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Those Who Risk Everything: Noble May 5, 2015

Tuesday, May 5, 2015

 

Those Who Risk Everything:  Noble

 

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Meditation and Anger September 20, 2011

Filed under: Buddhism,healing,inspiration,peace,Vietnam — Karen Shafer @ 11:12 pm

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

 

Meditation and Anger

 

To sit [in meditation] is not enough.  We have to be at the same time.  To be what?  To be is to be a something, you cannot be a nothing.  To eat, you have to eat something, you cannot just eat nothing.  To be aware is to be aware of something.  To be angry is to be angry at something.  So to be is to be something, and that something is what is going on:  in your body, in your mind, in your feelings, and in the world.

 

While sitting, you sit and you are.  You are what?  You are breathing.  Not only the one who breathes — you are the breathing and the smiling.  It is like a television set of one million channels.  When you turn the breathing on, you are the breathing.  When you turn the irritation on, you are the irritation.  You are one with it.  Irritation and breathing are not things outside of you.  You contemplate them in them, because you are one with them.

 

If I have a feeling of anger, how would I meditate on that?  How would I deal with it, as a Buddhist, or as an intelligent person?  I would not look upon anger as something foreign to me that I have to fight, to have surgery in order to remove it.  I know the anger is me, and I am anger.  Non-duality, not two.  I have to deal with my anger with care, with love, with tenderness, with nonviolence.  Because anger is me, I have to tend my anger as I would tend a younger brother or sister, with love, with care, because I myself am anger, I am in it, I am it.  In Buddhism we do not consider anger, hatred, greed as enemies we have to fight, to destroy, to annihilate.  If we annihilate anger, we annihilate ourselves.  Dealing with anger in that way would be like transforming yourself into a battlefield, tearing yourself into parts, one part taking the side of Buddha, and one part taking the side of Mara.  If you struggle in that way, you do violence to yourself.  If you cannot be compassionate to yourself, you will not be able to be compassionate to others.  When we get angry, we have to produce awareness:  “I am angry.  Anger is in me.  I am anger.”  That is the first thing to do.

 

In the case of a minor irritation, the recognition of the presence of the irritation, along with a smile and a few breaths will usually be enough to transform the irritation into something more positive, like forgiveness, understanding, and love.  Irritation is a destructive energy.  We cannot destroy the energy;  we can only convert it into a more constructive energy.  Forgiveness is a constructive energy.  Understanding is a constructive energy.  Suppose you are in the desert, and you only have one glass of muddy water.  You have to transform the muddy water into clear water to drink, you cannot just throw it away.  So you let it settle for a while, and clear water will appear.  In the same way, we have to convert anger into some kind of energy that is more constructive, because anger is you.  Without anger you have nothing left.  That is the work of meditation.

 

                                                                                             ~~ Thich Nhat Hanh, Being Peace


 

Please Call Me By My True Names February 8, 2010

Monday, February 8, 2010

My good friend, Nancy Johnson, just sent me this poem by Thich Nhat Hanh, one of my two or three favorite sages, and the only one who is still living.  I want to share it with you.  The thing about Thich is, he himself has lived through hell-on-earth during the Vietnam War era, yet has always been and remains a man of peace.  What an inspiration.  KS

Please Call Me by My True Names
by Thich Nhat Hanh
Thich Nhat Hanh, Thich Nhat Hanh poetry, Buddhist, Buddhist poetry, Zen / Chan poetry, [TRADITION SUB2] poetry,  poetry

Don’t say that I will depart tomorrow —
even today I am still arriving.

Look deeply: every second I am arriving
to be a bud on a Spring branch,
to be a tiny bird, with still-fragile wings,
learning to sing in my new nest,
to be a caterpillar in the heart of a flower,
to be a jewel hiding itself in a stone.

I still arrive, in order to laugh and to cry,
to fear and to hope.

The rhythm of my heart is the birth and death
of all that is alive.

I am the mayfly metamorphosing
on the surface of the river.
And I am the bird
that swoops down to swallow the mayfly.

I am the frog swimming happily
in the clear water of a pond.
And I am the grass-snake
that silently feeds itself on the frog.

I am the child in Uganda, all skin and bones,
my legs as thin as bamboo sticks.
And I am the arms merchant,
selling deadly weapons to Uganda.

I am the twelve-year-old girl,
refugee on a small boat,
who throws herself into the ocean
after being raped by a sea pirate.
And I am the pirate,
my heart not yet capable
of seeing and loving.

I am a member of the politburo,
with plenty of power in my hands.
And I am the man who has to pay
his “debt of blood” to my people
dying slowly in a forced-labor camp.

My joy is like Spring, so warm
it makes flowers bloom all over the Earth.
My pain is like a river of tears,
so vast it fills the four oceans.

Please call me by my true names,
so I can hear all my cries and my laughter at once,
so I can see that my joy and pain are one.

Please call me by my true names,
so I can wake up,
and so the door of my heart
can be left open,
the door of compassion.

1989

 

Profiting From Suffering January 24, 2009

Saturday, January 24, 2009

 

Profiting From Suffering


“Aware of the suffering caused by exploitation, social injustice, stealing, and oppression, we are committed to cultivating loving kindness and learning ways to work for the well-being of people, animals, plants, and minerals.  We will practice generosity by sharing our time, energy, and material resources with those who are in need.  We are determined not to steal and not to possess anything that should belong to others.  We will respect the property of others, but will try to prevent others from profiting from human suffering or the suffering of other beings.”


