Doing only one thing at a moment – Living in present

Vivek Sakpal

Published in Issue VI, May 2015

One of the most difficult skill of an individual is to live in the present moment. Every moment the human mind/brain/heart, call it whatever, lives either in past or in future. We are always involved in our good, bad, old memories and past incidents, or planning something for the future. The mind / heart / brain fails to live in this very moment of life.

Once I read a short story of a wealthy person who wandered a lot in search of Gautama The Buddha to seek the path of enlightenment.  He finally met Buddha, when Buddha was on his way to seek alms along with his sangha. The moment he came across Gautama, he wanted the answer to his question, the path to enlightenment, Buddha requested the person to meet him in the evening and have a fruitful discussion in proper approach, and all his queries will be answered.

The person was adamant. He wanted the answers right there at that very moment. He said to the Buddha that it could be that the very next moment he might die, it could also happen that Buddha might die, it could also happen that his thirst to seek enlightenment might die, or it could also happen that the world shall be finished and he might die without being enlightened.

Buddha understood his thirst and answered him; when you walk you should do nothing else but walking, when you eat you should do nothing else but eating, when you sleep you should do nothing else but sleeping, when you listen you should do nothing else but listening, when you talk you should do nothing else but talking, in short in every action you do you should be 100% with the action and that action should not be diluted with something else added to it.

The person understood and thanked the Buddha. This was one of the paths given by Buddha towards enlightenment.

Today, in social context, we see people mixing a lot of things and putting up a mask. A mask to disguise people and do something hidden within. The actual intention and action do not synchronise.

A follower of Buddha should refrain from such behaviour to the best of his ability. What pains me is that today this has become a norm in many of the recent new followers of Buddhism. They have recently, a few years ago, embraced Buddhism and have not yet been able to understand the core of it. Their will to promote Buddhism is very very strong. But the cost they pay is a huge cost, a cost that is indirectly paid by their own siblinghood, a siblinghood that has been poor, depressed and downtrodden.

They wish to promote the idea and thoughts of Buddha, hence they find new means and methods to do so, their intentions at this very moment are very noble and I appreciate them. However, their means are not rightmost.

Recently, I came across one individual who sells Buddhist greeting cards, he mentioned to me that he has taken a lot of pain and trouble to get Buddhist ideology in such cards, they have a message of the Buddha, a photo or a painting, and they are specially designed keeping in mind the Buddhist calendar. Well done! But what next? There is no audience. Greeting cards in total have lost their market and been replaced by the digital era’s new methods. Also, greeting cards are just greeting cards, they are not religious cards. He was doing business on pretext of promoting Buddhism, which should not be the case. Either one does business or one promotes Buddhism. How can these two be clubbed together?

Another friend wanted to initiate a print magazine. He mentioned to me that it was because most mainstream magazines don’t give ample space to “Our issues / needs / ideology” I agreed.  I was very excited. He wanted it to be highly focused to “Our People” not only in terms of content but also in terms of readership, from where he was supposed to make the most money. Well why “His Own” people should pay him to make him rich and famous, when his core reason to start the magazine is not to make money but to help issues/content to reach people.

I have a group of friends who sing songs of Buddha and Ambedkar and also promote their ideology in their songs. The reason why I am happy with them is they don’t do this for a living. They have their jobs and other sources of income and this is done just for a cause. They have done shows wherein they are not paid any amount. They Just sing without any commercial considerations.

Today there are numerous such people who have made their own people their market and are earning money. A closed economy is not in interest of masses.

Making a business out of social cause (pay back to society) is wrong. When you do a business, just do business and not fake it as a social cause. When you do something for a social cause, just do it for a social cause and not try to earn money out of it. Money needed to sustain that social cause should be raised, from the cause itself, but not to the extent that it becomes living, a source of status, celebrity, political power etc.

These results may follow but they should not be the intentions. Starting to work on a social cause with these intentions has never led to fruits, neither in the intentions projected nor in the intentions intended. A few exceptions may be there who have succeeded in the intentioned intended but failed in the intentioned projected.

Please try to look within, when you work on a social cause, what are your actual intentions and what intentions you portray to the people. Unmask yourself in your own interest.

A focused approach shall always be successful.  Do only one thing at a moment. Live in present.

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