By Ayya Seri Bhikkhuni
Root canal treatment, birthday cake and a death anniversary seem like three very different things. However, I had personally experienced all three recently.
At the begining of the year, I had root canal treatment on my front tooth due to infection. After two sessions of treatment, I thought I was done and the ordeal was over. However, the infection returned ten days later. I had to go back to the dentist again and I was given more antibiotics. In addition, I was referred to an endodontist, a root canal specialist. I must admit I was disappointed with the outcome. I was disappointed with my tooth and I was disppointed with myself that I needed to go to more consultations and treatments. The mind was agitated by the disappointment. When I told my teacher, Ayya Vayama, about my agitation and disappointment, Ayya Vayama encouraged me to look at the experience as a part of ‘FABRIC OF LIFE’. The words, ‘FABRIC OF LIFE’, were like a bright light shining into my unenlightened mind!……..
An elegantly decorated and delicious chocolate cake was offered to me by our supporter at dana for my birthday. I was touched by all the good wishes that I received. My birthday was like Christmas is to a child ! I was showered with phone calls and cards from family and friends, as well as presents and ice-cream, and of course the beautiful birthday cake! It was like I was in the heavenly realm!……..
A few days ago was the first death anniversary of our very good friend, Millie. We remembered her dana, her smile, her kindness and her devotion to and faith in the Buddha, Dhamma and Sangha. We had been chanting and sharing merits with Millie. At that moment, the death anniversary brought up the sadness of the unexpected and sudden loss of our dear friend and the sadness of no longer having her with us………
The pain and discomfort of root canal treatment, the disappointment and agitation, then the happiness and joy of receiving good wishes, and the sadness of the loss of a very good friend were all real in my recent experience. As Ayya Vayama said, ‘They are all part of the FABRIC OF LIFE.’ In the past, I used to hold on tightly to the joy and happiness in life, and avoid the unpleasant experiences as much as I could. Now, I encourage myself to stay, to stay fully and completely with the ‘FABRIC OF LIFE’.