There is a concept in Buddhism called The Ten Worlds: Hell, Hunger, Animality, Anger, Humanity, Heaven, Learning, Realization, Bodhisattva and Buddhahood. These states determine our perception of how we experience the world around us.
So I read about the world of Hunger:
Hunger is characterized by a painful Long for something just out of reach. Unlike Hell, it is not a state of complete captivity and hopelessness. One is at least living in pursuit of something. But, being unable to satisfy their desires, people in Hunger invariably experience severe frustration.
Those in the world of Hunger are pulled this way and that by desires. Thus they suffer and lack a feeling of inner freedom. They become slaves to their desires.
The real issue, therefore, is how we use desire. Those in the world of Hunger do not use desire to create value; rather they become its slave. On account of desire, they suffer themselves and cause injury to others. That’s why the world of Hunger is called an “evil path”.
– excerpts from The Wisdom on the Lotus Sutra, vol 4.
Yep, that pretty much described me and hundreds of other women who have blogged about infertility, trying to conceive or trying to adopt. More or less.
It seems like I’ve been in the world of Hunger for a long, long time. Now, I’m not saying I haven’t been in the other worlds either, or been in a few of them at the same time. As a matter of fact the world of Buddhahood can exist in all of the Ten Worlds. That concept is called the mutual possession of the Ten Worlds. There is way more detail to all of this, but my point in writing about all of this is that is why I started to practice Buddhism in the first place. I wanted off the hamster wheel.
I feel like I’ve been struggling to get out of the world of Hunger for as long as I can remember. From the time I was a kid in the dreary suburbs that I grew up in, the atmosphere of loathing and repression of my parents’ marriage, struggling for some kind of positive recognition by trying to be good, trying to be perfect and feeling insecure cause I didn’t fit into society’s definition of the “total package.” It was my curiosity about people and ability to communicate well that made me a reasonably happy person. But it was Hunger that drove me. And exhausted me cause I never could quite get enough of what I needed.
I had gone through a great deal of human revolution around the time I received Gohonzon and got married and for a time I can safely say I was satisfied and happy. Happy that I finally found a spiritual home, happy to be a bride at long last. Then I couldn’t have a child and I plunged into the world of Hunger again. Then the whole tap dance of trying to control things, to be perfect to get my desired outcome started again. Can’t say being in the world of adoption has changed me much. The tap dance is no less exhausting. Or painful.
Ting! Oh, boy. Aha. Yup. I think I hear the penny drop.