i know you are probably wondering why i am emailing you and to tell you the truth i don't know either.it was a 16-year-old girl who is not related to me, as far as i know, but she and i have the same last name. that first e-mail included a story about a date with a boy that had gone slightly awry, and a few other things about herself. since then, i've heard more stories from her than i can count, and we are still friends today.
she's been without a computer at home for quite some time, but her travels over the holidays put her back on the internet for awhile. recently i got a bigger dose of the teen-with-my-last-name than i ever have. she's been gone so long that i guess i forgot her role for me. now i remember. here are a few of the things i've learned from my honorary relative:
- organized religion isn't all bad.
- my attitude is improving, but it's still not good enough. obviously, because i've been outdone by a teenager with about a billion times more inner peace than i have, despite my two-decade head start.
- in this universe, we ended up with The Angry God. tough luck, humans! the teenager doesn't even consider that a problem, despite all the trouble He has visited on her family over the last few years. i want to call this lunacy, but there's that whole she-has-more-inner-peace-than-i-do thing, so i don't have a leg to stand on. rats.
- i make a hobby of listening to other people's problems, and i'm always amazed at how resistant they are to change. they can know they're doing the wrong thing, they will agree with you when you tell them they're doing the wrong thing, but they will steadfastly refuse to do the right thing, more often than not, no matter how easy you make it for them. just out of principle, i guess. "you can't tell me what to do, pal." now i've met my agent of change, and i am just as resistant to her ideas as other people are to mine. rats, again.
Do not look for faults in others, but look for faults in yourself, and purge them like bad blood.p.s., to the girl who knows this is about her: let me know if any of this bothers you. if you like, i'll remove it, make it friends-only, whatever.
Do not contemplate your own good qualities, but contemplate the good qualities of others, and respect everyone as a servant would.
-- excerpt from Advice from Atisha's Heart