Busy-ness

One of the most common complaint you hear today is, “I’m too busy.” This is not an accident. We live in an economic system and society that rewards busy-ness and scorns those who prize taking time for quiet and peace. Even on occasions when people do take time for those things, it is expected to be an economic decision. “I have to take a $4000 cruise in order to recharge my batteries.” It’s of course left unsaid that all that battery charging is to be used to work even harder after those 10 precious days of overeating and furious entertainment.

Know two thing: it was always thus. And, the Buddha had no patience for that kind of excuse. This tiny sutta says it all.

Once, a lay Buddhist from Icchanangala came to Savatthi on business. Once he finished his business, he came to visit the Buddha. He worshipped the Buddha, then sat down to hear his teaching.

The Buddha said, “Finally you have come to visit!”

He replied, “I have wanted to visit for a long time, but I’ve always been too busy.”

The Buddha understood, and offered this little poem:

     “One who has nothing is truly happy.

     One who has learned and understood the dhamma

     Sees how those who have something are always troubled.

     They are always imprisoned to the needs of others.”

-Udana 2.5

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