Saturday, December 20, 2008

The Eternal Law

When we hold fast to such thoughts as,

“They abused me, mistreated me,

molested me, robbed me,”

we keep hatred alive.

If we thoroughly release ourselves

From such thoughts as,

“They abused me, mistreated me,

molested me, robbed me,”

hatred is vanquished.

Never by hatred is hatred conquered,

but by readiness to love alone.

This is eternal law.

(Verses 3, 4, & 5 from the Dhammapada)

To return hostility to another is a common human response, but it is also indicative of extreme ignorance and suffering. Who is the other but a suffering being, caught in delusion? To fight hate with hate is to be lost amongst the lost. Slowing the mind through meditation practice, so that even when not sitting we can still catch hateful thoughts as they arise, is to begin to release ourselves from their grip. Then, we can return hostility with the love of a peaceful heart, transforming the moment into something much more beautiful. May all beings be happy!

(The above extracts are from a translation of the Dhammapada by Ajahn Munindo, and can be downloaded from the following link:

A Dhammapada for Contemplation))


Alia said...

Thank you. I'm currently dealing with this right now. As angry as I am with certain people, I know in my heart that it won't solve anything, and only cause more suffering if I act on my anger. Knowing this makes hating them a little harder.

Barry said...

In my own self-examination on this, I discover that my feelings have nothing - nothing - to do with "external" people, actions, or events.

I am responsible for my own feelings.

This is actually very good news, because it means that I'm also responsible for my own happiness and well-being.

G said...

Yes, acting on anger brings confrontation & conflict, Inner Oddness. It's so good that you have the insight that working with angry emotions is far superior than acting them out.

Barry, knowing that we're responsible for our own feelings means that we're empowered to do something about them, doesn't it? This is where meditation & reflection come in, giving us the tools to transcend self-created suffering. Good news, indeed!

Thanks for the great comments,

JD said...

It's tough for me to always live up to this on the level of thoughts at least. I believe we in the West are literally in a clash of civilizations with societies and cultures that don't wish for peace at all and that are at the very least totally diametrically opposed to our way of life. Why even try to understand them? That is my worldview at least, however, the Dhamma allows me to see these thoughts and views for what they are and not to act on them. They do bring much suffering. Thanks for the reminder that the Buddha was not in favor of violence at all.

G said...

Living on the level of thoughts certainly has its consequences, doesn't it? Look at the class of cultures you write about, Justin - attachments to thoughts (and emotions) of what we are; Israeli/Arab, Jewish/Muslim, Republican/Democrat, ad infinitum.

Separating awareness from its contents and seeing them as processes arising in consciousness can help put thoughts in their place. Thoughts are important as tools to live in this world as human beings. And yet, there is another side to life that the Buddha pointed to: the unconditioned and concept-free Deathless.

As you write, Justin, the Dharma helps us to see thoughts and views for what they are. Allowing them to dissolve into the void, we can loosen the bonds that tie us to a concept-ridden life. The Dharma is the light that leads us to this state of 'no-mind' (acitta).