“One Buddha is Not Enough” excerpt by Sister Gioi Nghiem
After I’d been a nun for about a year, my sister sent me a card with a joke inside; I think I must have been practicing too seriously!
A nun went into a bookstore and bought a book for $7. She gave the salesman $10, and when he didn’t give her any change, she asked, “Where is my change?” The salesman replied, “Oh, I thought change is from within.”
We tend to laugh at this, but in our daily life, things like this happen a lot. We expect a lot of changes to come from outside, but the change actually comes from within. It’s like Mahatma Gandhi said, “We are the change we want to see in the world.” So we can’t just expect and wait. We need to do something about it. We can nourish our happiness, and we can transform our suffering so that the change can come from within. And from that basis, we change the surroundings. Once we make change within ourselves, then we can affect our surroundings.
I’m still practicing with that. Sometimes in the community I see changes that I want made, but I forget to see that this change has to come from me. If I can’t change my view or drop my perception of things, then what I suffer from is not the conditions outside, but the expectations that I’m holding on to; it may be my own view of happiness that’s keeping me from being happy.