Its definitely autumn and I love being surrounded by conker-dropping trees- except of course when they manage to find the target that seems to be on the top of my head.
Both the kids love conkers, feeling the smoothness, observing the richness of the colours, but they never want to smash them. My daughter is starting to collect things as she finds them now, pine cones, conkers, rocks.. its wonderful to see her discovering the natural world. As I walk through nature, I feel extremely peaceful and realise that this is such a gift. I know it is a gift when I think about all the turmoil happening in many parts of the world.
Last night I became aware of the current uprising in Burma. I watched the tv news (not something I do very often) which showed images of Buddhist monks protesting in the streets. They are taking a great risk for themselves, but are doing it for the benefit of all people in their country. I hear the U.S. is now showing a glimmer of interest about the regime and talking sanctions, but I can't understand why only now.. when it has been so terrible for so long. Why is it so hard to live peacefully? Even in a predominantly Buddhist country?? Its not just military regimes though, its everywhere, even in the simplest of lives.
People get drunk, fight, hurt each other, hurt themselves, why is it so hard to live peacefully? I certainly don't know the answer. The Buddha has said that all of life is suffering, and that's not to be pessimistic, its just a fact. Even in our happy moments there is suffering. Escaping samsara and rebirth is the only way out, which entails becoming enlightening..no easy task. I just try and remember the mantra for myself, Peace begins with me, similar to what Gandhi also said about being the change you want to see in the world.