Which one happens to you often? What do you think of this reality?
Buddhism teaches there are two types of circumstances that shape our lives: favorable circumstances and adverse circumstances. The former refer to times when you feel free and easy as well as strong and resilient, and when things go exactly the way you want. The latter pertain to times when you feel less than whole, when you have the blues, when you utter a sigh unawares, and when things do not go quite the way you hoped.
Are you in favorable circumstances now or in adverse circumstances? If you responded the latter, rest assured whatever the source of your anguish does not last forever. In fact, you may be blossoming in favorable circumstances a month from now. In contrast, even if you are in favorable circumstances now, it is unwise to take them for granted, for tomorrow you may indeed be in a harrowing predicament. If there is one thing for certain, everyone faces both favorable and unfavorable circumstances to a greater or lesser degree.
Occasionally, you may come across people who seem to have never known any trials and tribulations in life, either because they take hardships in stride or because they are somewhat obtuse. Yet even these people face adverse circumstances. It is solely a matter of whether they show it or not. Those who have gone through the mill tend to be better able to refrain themselves from revealing their signs of affliction.
Conversely, there are also those who unintentionally convey their feelings via facial expressions, in which case, their circumstances, specifically, whether favorable or not is easily discernible.
Some people thus conceal their circumstances better than others while all humans experience both favorable and adverse circumstances. Neither favorable circumstances nor unfavorable circumstances last for eternity.
You may think of them as climbing a mountain. Climbing up the mountain is arduous, and if the mountain is steep, it is all the more. The decent, on the other hand, is pleasant and easy. Yet there is no mountain consisting entirely of ascent nor is there mountain involving descent alone. If you experience a long period of descent, you must brace yourself for a long and hard ascent.
After an extended period of difficult ascent, however, you can look forward to a long and leisurely descent. To those suffering in adverse circumstances, you may say, “Winter is always followed by spring,” or “Night is always followed by morning,” because they are so.
To those who are walking on air in favorable circumstances, you may want to warn, “Good times may not last forever,” or “Adverse circumstances may be lurking just around the corner.”
As we grow older, we experience a series of favorable circumstances and unfavorable circumstances. The question is where we are headed as we go through life’s ascent and descent. Rather than concerning ourselves with how to surmount our immediate hardships or how to prolong our immediate good fortunes, Shakyamuni Budddha called attention to where we are headed as we go through favorable and unfavorable circumstances.
Source: The Buddhist Village Times (The Beacon) #08 | 2011, Favorable and Adverse Circumstances
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