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All About Buddhism: The Season for Miracles

Due to our unfamiliarity with them, foreign traditions often strike our hearts much more deeply than do the traditions that we like to claim for our own. Sometimes, we even find that new traditions can lead to miracles in our life because a foreign tradition gives us a new and novel way of seeing the world.

Saturday 29 December 2018, 12:31PM


Historically, it has been in our nature to look to exterior sources for miracles. In the West, this led to miracles such as ‘feeding the five-thousand,’ ‘water into wine,’ and, of course, Christmas itself.

But, Christmas today often does suffer from a particular problem. The problem is that chapter-&-verse are fixed memories of a particular time and they therefore encompass forms and people who simply can no longer exist again.

To put it another way, we often have a much easier time in recreating bygone Christmas miracles than we do in terms of creating brand-new Christmas miracles… and this is often because of two reasons.

First, most of us really don’t understand miracles and, second, we tend to look to others for miracles simply because we didn’t understand the idea in the first place.

But, then along comes a foreign holiday in a new land and, suddenly, we can see things through new traditions such as the exotic traditions of Thai Buddhism – a style of Buddhism which has a thesis that is often about creating miracles for yourself.

We’ve revealed a lot about miracles over the past few years of this series. Yet, in the spirit of the season, we are going to reveal a laundry list of tips as to how miracles work, as well as how it is that we so often shutdown miracles before they even have the chance to start.

Many famous Buddhist Monks including Bojo Chinul of Korea, Ryokan Taigu of Japan, and Ajarn Chah of Thailand would all agree that we live in a natural state of miracles until we go and defuse them… and we defuse them mainly by having the wrong mindset.

To this end, many great Buddhist Monks have carried a mantra that goes ‘do not spend too much time thinking of the past, for it brings suffering and cannot be changed; and do not spend too much time thinking of the future, for it brings anxiety and is largely out of human hands anyway. Just exist in the living moment.’

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Yet, modern psychologists have routinely found that we almost universally disavow this advice. Modern computer studies have revealed that we spend a whopping 40% of our time thinking of the past, another 30% on the future, and often do not use even 10% of our actual mental abilities. This is exactly the opposite of what Buddhism teaches and it brings tremendous amounts of unwarranted suffering.

Meanwhile, the next problem that we have is that we fail to understand the ‘Golden Rule of Miracles’. It’s my own euphemism, but I have transcribed the ‘Golden Rule of Miracles’ as this:

Miracles only can happen when we trust that they will, and they invariably stop the very moment that we begin searching for them. That’s our Golden Rule and it tells us to look to ourselves for miracles, not others.

A miracle is an unexpected outburst of positivity and the unexpected can only happen when it truly is unexpected – it must be the natural course of things and, as such, miracles only can happen in times where they make no sense to our faulty human egos. In fact, miracles usually only rocket off the launch pad when they are fueled by the high-octane intolerance of others who cannot understand miracles for themselves.

What is more, our great Buddhist Patriarchs have long-since understood that miracles cannot be designed by human hands, which is perhaps why we tend to look onto the hands of others for their creation. The true blueprint of a miracle is one of unrelenting faith and there will never be any human design that can exceed one of unrelenting faith.

Ultimately, unrelenting faith is a conscious state of being an adult and, to borrow some words from Robert Frost, it has proven to be ‘the road not taken.’ Way leads onto way, and an unrelentingly positive frame of mind is ‘the road less traveled’ that can brighten each and every day.

From the hands of Buddha Himself, through the hearts of all human beings & through the pages of all great World Religions, let me wish you a very Merry Christmas, a very Happy Holiday and a very bright, New Year!


All About Buddhism is a monthly column in The Phuket News where I take readers on my exotic journey into Thai Buddhism and debunk a number of myths about Buddhism. If you have any specific queries, or ideas for articles, please let us know. Email editor1@classactmedia.co.th, and I will do my best to accommodate your interests.

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