Samsara is a Buddhist term that means “the realms where live people with an uncontrolled and conditioned mind”. Let me explain a little bit the concept.
First, we said “the realms where live people”; Buddha said: “we are what we think”, moreover, we make our life with our thoughts. Indeed, we have a mental representation of our reality that includes the outer world and ourselves, and we live inside this representation. That is the realm of Samsara. Likely the reader can be a bit skeptical with so strong claim, as I was, but lately I have discovered for myself the true, and for this reason I want to share here my feelings about.
Second, Samsara is made by and uncontrolled and conditioned mind: this is the key of our problem. Uncontrolled here means the mind make thoughts almost automatically without need our will, and this thought born in reaction to external events, so they are totally conditioned to the outer world. Moreover, our memory keeps memories that conditions too our reactions and thoughts.
The Samsara world leads us to some wrong ways that produce suffering in ourselves and the other people.
|Anger: A primitive natural reaction, known as “fight-flight response“, maybe is controlled by our “reptilian brain”, and old brain structure we inherit from the reptils through teh evolution (see for exemple Triune brain).When anger control us, we experience a metamorphosis, and become something quite different, like an animal in fight.|
|Resentment, revenge: A “frozen” version of anger, in which the subject keeps it waiting for the best time for damage the victim. Meanwhile anger is inherit from the animal realm, resentment is an human creation, I think so.|
|Sadness, deception, strong desires and cravings not fulfilled: Indeed, desires are the fuel of our life, the energy that impulse us to achieve things in this life, so is a necessity. But when desires are uncontrolled, or better said, they control us, can degenerate in craving and attachment: we think we need the fulfillment of our desires, otherwise we become frustrated persons, and eventually fall in sadness or even in anger.|
|Greed: A specialized variant of desire in which the subject experiences a strong craving for money and material possessions, becoming the mainly subject of his life: to earn money, to have more and more things, power, prestige, an so on.|
Sometimes, the suffering we experience in Samsara becomes too hard for to bear it, driven people to some foolish behaviors. But, for few persons, the unbearable suffering can lead to the spiritual path for achieve awakening. Here, “awake” means to break the identification with our mind, and become free of their tyranny, at least to some extent. If the awakening is complete, and the freedom is absolute, then we abandon the realm of Samsara and come into the realm of Nirvana.
This is my way, and this is just I have lived lately: a progressive awakening due an unbearable suffering, induced by deep frustration, in turn caused by unfilled desires. In fact, the old words of Buddhist monk Shantideva (6th century) are now my words too:
“From now on I should not to be indolent in striving once and for all to destroy this natural foe that is the constant source of all my suffering“
Shantideva: The Bodhisattva’s way of life
To become free of our identification with our mind not be possible if we were not much more that our thoughts, I think. In the next post I will talk about this topic: who/what we are, beyond our thoughts?