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Thread: A Special Note to Stephanie ...

  1. #1

    A Special Note to Stephanie ...

    I am going to make this its own thread, split from the discussion of Jo's Panic Attack ...

    http://www.treeleaf.org/forums/showt...tial-Meltdowns

    Quote Originally Posted by Stephanie View Post
    In this you have a wonderful gift, and don't let anyone convince you otherwise. You already recognize yourself that this intense state of mind can make things bright and clear, if only for a time. If you can dance with the dragon without being burned, you will never fall into that sorry state of death-in-life that feeds that more subtle sense of "quiet desperation" so endemic in modern industrial cultures. You may also taste some of that same sense of urgency some of our Zen ancestors felt at times they were subsisting on pine needles in a hut on the edge of a cliff. But this same intensity can drag you down into the pit of hell, and destroy you. Only you can know your tolerance in any given instance of the darkness, and when it's time to yell for someone to toss you a ladder and help you climb out.
    Hi Stephanie,

    This may be fine for you, and I wish you the best in walking your Path.

    However, you may have noticed that Buddhism, from the outset, has been centered on Liberation, freedom from and amid the the existential suffering of Dukkha. Same in Zen Buddhism in all its flavors, finding one's Original Face, Mu, Koans, Shikantaza and all the rest. There are times when one is advised to go deeply deeply into the fear, the darkness, the doubt, anger, greed, confusion and ignorance, the war and child abuse and broken dreams and pain ... but the point is to emerge through it, and as it, transcendent of fear, darkness, doubt, confusion, jealousy, anger, greed, confusion and ignorance, war, childhoods and the whole dream. The point is not to befriend or urge on one's Mara or Dark Passenger, but rather, to not be enslaved by all that.

    Now, you often come here and very rudely and one-sidedly insist that a Buddhist's doing so must be turning all of us into tranquilized, emotionless mannequins, quietly desperate ... "dead-in-life". Bull. You fail to see that this Practice is truly a kind of existentialist philosophy ... better said, existential LIVING ... allowing us to fully live and exert in every breath, step and gesture ... crying tears with all our hearts at the sad times, smiling with all openness at the happy times ... At Peace with all the peaceful AND the totally unpeaceful shattered pieces of life ... while a Buddha's Smile shines as and through all of it, happy, sad and in between.

    We do not escape from fear, happiness, worry, love, glumness, depression, "what if's", the greatest joys, passion, warmth, panic attacks, addictions, grief at loss, the thrill of new love ... but run right in it, dance with it all, embody all, become FREE! This is LIFE! At the same time, we see through the passing puppet show of the theatre of mind and emotions, do not get trapped and caught by any one, find the Buddha's Wisdom in all of it ... are no longer enslaved by the theatre of mind. The Stillness we find is not standing still, is both rock solid and the swirl of the greatest storm.

    We are not afraid of the fire dragon, nor kill it, nor chain it down, nor turn it into a pussycat ... but RIDE the son-of-a-bitch ... ARE the Real Dragon with not an ounce of separation.

    You are always welcome here, but the above is the medicine we prescribe here. If you do not get this point, I wish you would peddle your drugs elsewhere. It may be right for you, and I wish you well by it. You will find more than a couple of Zen Teachers and folks out there who seem to lack complete center and clarity and peace themself, and thus try to sell that lack of center and clarity and peace as what Zen and all Buddhism is about. They look for fellow travelers.

    Gassho, Jundo
    Last edited by Jundo; 10-25-2012 at 07:45 AM.
    ALL OF LIFE IS OUR TEMPLE

  2. #2
    Right Mindfulness leads to Right Action.
    gassho
    -Lou

  3. #3
    Stephanie
    Guest
    Jundo, you and I are never going to see eye to eye on things, and that is okay with me. Probably we both mischaracterize one another's position and experience; I certainly know you do mine. You paint me as some miserably suffering, out of balance person, when the reality of my life is pretty easygoing and mellow. My emotional dial may be cranked up a bit relative to the average, but the point is I enjoy it. I relish the fact I've been able to live 'one mistake after another' and end up in some bad spots. I'm grateful for every way I've found to be alive. Which in my experience has to do with passion and intensity. If anything, I err toward being too careful and not letting myself make enough mistakes. Believe it or not.

