Control & Change from a Buddhist Perspective


Blog Post 34Control & Change from a Buddhist Perspective


“Grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change, the courage to change the things I can, and the wisdom to know the difference. – Reinhold Niebuhr”


It is important for everybody to understand why to aspire to become a Buddha (the awakened one) and why even bother to study and practice dharma.

At the conventional level, we all like and need to have fun, right? So, what is fun? Let us understand this but examining what is "un-fun". When things happen to us that we don't want, we don't like or that we don't have control over, that is "un-fun". Whenever we put a lot of effort into something and don't get the result we want, that is "un-fun". There are a lot of things that we just have no control over. We think to be able to have control over things is fun. When the dog listens to our commands, when we strike the lottery, when we get whatever we want; that's all fun, right? So, it's fun to be in control.

As the noted American theologian prayed in the quote above, all of the examples cited in the previous para depend on factors outside of us. So, we would do better to look upon their outcomes with serenity. The one thing inside of us is our mind. And dealing with that calls for courage. This courage is our Buddha Nature.

Logically we must easily be in control of our minds but practically we cannot control either our minds or our emotions. And that’s not fun… when our mind goes haywire. It's not fun when we have wrong views. Our minds are under a great amount of suffering, stress and dissatisfaction, so it's "un-fun". The emotions come and we know we should stay calm, we should meditate, that emotions come and go, and all about emptiness. But when our supposed-empty emotions arise, they do not feel as empty as expected. And this is the importance of learning about and understanding Buddha Nature.

Buddha Nature is for us to arouse the spirit of enlightenment within us. We must want to be a Buddha. We cannot hold on to the belief that we are not good enough. Buddha Nature means that we already have this pure heroic aspect, because it is in each one of us. This Buddha Nature within us is just screaming to come out but we have to learn something about compassion, empathy, wisdom and action. If not, we will always just be someone who cannot – or someone who does not – feel enough confidence to go forward.

It is because of Buddha Nature that we have humility. We have a mutual respect for one another and we see the light in each other. When we band together, we are the light. We realize that alone we are a spark but together we are the light. We give hope. And we don't have to discover it. Just let it self-arise!

Dharma Teaching by Singha Rinpoche and edited by Sandeep Nath
2 May 2021