"You are only allowed as much suffering as you can handle. You are also only allowed as much benefit as you can handle."
"Think of yourself as an orange. If you squeeze, what do you get?"
"Right, orange juice! Now that's all that's really inside you. Juice! When you get squeezed and you get mad or angry, that's not the juice. The point of Buddhism is that when you get squeezed all you get is juice. You're just an orange."
-"So not being an orange is bad?"
"There isn't good or bad in Buddhism. It's better to think of it as cause and effect. Your past dictacts the effects you're having in the present, and your future is made by the causes you make today."
-"So we can control our destiny?"
"Karma isn't like karma in the Hindu sense. You aren't bound to your karma. In Buddhism, they believe your past karma (past lives) put you into the situation you are in today - but it's not an ending - it's a continuous thru-line. You can effect what karma you will have tomorrow by what you put out into the world today. You can break from your past family line. You can be free from the 4 states - doing meditation and chanting that's what keeps you from bouncing between all these states, so that you can stay juice no matter how hard you're squeezed."
It was interesting talking to Vikram tonight. We spoke about a lot of things - societal demands, our upbringing, race, gender, covering, you name it. In the end, it was cause and effect. It was trying to find the space for us to be happy.
Isn't that what we're all looking for? What happiness is?
Is it a house? Marriage? Money? A book published? Doing good for your fellow man? Doing good for you?