    I have come to realize part of the draw to Treeleaf for me is the extent it can serve as creative foil. I may, for the sake of presenting a contrast, paint the 'opposing side' as wrong, but it's really just a game; it is no more true that my style or preference is correct than yours or anyone else's is. People do gravitate toward what feels right to them. And the point I was making in the post you're reacting to is that Syntax seems to be of the type to turn toward that kind of experience. I would hope he would hear at least one person encourage him to be true to the way that calls to him; how much time I wouldn't have wasted, had I not earnestly considered your advice when trying to work with my own more extreme states of mind, and instead realized that yes, I do have the strength to go into the storm.

    I am aware of the risks of such a path; hence, the warning offered. But to some, that risk is energizing. We risk it all every day, just existing; you might as well take a chance, and feel something, when you could by staying at home, one morning trip over your coffee table, pass out, and die, just as easily as if you'd parachuted into the Amazon.

    Here is what I really don't get when it comes to you. You captured my respect with your teaching of experiencing the perfection of any life circumstance, but you've slowly lost it as I've seen that you are really only talking about certain kinds of experiences, as long as they don't go beyond a certain degree, or linger in a certain spot too long... the whole argument of the Absolute perfection that is not separate from any or all of life falls apart when you start to say, "yes, but not here and not here."

    I may be fortunate enough to be able to elect to be or not be in a certain extreme circumstance. I did leave New York, after all. But some people don't have the choice. Some people have illness that no medication is strong enough to fully tame, some people cannot escape violence, cruelty, or degradation, some people can't hop the plane or bus out of hell. And for whatever reasons, those people are going to have a much harder time matching up to your sense of what it is to practice Zen the 'right way.' I say to those folks, use your circumstance, don't fight against it, go into it, have the courage to be your own life, don't try to be someone else's. In this way I think my take is more along the lines of your teaching about all of life being a temple than some of what you say.

    I wonder, if maybe your lawyer training has so sensitized you to the risk you hold of being held liable for someone else's disaster, that you hedge your bets in places you might not otherwise. Or maybe you really do have that limited and judgmental a view of life and people. I know I have my judgmental streak - but part of what I react against when I poke at people I see as being too tame is that this is so overwhelmingly socially sanctioned that those of us who have a little darkness or edginess and don't want to wash it completely out have to fight an uphill battle just to be ourselves and not be ostracized. Maybe if you could respect the Dharma in my knotty twig I could respect the Dharma in your leaf. We are all part of the same tree after all.

    And this is so important and serious, I have to ask - do you watch Dexter?

  4. #4
    Hi Stephanie,

    I relish the fact I've been able to live 'one mistake after another'.

    We all do. Life is endless mistakes upon mistakes. Our Rakusu sewers know this well.

    you start to say, "yes, but not here and not here."

    I would never say so. You put words in my mouth. 'Tis every where. Yet, it is not in greed, anger and ignorance ... even as we live in a world of greed, anger and ignorance.

    you might as well take a chance, and feel something, when you could by staying at home, one morning trip over your coffee table, pass out, and die, just as easily as if you'd parachuted into the Amazon. ... I poke at people I see as being too tame

    Who the heck are you to judge who and what is "tame"? Let some of the parents of children, the struggling folks, the "get 'er done" daily people around here, the ordinary cancer and heart attack survivors and nurses of sick mothers teach YOU about "tame". They don't have to flee New York ... they don't have to run to the Amazon to find "it" --IF-- they know what they are looking for and where not to find "it".

    I was tickled to see an interview yesterday where that fellow who parachuted from space said what a let-down it kinda was (literally and figuratively). It would be, if one doesn't know how to be at home BOTH on earth AND in space AND everywhere in between ... heaven and earth set infinitely apart.

    ... this is so overwhelmingly socially sanctioned that those of us who have a little darkness or edginess and don't want to wash it completely out have to fight an uphill battle just to be ourselves and not be ostracized.

    There is nothing wrong with darkness and edginess, except when they are just dark. There is everything right with a bit of darkness and edginess when we can be the Light that shines through the greatness Darkness, the Emptiness in edginess.

