How Two ‘Expats’ Sought Resolution

What if a loved one goes missing, while the days go by, without helpful clues arising, with no resolution in sight? While an atheistic mother (Margaret) harbours hope and struggles on to find her young son, the agnostic father (Clarke) who has given up hope prayed that a suspected body found is him. Both were looking for closure, one with proof of life, and the other of death. Grievous as it is, death is still ‘closure’.

Margaret resolves to seek resolution, even with the possibility of none, to look on for her lost son. Clarke resolves to move on, even with the possibility of his son being found, to look after their two other children. Was Margaret choosing the uncertain, while neglecting her remaining children? (Will she ‘lose’ them too?) Was Clarke choosing the certain, while neglecting his missing child? (Will he finally ‘lose’ him?)

Who can say Margaret or Clarke was right? How do we know if there should still be strife, or that it is already futile? More strife might be needed before deciding that it is futile? More thoughts about strife being futile do not help the lost though, while it might offer some rest or ‘peace’ of mind. It all boils down to this existential question – How do we know when to give up on what we hold dear to heart?

The answer to this ‘koan’ is perhaps a balanced path – by moving on, to still care for those living, yet not moving away, to still support systematic search for the one missing. Surely, if there is clinging to hope with the possibility of it being absent, or giving up hope with the possibility of it being present, either way, there will not be true peace. Peace arises from adequate; neither too much nor too little strife. If Margaret and Clarke cannot find peace, they will have to make peace, as much as possible, by themselves and with each other.

Perhaps the greatest related spiritual question is, ‘What if the Buddha-to-be could not find the path to True Happiness?‘ It did not matter to him at all. He clearly saw the search for complete enlightenment as the most important and urgent quest to embark upon and stay on. The very fact that this path might exist, but yet to be discovered made the quest worth it. Out of compassion for all beings and vowing to be unwavering, he was totally willing to die striving. And to strive on even if it takes many more lives. Even if True Happiness is not found, he will still be as happy as he can truly be.

Please Be Mindful Of Your Speech, Namo Amituofo!

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