Bionic Man 2.14. May 22, 2016. Update, but first a word from our sponsor.
In Sri Lanka and other South Asian countries, last Saturday (May 21) was celebrated as Vesak, Buddha’s birthday. Actually, the day recalls three events in the life of Siddhartha Gotama: his birth, enlightenment and death. Vesak is the occasion for joy, but it is not celebrated with self-indulgent consumption. Rather, devotees gather to chant and listen to sermons (dhamma talks) from dawn to dusk. Lay people observe eight precepts, including no eating after noon, no intoxicants, no dancing, singing, music, going to see entertainments, wearing garlands, using perfumes or cosmetics.
Because I traveled to Philadelphia over the weekend, I anticipated Vesak by reading the story of the Buddha’s last days. I have mentioned previously how a passage from this sutta helped me through Laura’s illness. This time I was struck that as he got older, even the Buddha felt like I’ve been feeling lately with all the ups and downs following knee surgery.
Ananda, I am now old, worn out, venerable, one who has traversed life’s path. … Just as an old cart is made to go by being held together with straps, so [my] body is kept going by being strapped up. DN 16.2.25
The Buddha goes on to say that his body could still feel comfort during meditative concentration.
The last two months have given me the opportunity to pay attention to what I’m doing and thinking when I’m in pain or discomfort, but I’m still far from concentrating to the point that I’m not aware of these pains and discomforts. Speaking of which, I am doing better than my last reports on the infection scare and the signs of gout. Physical therapy resumed last week, and I was pleased to find that I had not lost as much ground during that period as I had feared. Also, Anne Mei is home from college now, cheering both Toto and me.