last night I woke up in the middle of the night and could not get back to sleep. This has been happening to me a lot lately. I start thinking about things… work… the adoption etc and then my mind is racing and I can’t quiet my mind.

Anyway I am still in the Solomon Islands and I have been reading the book Buddha by Karen Armstrong. It is such a beautiful book, I want to read her other books. She is a former Catholic nun who is now a writer and she writes about key historic figures in different religious ideologies. Here other books are: A History of God: The 4,000 Year Quest of Judaism, Christianity and Islam, and Muhammad: A Biography of the Prophet and The Battle for God there are others too. She has a beautiful writing style and approaches these historical figures of whom there are many myths and legends about as a biographer – refering to historical text etc.

Anyway, why bad Buddhist? Because when I got to the end and Buddha taught his last teaching and died I sobed and sobed into the night (in fact I am crying right now). I know the story of Buddha’s life and as a Buddhist I don’t view death with the same saddness that many feel. His death was not a shock to me, he died over 2500 years ago! – I have heard the story in general terms many times, his approach to his own death became a very important teaching in itself. So why the tears? Maybe it was just Karen Armstrong’s beautiful writing style and the small details I did not know before that made me cry….

No, it is because I am so far from enlightenment. I felt so much sympathy and compassion for Ananda the Buddha’s closest companion and one of his oldest followers who was with him at his death. Ananda had spent so much time with the Buddha, had listened directly to so many teachings from the Buddha, but he was unable to detatch himself enough from the self he was unable to achieve enlightenment. He was attached or  ‘clinging’ to the Buddha and so felt such great sorrow and heartbreak when he died. I felt the same way too and it made me realise how much attachment I still have and how much work I still need to do while I have this opportunity, while I have been blessed with this precious human existance.

for now I will start with trying to quiet my mind.