    Thus I say, stop ignorantly characterizing the Buddhist folks who are not you as (paraphrasing you) "tranquilized, dull and dreary, emotionless mannequins, quietly desperate ... "dead-in-life". [In doing so, you] fail to see this Practice ... allowing us to fully live and exert in every breath, step and gesture ..."

    In fact, that is why I appreciate Dexter** ... as a Bodhisattva who saves countless lives (by taking a few, as sometimes soldiers sadly must), a good, gentle person who always finds a hard way to Do Right, no prisoner of his Dark Passenger.

    Gassho, Jundo

    ** For those not familiar with the books and great tv series ...

    Based on Jeff Lindsay's novels Darkly Dreaming Dexter and Dearly Devoted Dexter this crime thriller follows Dexter Morgan ... a likable Miami forensics expert who hides a shocking secret: he's a vigilante serial killer using his skills and knowledge and drive to kill to murder criminals who have slipped through the cracks of the justice system and avoid detection.

    http://www.sho.com/sho/dexter/home
    Last edited by Jundo; 10-25-2012 at 06:31 AM.
    ALL OF LIFE IS OUR TEMPLE

  5. #5
    Stephanie
    Guest
    Thanks for your reply.

    If I've learned anything, it's that to bring light to darkness, you have to fully be in darkness. There's a lot of things that doesn't mean - including acting on destructive impulses and taking yourself past a point of no return. But you can't learn how to fearlessly be with those states if you hedge your bets, and shield yourself, and say, well, I can handle this much, but then once it gets to this point, I'm going to turn and run.

    And it also doesn't mean you have to be in some extreme situation to experience your edge. There might be some social event that makes you deeply uncomfortable, and you throw yourself fully into that, into your own fear. For me, every day, there are situations I don't want to be in, that make me uncomfortable, and one thing I practice is experiencing that edge and moving into it instead of shrinking away, whenever I'm aware enough to notice it. Syntax's post about sitting through a panic attack is a perfect example of this to me, although I would arguably say that is even more of an extreme instance than what I usually think about in regard to practicing an edge.

    My day-to-day reality really isn't that different from anyone here posting at Treeleaf. My job can be a little extreme sometimes, but probably less so than the jobs of some folks here. But what I have learned about how I practice, and the work I do, is that it makes me better able to do my job. I work with people in extreme states of mind all day long - psychosis, active addiction, withdrawal, suicidal depression, PTSD, complex grief, violent tendencies. And because I train in how to be comfortable with my own more extreme states of mind, I can be comfortable with theirs, which in turn gives me the ability to put people at ease and give them a sense of hope. I am that little ray of sunshine, the social worker people want to roll their eyes at for seeing light where they see none. But because it's not coming from a place of fear or discomfort on my end, what light or hope I can find or express is felt on at least some level as genuine.

    One of the first things you learn when studying to be a counselor is not to let your own agenda or reactions get in the way of your connecting with someone. It is our natural human reaction to try to stop or shut down states of mind in others that seem painful or scary. But that doesn't help. It's like aikido - not meeting force with resistance or force, with lecturing or judging or reactivity on your part, but being and working with that energy. Buddhist teachings would call this the dana of fearlessness. And while I have many bad days and am still a beginner, still learning and struggling with my own limits, I have had the privilege of seeing this work again and again. A little light gets through. But only because I'm well acquainted with the darkness because I've sat through my own hopelessness and fear. That is why Chet helped me so much in my night of despair - he didn't fight or try to stand in the way of the darkness, he could be with me in it while pointing a way out.

    I think where you and I often meet at cross purposes is you think I am talking about a personality type or set of circumstances I believe people should have, where that is far from what I am saying. What I do make a point of is the importance of fearlessness, of how people approach whatever life or personality they find they have. The best teachers I've worked with push students into their edges, not pull them back. I see a lot of reassuring and placating that goes on at Treeleaf. But it's not just Treeleaf I'm reacting to here. I've seen this in my own sanghas, in the pages of Tricycle and Shambhala Sun, in the Buddhist section of Barnes and Noble, in other social contexts where elements of 'Buddhism' are incorporated, like yoga centers and interfaith groups. There is so much of what I would call false reassurance.

