the great gatsby and the eight worldy dharmas

ah, i just read or shall i say reread the great gatsby b f scott fitzgerald. it was one of those books that i had to read in high school and mulled over it without much interest. im pretty sure i did that with everything i read in highschool. maybe i should put myself on a highschool book tour. then i would spend my summer rereading, lets see

a separate peace by john knowles
Fahrenheit 451 by ray bradbury
cry the beloved country by richard Harris

that doesnt seem too bad. i know there was one book that i did, in my smug idealism, approve of and now i cant even remember what it was. maybe i should get in touch with some ap english students i had in mrs chandlers class over the summer too. but to the point. the great gatsby was amazing. and im glad i read it now because i sure as hell wouldnt have appreciated the themes when i was a high school kid. without making this a book report i just wanted to touch on the fact that besides it being a tragic love story it also gives a warning to not living in the present moment.

although the main characters, outside of Nick are wealthy and young and beautiful, none of them are satisfied with anything they have. they are either not appreciative of what they have, longing for something in the past, or not living in the present because they are waiting for the future, basically waiting for their "life" to begin. the Buddhists call this longing the eight worldly dharmas.

the eight worldy dharmas are four pairs of opposites- four things that we like and become attached to and four things that we try and avoid. And the basic message is that when we get caught up in them, we suffer.

first, we like pleasure; we are attached to it. Conversely we dont like pain. Second, we like and are attached to praise. We try to avoid criticism and blame. Third, we like and are attached to fame, we dislike and try to avoid disgrace. Finally, we are attached to getting what we want, and we dont like losing what we have. According to this very simple teaching, becoming immersed in these four pairs of opposites is what keeps us in the pain of samsara or the life of being asleep, not being awakened.

And its such a tragedy because of the life these people led and the amount of suffering in their lives. Its a beautiful tragedy and a wonderful read and it definitely helped me in my path to not getting caught up in lots of things, like waiting for my life to begin or not having more money and helped me to appreciate every waking moment and what I have to live for today.