~~Thirteenth precept of the Tiep Hien Order of Buddhism (the Order of Interbeing), founded in Vietnam during the war, from Thich Nhat Hanh’s book, Being Peace.


Question:  Is it profiting from the suffering of others when people are ticketed and arrested simply for being homeless, based on the theory that businesses downtown will only grow if homeless people are not around?  KS

 

Practices for Mindful Living October 13, 2008

Filed under: Buddhism,healing,inspiration,Leadership,peace,Vietnam — Karen Shafer @ 3:56 pm

Monday, October 13, 2008

 

A few of Thich Nhat Hanh’s suggested practices for mindful living in our contemporary world:

 

“~~  Do not avoid contact with suffering or close your eyes before suffering.  Do not lose awareness of the existence of suffering in the life of the world.  Find ways to be with those who are suffering, by all means, including personal contact and visits, images, and sound.  By such means, awaken yourself and others to the reality of suffering in the world.

 

~~  Do not accumulate wealth while millions are hungry.  Do not take as the aim of your life fame, profit, wealth, or sensual pleasure.  Live simply and share time, energy, and material resources with those who are in need.

 

~~  Do not maintain anger or hatred.  Learn to penetrate and transform them while they are still seeds in your consciousness.  As soon as anger or hatred arises, turn your attention to your breathing in order to see and understand the nature of your anger or hatred and the nature of the persons who have caused your anger or hatred.

 

~~  Do not lose yourself in dispersion and in your surroundings.  Practice mindful breathing in order to come back to what is happening in the present moment.  Be in touch with what is wondrous, refreshing, and healing, both inside and around yourself.  Plant the seeds of joy, peace, and understanding in yourself in order to facilitate the work of transformation in the depths of your consciousness.

 

~~  Do not utter words that can create discord and cause the community to break.  Make every effort to reconcile and resolve all conflicts, however small.

 

~~  Do not say untruthful things for the sake of personal interest or to impress people.  Do not utter words that cause division and hatred.  Do not spread news that you do not know to be certain.  Do not criticize or condemn things that you are not sure of.  Always speak truthfully and constructively. Have the courage to speak out about situations of injustice, even when doing so may threaten your own safety.”

 

                                                                                        ~~Thich Nhat Hanh, Peace Is Every Step

 

Post Removed: Please Read Note August 4, 2008

Monday, August 4, 2008

 

From Thich Nhat Hanh:

       ~~Thich Nhat Hanh, Peace Is Every Step

 

[I am very sorry to report that I have had to remove this post about extreme poverty in other parts of the world because of continued and extremely objectionable spam it has generated coming into the spam blocker of this blog.  Although I never opened it, the tag words themselves were very offensive. You can read the quote that was here in Thich’s book above, under the essay entitled “Flowers and Garbage.”]   KS,  10/11/08

[Also see May 1, March 31, March 11, 2008, or click on ‘Buddhism’ under ‘Categories.’]

 

The Roots of War March 31, 2008

Filed under: and a little child shall lead them,Buddhism,peace,Vietnam — Karen Shafer @ 6:30 pm

Our youngest granddaughter, now three years old, was born in Vietnam. Knowing and loving her has given us all a special interest in this beautiful country and its history, as did coming of age during the Vietnam War.  KS

 

The Roots of War

“In 1966, when I was in the U.S. calling for a ceasefire to the war in Vietnam, a young American peace activist stood up during a talk I was giving and shouted, “The best thing you can do is go back to your country and defeat the American aggressors! You shouldn’t be here. There is absolutely no use to your being here!”

He and many Americans wanted peace, but the kind of peace they wanted was the defeat of one side in order to satisfy their anger. Because they had called for a ceasefire and had not succeeded, they became angry, and finally they were unable to accept any solution short of the defeat of their own country.

But we Vietnamese who were suffering under the bombs had to be more realistic. We wanted peace. We did not care about anyone’s victory or defeat. We just wanted the bombs to stop falling on us. But many people in the peace movement opposed our proposal for an immediate ceasefire. No one seemed to understand.

So when I heard that young man shouting, “Go home and defeat the American aggressors,” I took several deep breaths to regain myself, and I said, “Sir, it seems to me that many of the roots of the war are here in your country. That is why I have come. One of the roots is your way of seeing the world. Both sides are victims of a wrong policy, a policy that believes in the force of violence to settle problems. I do not want Vietnamese to die, and I do not want American soldiers to die either.”

The roots of war are in the way we live our daily lives — the way we develop our industries, build up our society, and consume goods. We have to look deeply into the situation, and we will see the roots of war. We cannot just blame one side or the other. We have to transcend the tendency to take sides.

During any conflict, we need people who can understand the suffering on all sides… We need links. We need communication.

Practicing nonviolence is first of all to become nonviolence. Then when a difficult situation presents itself, we will react in a way that will help the situation. This applies to the problems of the family as well as to problems of society.”

                                                                        ~~Thich Nhat Hanh, Peace Is Every Step, “The Roots of War”

[see previous entry from this author, “Meditation on Love,” 3/11/08]