    And why do I have a problem with it? Precisely because of how light has come into my own life, and how I see people, however few, who may have a capacity for a more total liberation led into pens and cages. Strip away the reassurance, the explanations, the padding, get people to let go of the branch and realize they were only a few feet off the ground to begin with, give them the freedom of being able to face that darkness. Not everyone can do it, but not everyone can truly confront the matter of life and death, peering into the void and realizing the non-self of not only their seeming self but the seeming self of whatever they cling to, either. That abyss is part of practice. It may not be all of practice, but it is there. The thing you don't want to look at. The thing you don't want to lose. And you can't be free if you cannot totally put yourself there, without waffling. You can't give others fearlessness you don't have. It just doesn't work that way.

    And this is the wonderful teaching of so many Zen ancestors who did not pull punches or reassure, whose words were like sharp slaps, not warm blankets. That was their great compassion. But modern Buddhism is awash in warm blankets and pastel paint. People want to jump to the reassuring conclusion before they've gotten through the tense climax. You can't do that. You can't truly get to the "but emptiness is really fullness" part until you've actually been through the "emptiness is emptiness" part. And of course that's the part we fight against. I don't care what type of life you have or what type of Zen you practice - I don't care if you ever do anything in your life more extreme than getting in the car and driving to work. I don't care if you prefer James Taylor to Mark Lanegan or Disney to Dexter. Preferences aren't truth. But if you can't tolerate discomfort, I don't believe for a minute you are ever going to be able to realize the truth or the matter of life and death. Because to realize the thing, you have to realize the whole thing, and to realize the whole thing, you've got to have the capacity to be in or with any part of it, most especially every part of your own mind, every hidden compulsion, fear, and painful place.

  6. #6
    disastermouse
    Guest
    I've been through extreme discomfort, but not as extreme as some. There are a few thoughts I'd like to share about that, nonetheless.

    I'm not a very brave person. I don't actively pursue discomfort and indeed, I think that if we are honest, MOST of us don't pursue it. Siddhartha did for a little while before ultimately deciding that the practice was counter-productive. Also note that he didn't cure the Dexter of his day, Angulimala, by "pushing him further into the darkness". Rather he did it by pointing out the futility of the drama of darkness. He also pointed out the futility of too much comfort to the over-comfortable of his time.

    In the mythology of the awakening of the Buddha, he neither slayed demons nor befriended them - he simply ceased interacting with them. He re-entered life being able to interact or not interact with the basic drama of everyday life. I think a lot of people think that awakening is this ultimate removal of the shackles of delusion, but really, I think that as momentous as that first realization of the illusory nature of our shackles is - the real freedom is the ability to wear the delusions or not in the greater pursuit of allowing all to see that they are inherently free.

    As regarding your earlier crisis, Steph - I would say only that I tried to work with where you were and it didn't scare me because I'd been there before. And because I'm a little screwed up, it was not a completely clean bit of help. And because I'm a little naive and arrogant, I had very few reservations about mucking around in your emotional briar-patch. I did some damage, certainly.

    The thing that's clearest to see about you, though, is that you seek validation. That's not an indictment, it's just an observation. Have you noticed that you seek it most desperately from the places it is least likely to come? That's probably the thing most worth examining in your emotional life. I sometimes think that you indulge the other bleak emotional dramas to avoid that very important one. It's not one of the 'big dark' emotions. It's not entertainingly dark. It's not very extreme, lacking the richness of bottomless depression or the sharpness of the terror of death - but it very much drives your life.

    Does Jundo maybe sometimes veer away from the bleak? Maybe. If it is this way, it's hard for me to recognize for certain because Jundo and I share so very few landmarks of our internal life. I can see in the way we sometimes talk past each other that our individual identities are constructed of the same stuff (as are all of ours), but that his is constructed in a very different shape. I think this has lead to our misunderstandings more than anything else. I'm not as ready to condemn it as pure folly as I once was.

    Nothing I've said was meant to be unkind.

    It could also be true that I myself am not on very good terms with my own emotions.

