What a coincidence! Just as I had finished enthusing about Ajahn Brahm's book in my last blog item, my wife alerted me to a very recent story by Raja Petra Kamarudin (RPK) in his No Holds Barred column in Malaysia Today.
She mentioned that the title "Opening the door to your heart" sounded all too familiar to her and when she looked deeper into the article, Raja Petra was indeed quoting from Ajahn Brahm's book. Imagine...RPK quoting from a book written by a Buddhist monk. RPK is indeed a widely read man.
The story used by Raja Petra was Ajahn Brahm's narration of "two bad bricks". The lesson in this story is worth understanding. What the Bhante wanted to tell us was that we shouldn't let small mistakes cloud the good things in our lives. In his case, he laid two bad bricks in his wall of 1,000 bricks. But he couldn't get over it until someone told him that there were still 998 good bricks there. Would he want to destroy the 998 good bricks just to get rid of the two bad ones? Or to put it in another way, would the two bad bricks make the whole wall bad?
To quote from Ajahn Brahm's book: "How many people end a relationship or get divorced because all they can see in their partner are two bad bricks? How many of us become depressed or even contemplate suicide because all we can see in ourselves are two bad bricks? In truth, there are many, many more good bricks, perfect bricks - above, below, to the left and to the right of the faults - but at times we just can't see them. Instead, everytime we look, our eyes focus exclusively on the mistakes. The mistakes are all we see, they're all we think are there - and so we want to destroy them. And sometimes, sadly, we do destroy a very nice wall.BTW, I was amused by an interesting comment that someone made in Raja Petra's article. He said that Ajahn Brahm's name stood for (Buddhist, Roman Catholic, Anglican, Hindu and Muslim.
"We've all got our two bad bricks, but the perfect bricks in each one of us are much, much more than the mistakes. Once we see this, things aren't so bad. Not only can we live at peace with ourselves, inclusive of our faults, but we can also enjoy living with a partner. This is bad news for divorce lawyers, but good news for you."