Chapter 1: Discontent Is Divine
“Existence is sorrow.”
Understand, and go beyond sorrow.
This is the way of brightness.
“Existence is sorrow.” First he says that sorrow arises out of clinging to momentary things which you cannot make permanent. It is not in the nature of things. It is against the universal law. It is against dhamma, it is against Tao. You cannot win. If you fight with the universal law you are fighting a losing battle; you will simply waste your energies. What is going to happen is bound to happen: nothing can be done about it.
Your consciousness is all that you can do something about. You can change your vision. You can see things in a different light, with a different context, in a new space, but you cannot change things. If you think of the world as very real you will suffer; if you see the world as a strange dream you will not suffer. If you think in terms of static entities you will suffer. If you think in terms of nouns you will suffer. But if you think in terms of verbs you will not suffer.
Nouns don’t exist; they exist only in languages. In reality there are no nouns. Everything is a verb because everything is changing and everything is in a process. It is never static, it is always dynamic.
The second thing Buddha says is: “Existence is sorrow.” To be is sorrow. The ego is sorrow. First he says: “See the world as dream, fluctuating, changing, moment-to-moment new.” Enjoy it, enjoy its newness, enjoy all the surprises that it brings. It is beautiful that it is changing, nothing is wrong about it; just don’t cling to it. Why do you cling? You cling because you have another fallacy: that you are.
The first fallacy is that things are static. And the second fallacy is that you are, that you have a static ego. They both go together. If you want to cling you need a clinger; if you have no need to cling, there is no need for a clinger. Go deep into it. If you don’t need to cling, the ego is not needed at all, it will be pointless. In fact, it cannot exist without clinging.
The dancer can exist only if he dances. If the dance disappears, where is the dancer? The singer exists only in singing. The walker exists only in walking. So is the ego: the ego exists only in clinging, in possessing things, in dominating things. When there is no domination, no desire to dominate, no desire to cling, no desire to possess, the ego starts to evaporate. On the outside you stop clinging and in the inside a new clarity starts to arise. The ego with all its smoke disappears, the ego with all its clouds disappears. It can’t exist because it cannot be nourished anymore. For it to exist it has to cling. It has to create “my” and “mine,” and it goes on creating “my” and “mine” about every possible and impossible thing.