Every human being encounters challenges and obstacles at some point in the course of a lifetime. There is no escaping birth, old age, sickness and death in addition to the daily challenges we face living a life. The What of our problems are not as important as the How we face them. Buddhism offers a means by which we can challenge our obstacles and even regard problems as a source of benefit.
Right now I’m at a point in my life where I have very few worries. My family is all enjoying good health and I’m not in conflict with a single person in my environment. Sure I have daily annoyances like the car door not latching or resolving not to drink as much alcohol and sticking to my resolution–but all in all I’m enjoying a lot of peace and good fortune in my daily life. Buddhism teaches that by overcoming and addressing our dilemmas including our own shortcomings we can polish our life and train ourselves to respond with optimism to future problems. In fact in a sense, challenges can be welcomed with joy and with a spirit of confidence that you can become a better person because of this difficulty. “The realm of kosen-rufu–in which we see difficulties as peace and comfort, as a badge of honor, and advance while surmounting every obstacle–is the “soil” in which people of truly great character are nurtured and grow.” (Living Buddhism 1/16, page 50) So I should be hoping for some calamity to face? I should open my life to a trial of some sorts? After all we all face problems living a life as a human being. Still I can not bring myself to wish for trouble. Instead I choose to enjoy what there is to enjoy right now in this moment and pray that when a predicament arises I can experience the confidence to confront it head on with a hopeful response. In the meantime while I savor this good fortune, I resolve to strengthen my Buddhist practice and confront with an open mind any shortcomings that I observe. Hopefully I can see my next challenge as a source of benefit that will strengthen and enrich my life rather than reacting with fear or defeat.