    Gassho,

    Chet
    Last edited by disastermouse; 10-27-2012 at 10:37 AM.

  7. #7
    Stephanie
    Guest
    Chet, I have seen you show bravery in putting yourself out there in uncomfortable ways because you felt it was the right or true thing to do, and I've also seen you do cowardly and self-serving things. I guess that makes you a human being? What I respect about you is not that you are exceptionally brave, but that you value truth so highly. Are you 100% honest 100% of the time? No, but I see you again and again work on yourself to be more true, more clear, and more honest. I do see bravery in that.

    The point of my last post is, you don't have to be a thrill seeker to be brave. Actually, quite the opposite. The easier it is to feel afraid or uneasy, the more easily a person can practice with those emotions. Just like in yoga, the less flexible people may actually get a more satisfying stretch than people who are so flexible they can go all the way down to the floor and still not feel something.

    I don't know if I've gotten carried away and said anything like that, but I'm not trying to say I think people should actively pursue discomfort. I'm saying I think people should move toward the discomfort that comes up, lean into it and face it, rather than instinctively shrinking away from it or trying to tame it. It's actually in the shrinking away and trying to numb or control feelings that a lot of addictions begin. Though some people have lived through such terrible trauma that I think it would probably be almost impossible to go into those feelings in their full force right away. But they eventually have to be felt and dealt with, piece by piece.

    Buddha didn't try to convince Angulimala how beautiful life would be as a married man or a monk or whatever else. Buddha let Angulimala chase him until Angulimala became exhausted with the effort, and in that exhaustion, had a window to see the folly of what he was doing, to see the emotional wave of his seeking purchase on another life hanging unresolved in the air. Buddha stepped into that window of time and energy and used some turning words to help Angulimala catch himself in an extreme state of mind and experience the delusion in it. Buddha let Angulimala be in his discomfort and used that to wake him up. Because that's the thing - the darkness is not the act of killing, it's the psychological energy and dynamic driving that act. When you can stop that struggle to control a state of mind by trying to make it go away, by acting on a compulsion or whatever else, when you can be with the state of mind driving the compulsion, it is easier not to act on it. That is what I mean by making friends with the demon. Does anyone think I'm actually saying that people should go around acting on all their darkest impulses? No, but for the people who already have a problem acting on dark impulses, the same rules apply.

    One of the images on my desk is a picture of the Buddha under the Bodhi tree, with the armies of Mara depicted playing out their battles, confrontations, and temptations around his head. The Buddha certainly didn't slay the demon, nor did he jump in or get sucked into the fray, but he sat there, through all of it; he didn't get up until it had all played out and was over. In modern Buddhism, I see a lot of people seeking validation for their desire not to have to experience certain states or situations, not to sit under that Bodhi tree until it's all over, and a lot of teachers playing to that. Think about what the early Buddhist monks did - walk away from family, home, and society, to live in the forest among tigers and bandits, to sit at charnel grounds and never know where their next meal is coming from.

    As for any need of mine for validation - like all human beings, including you, I undoubtedly seek it sometimes, but that is not what I am doing here. What I'm really after is inspiration, and part of that is figuring out what the things are that bug me or don't inspire me and why that is, so I know where to look and what to look for in a teacher and in my own life.

  8. #8
    Seeking inspiration is a trap.


    Sent from tapatalk
    [size=150:m8cet5u6]??[/size:m8cet5u6] We are involved in a life that passes understanding and our highest business is our daily life---John Cage

  9. #9
    disastermouse
    Guest
    Quote Originally Posted by Eika View Post
    Seeking inspiration is a trap.


    Sent from tapatalk
    Such a hardcore zen punk rocker!

    Seeking zazen may be a trap. Is spontaneously finding it also a trap?

    The Buddha didn't pursue wealth, but he also didn't turn down gifts. Nor did Dogen.

    Also: wrong thread.

    Chet
    Last edited by disastermouse; 10-27-2012 at 07:33 PM.

  10. #10
    Stephanie said "what I'm really after is inspiration." Sounds like seeking to me.

