Nowhere can man find a more untroubled retreat than in his own soul
– Marcus Aurelius, from Meditations
Here’s a Buddhist temple:
And where are they usually? In isolated places, built in locations faraway from the noise and unpredictability and sometimes chaotic events of real life.
‘One of the purposes of practising Buddhism’s to ‘pursue happiness by using knowledge and practice to achieve mental equanimity (or peace of mind)…. So by achieving a mental state where you can detach from all the passions, needs and wants of life, you free yourself and achieve a state of transcendent bliss and well-being.’¹
But achieving that peace of mind in a highly-controlled, serene and still setting like the one above is prettyyyyyy much like this:
Anyone can have a tranquil mind in a contrived environment of no distractions, complete stillness and unbroken silence. And it’s not a test to see if you can attain it in your regular life.
It’s like thinking that if you can only control the outside world, then you can control your mind –if the outside world is favourable to you, then you will be happy.
Quiet among Disquiet
Okay, so nature does exist for the betterment of itself, but not all people exist to better Humanity (or each other). If anything, most of life is the complete opposite to those highly-contrived and unrealistic surroundings (for the 99.9% of us who live among, and have to cooperate with, other humans).
As a real test to see if you can maintain your tranquility amid the events of real life, wouldn’t it be more useful to build the temple here?…
or maybe here?
Anyone can be at peace in surroundings of peace. Just like anyone can be strong when nothing’s going wrong.
The real test is when there’s chaos around. Can you keep your peace of mind then?