The Benefits and Drawbacks of Change

Luang Por Pasanno • October 2012

There is a feeling of change today since the rain has come. The rain on the roof is an unfamiliar sound after months and months of dry summer. As I came down this morning for pūjā, there was the smell of moisture in the air. We can pay attention to that feeling of change.

The mind tends to look at things from a one-sided perspective. We might be people who love the warm summer and hate the cold rainy time, or we might like the colder wet weather and hate the heat. But nothing is ever one-sided like that. Everything has its benefits and drawbacks, and the Buddha instructs us to investigate that.

This includes investigating the drawbacks of things we like and are excited about. It’s starting to get cool, the dust has settled, the plants are coming out, and the forest is regenerating—these are the benefits of this lovely weather. At the same time, a gutter is leaking, and water is dripping down the side of a wall onto a deck and needs to be repaired.

There was a group of Pa-Auk Sayadaw’s lay disciples who were planning on coming up today to have a look at Abhayagiri. They were thinking about how to develop their new property for Pa-Auk and were excited to see what we’ve done here. However, we received an email from them this morning saying that with the new rain they found leaks in several of their buildings and need to fix them right away. So they have to postpone their trip for some time.

There are benefits and drawbacks to everything. If we think in terms of, I like this or I don’t like that, we end up trapping ourselves. By looking at experience from a broader perspective and applying Dhamma to it, we can more easily recognize that everything has two or more sides and see more clearly how problematic it is to take a personal position on what we are experiencing. That way we’re not investing in the “I, me, and mine" sense of how we think things should be. Rather, we’re examining the way things are, reflecting on both the benefits and drawbacks of the situation.