The Stress factor

by HH The Gyalwang Drukpa, Times of India, Nov 14, 2011

New Delhi, India -- Stress makes us always busy for nothing. Stress is caused by conformity to standards and structures. However, if we don't conform, we are considered as bad.

So, we feel that we have to do this and we have to do that, or we may get into trouble. Many such types of social and traditional structures can give us a lot of headaches.

This doesn't mean that Buddhist teaching has no structure, tradition, or culture. There is a
form, but it is there to enable those people who have a strong attachment to have something that they lean on. Buddhist teachings deal with the Universal Truth, the authentic teaching.

As we don't want to be confined within a box, we should try to lessen any rigid structures or concepts we have about customs, traditions, rules and regulations.

Buddhism is not a religion

Buddhism is not a religion. Therefore, Buddhism can never be put inside a 'box' of culture or religion. Buddhist teachings are like space or spaciousness. Anything you may point to, as the structure, culture or tradition of Buddhism is not the authentic Buddhism. We have a lot of meditation, therapies, mental and physical exercises to keep ourselves in a state of peace and calm. However, these are just skillful means and methods to keep ourselves calm and peaceful.

Authentically speaking, at some point, we have to go of all these skilful means because they are just temporary.

To experience liberation, first we have to free our minds from misunderstanding. All faults, misconceptions, sufferings and stresses stem from a lack of understanding about relative truth. Everything is relative. No truth is ultimate or absolute.

This relativity also tells us that there is no need to be stressed or worried. Everything in the world is impermanent. In addition to the suffering of impermanence, there are many kinds of stresses that derive from nervousness. You may believe that things have to be this or that way, which makes you nervous.

Nowadays our education is always concerned with competition. You have to be the best....
Children are always looking for the best, but since nothing is the best, stress comes.

You have to run after the rainbow but you cannot catch it. Therefore, the stress seems to be endless. We feel we have to work very hard because we have to show our wealth. Our home, our car, our way of living should reach a certain standard. But we will never reach a standard when we say, "Okay, now I've reached where I want to be, so now I can relax. I am now the richest and the best in the world." We will never get there.

Best of both worlds

Know that the life we live is relative and then you can work for money, have a family and lead a normal, fun-filled life. Without contentment, satisfaction and happiness, what are you working for? You are working like hell for suffering. You would be looking for more and more suffering.

We don't have to abandon this busy life in order to get rid of stress. The best solution is,
acquire some knowledge. This little bit of change in your mind will make a big difference.
Even though the change may be small, the difference that you feel in your lifestyle will be

According to Buddhist theory, we have lives and lives to come. Therefore, there is no need
to be anxious or have a strong emotion to run after something. This is also true for spiritual practice. We need to practise compassion well, but this doesn't mean that we need to be nervous. We don't need to practise anxiously and nervously, saying, "Oh, I'm getting old now and I have to finish all these things". No, you can get old and you can die. You may even die tomorrow, so what? You will be coming back, as there are many lives to come. We should just improve the quality of every session in the continuity of life.

Abridged from Walking an Uncommon path. Follow HH Gyalwang Drukpa on