    Eika


    Sent from tapatalk
    [size=150:m8cet5u6]??[/size:m8cet5u6] We are involved in a life that passes understanding and our highest business is our daily life---John Cage

  11. #11
    Being inspired is awesome--many benefits--but seeking it . . .


    Sent from tapatalk
    [size=150:m8cet5u6]??[/size:m8cet5u6] We are involved in a life that passes understanding and our highest business is our daily life---John Cage

  12. #12
    Quote Originally Posted by Stephanie View Post
    Thanks for your reply.

    If I've learned anything, it's that to bring light to darkness, you have to fully be in darkness. There's a lot of things that doesn't mean - including acting on destructive impulses and taking yourself past a point of no return. But you can't learn how to fearlessly be with those states if you hedge your bets, and shield yourself, and say, well, I can handle this much, but then once it gets to this point, I'm going to turn and run. ...

    For me, every day, there are situations I don't want to be in, that make me uncomfortable, and one thing I practice is experiencing that edge and moving into it instead of shrinking away, whenever I'm aware enough to notice it.
    Once again, if that is the way for you ... fine.

    Many Buddhist schools were (and still are) about abandoning emotions, hitting the 'off' switch, cooling the passions and desires. Later, the Mahayana, and especially Zen (many Vajrayana flavors too) became more about seeing through and not being trapped by the emotions, excess, passions and desires. There is not necessarily only one right way to do so, suitable for all.

    My only concern is that, in seeing the "darkness", you find the Light (big "L") that shines in/as/through-and-through the darkest dark or lightest light. One might drop the harmful emotions, or run deeply into them as you describe ... no matter,either way may be fine for different folks. But if one is not Liberated from darkness, even amid darkness, I think one is missing the point of this Buddhist enterprise.

    Unfortunately, maybe most of the addicts, suicidal, overwhelmed and violent folks you deal with in your job do not know that Light ... and I wish they did. It sounds, Stephanie, that in your work you are Kannon. I hope you can bring that Light to them.

    One of the first things you learn when studying to be a counselor is not to let your own agenda or reactions get in the way of your connecting with someone. It is our natural human reaction to try to stop or shut down states of mind in others that seem painful or scary. But that doesn't help. It's like aikido - not meeting force with resistance or force, with lecturing or judging or reactivity on your part, but being and working with that energy.
    Again, I have no problem with this ... so long as folks are simultaneously learning to see through the fiction of their painful and scary states of mind, and not merely wallowing or getting buried in them. For example, I never try to too quickly "shut down" someone who is depressed, grieving for a lost love one, addicted, normally angry or the like. Rather, I advise them that such emotions are natural, and they should just "sit with" such, allowing such. HOWEVER, they should not be their prisoner, chained by the emotions. The BOTTOM LINE is that, in the end, they must see through each, not buy into the 'mind theatre', be Liberated. I will "shut down" folks who seem to be wallowing, indulging, endlessly repeating behavior, running to extremes of excess, looking for confirmation and approval of their harmful behavior, trapped by the harmful emotions. If they are not wallowing in the mud, I do not "shut down".


    The best teachers I've worked with push students into their edges, not pull them back. I see a lot of reassuring and placating that goes on at Treeleaf. But it's not just Treeleaf I'm reacting to here. I've seen this in my own sanghas, in the pages of Tricycle and Shambhala Sun, in the Buddhist section of Barnes and Noble, in other social contexts where elements of 'Buddhism' are incorporated, like yoga centers and interfaith groups. There is so much of what I would call false reassurance.

    And why do I have a problem with it? Precisely because of how light has come into my own life, and how I see people, however few, who may have a capacity for a more total liberation led into pens and cages.
    I said during my Zazenkai Talk this week that, for my taste, Thich Nhat Hanh seems sometimes too sweet in his presentation, and Hakuin too harsh and aggressive. Taigu and I are somewhere between, but go to both poles when needed. HOWEVER, Thich Nhat Hanh, Hakuin and (hopefully some of the time) Taigu and I are effective for those who need that particular flavor and blend of the Dharma. Different prescriptions, in varying strengths of dosage, for different folks.

