chapter on Joy & Sadness. How appropriate.
Quote from Page 029 for Day Forty-Six:
“If you believe in God, that’s fabulous; if you believe in Buddha, that’s fabulous; if you don’t believe in anything, that’s fabulous. But please believe in the happiness you can bring to the people around you. Believe in that. Wouldn’t that be lovely?”
Personal Thoughts and Feelings:
Imagine everyone who can believe in the goodness that they can give and bring to those around them.
Imagine each of us believing in friendship, peace, harmony and unity.
Imagine when we use our waking moments to create happy or inspiring moments, instead of sad and violent ones.
Imagine becoming the best of yourself so that we can inspire the rest to become the best of themselves.
Imagine our days are filled with virtuous and beneficial deeds, and not self-serving ones.
Imagine learning our mistakes and never repeating them.
Imagine a world without war, violence, hunger, hatred or anger.
Imagine a world that is defined by friendship, mutual respect, understanding, integrity, trust and faith in all of humanity.
Imagine you can actually, truly make a difference from where you are.
Imagine the possibilities.