Good news and bad news can occur at any time. Every day, even without stepping out of the house, many things can still happen to you. You get struck down with some terrible illness; you get lucky and win the lottery; you get an overseas call from a long-lost friend… They just happen: no prior warning, and usually no explanations.
Christians would have us believe that everything in life occurs for a reason. Everything is pre-ordained, or is it? However, call it the scientist in me?? I have always been a little skeptical. If everything has been mapped out, what joy is there to look forward to?
Then the concepts of “free will” and “choice” conveniently appear on the scene. No, it is not true that everything in life is fixed, we all have “free will”, so people say. But, if the choice is between Heaven and Hell, is the “choice” presented a real option? Or is everything in relative terms? That is, once you have accepted a particular way of life, then whatever that comes your way is by definition Good, and whoever does not live according to your adopted philosophy will not be able to receive it? In other words, one person’s Hell may be someone else’s Heaven and vice versa.
Very confusing, isn’t it?
One of the noble truths in Buddhism is that life is suffering. Some people will read this statement literally and come to the conclusion that Buddhism has a pessimistic outlook on life. However, why not turn it into a positive driving force? To face uncertainties bravely knowing ‘the Truth’, and to continually strive for (internal) improvement? If things material objects (including life itself) are by nature impermanent, why not accept it as such and get on with making the best use of the impermanence?
Perhaps this is a good attitude in the midst of all these uncertainties around us!?