Buddhist Lesson For Modern Society

The other day I was watching the show The Middle, when the ever wise “Brick” provided some delightful food for thought. Throughout the show, Brick was having a personal dilemma in trying to find happiness like we all do. His source of anxiety was an inability to set worries aside. He was constantly worrying about things going wrong in the future and this thought process prevented him from being happy with his current state, no matter how well things were at the moment.

Then suddenly, Brick had an epiphany. He accidentally broke a house decoration that belonged to this mother and feared she would be upset so he set out to fix it. To do so, he did an internet search and in the midst of click-throughs he came across a quote from an old Buddhist manuscript:

You see this goblet?” asks Achaan Chaa, the Thai meditation master. “For me this glass is already broken. I enjoy it; I drink out of it. It holds my water admirably, sometimes even reflecting the sun in beautiful patterns. If I should tap it, it has a lovely ring to it. But when I put this glass on the shelf and the wind knocks it over or my elbow brushes it off the table and it falls to the ground and shatters, I say, ‘Of course.’ When I understand that the glass is already broken, every moment with it is precious.

Brick then expands upon this thought (comically) and states that with this understanding he has been able to achieve a level of happiness by applying this idea to his family and those that he loves. He say’s “Now I picture you and dad, Axl, Sue and others as if you were all already dead and this makes me happy again.” His intent was to suggest that the thought of things no longer being around is what makes it more enjoyable when they around.

I don’t expect to learn interesting life lessons like this from little boys in a mindless television show, but it happened. I believe we can all take meaning from seemingly trivial events in our lives. For Brick, it was something as simple as breaking his mom’s ornament that led him to a path of self-discovery and realization of the world around him.

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