    Unfortunately, most "pens and cages" are within peoples' own minds, self-created of thoughts and emotions. That is why Dogen (who you describe elsewhere as "on the raw edge") and Hakuin too taught people in the ultimate "pen and cage", the prison-like environment of a monastery, encouraging ultimate emotional self-restraint and fixed routine from their monks. A monks life was not necessarily an uncomfortable or unpleasant lifestyle by the way (not compared to ordinary life centuries ago for the peasants, anyway) but there in radical confinement many found where the true prison is found, the passage through "life and death", and who holds the key.

    Buddha didn't try to convince Angulimala how beautiful life would be as a married man or a monk or whatever else. Buddha let Angulimala chase him until Angulimala became exhausted with the effort
    I am not sure of this interpretation. Buddha (the master of masters of self restraint) had Angulimala make a pretty sharp turn into life under the Vinaya, dropping his violent ways for that of an Indian monk. I don't think the Buddha encouraged Angulimala to go deeply into his violent and dark side even for a moment, so much as completely turn away.

    Gassho, Jundo
    Last edited by Jundo; 10-29-2012 at 03:31 AM.
    ALL OF LIFE IS OUR TEMPLE

  13. #13
    By the way, here is the Angyulimala Sutta ...

    http://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipit....086.than.html

    And at that time in King Pasenadi's realm there was a bandit named Angulimala: brutal, bloody-handed, devoted to killing & slaying, showing no mercy to living beings. He turned villages into non-villages, towns into non-towns, settled countryside into unsettled countryside. Having repeatedly killed human beings, he wore a garland (mala) made of fingers (anguli).

    ...

    Then Angulimala saw the Blessed One coming from afar and on seeing him, this thought occurred to him: "Isn't it amazing! Isn't it astounding! Groups of ten, twenty, thirty, & forty men have gone along this road, and even they have fallen into my hands, and yet now this contemplative comes attacking, as it were, alone and without a companion. Why don't I kill him?" So Angulimala, taking up his sword & shield, buckling on his bow & quiver, followed right behind the Blessed One. .... But now, even though I'm running with all my might, I can't catch up with this contemplative walking at normal pace." So he stopped and called out to the Blessed One, "Stop, contemplative! Stop!"

    "I have stopped, Angulimala. You stop." ...

    "I have stopped, Angulimala,
    once & for all,
    having cast off violence
    toward all living beings.
    You, though,
    are unrestrained toward beings.
    That's how I've stopped
    and you haven't."
    That is a pretty standard South Asian take on things. I am more for Stephen Batchelors "living with the devil" view (a wonderful book if you have not read it). Batchelor from an interview ...

    'But the early tradition did preserve the sense that the Buddha exists in a constant tension with this counter-image, or shadow, called Mara, which I understand as his own conflicted humanity. That leads to my point - which is not at all orthodox - that Mara never goes away. Although the Buddha achieved a certain freedom, Mara was still around, whispering in his ear. But I don't have any sense that the Buddha was troubled by this. He was subject to temptation, you might say, subject to thoughts and feelings arising in his mind that we might call "self-doubt". ...

    'You lose sight of the Buddha when you delete Mara, because you lose sight of that part of the Buddha with which you can identify. You can see yourself in Mara much more easily than in the Buddha. And yet if you bring these two split-off parts back into a single image, the Buddha becomes humanised while Mara paradoxically becomes 'Buddha-ised'. In this sense, Mara is not just a problem, Mara is necessary for Enlightenment to happen. Mara is the problem without which there would be no solution.

    ... 'To me the Buddha and the devil, or Mara, are two modes of a single organism. The Buddha is the capacity of that organism to open, Mara is its capacity to shut down. And that is non-dualistic because there's only the one organism, the human being. Traditional Buddhism has succumbed to a dualism, that the Buddha is good, Mara is bad. The Buddha is perfectly good; in his idealised perfection, he is no longer quite human. Mara is this figure the Buddha overcomes. Good and evil are split off from one another in orthodox Buddhism.'


    http://www.dharmalife.com/issue25/devil.html
    Last edited by Jundo; 10-28-2012 at 01:48 PM.
    ALL OF LIFE IS OUR TEMPLE

  14. #14
    This thread is too intellectual for me to understand.

    Gassho,

    JC

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