May I be the doctor and the medicine,
and may I be the nurse,
for all sick beings in the world
until every one is healed.
May I be a protector to the helpless,
a guide for all travelers on the way;
a boat, a bridge, a raft
for all those who wish to cross over.
May I be an island for those who seek one,
and a lamp for those in darkness.
May I be a bed for all those who wish to rest,
and a servant for the world.
Everyone trembles at violence, all fear death.
So compare yourself with others,
And do no harm nor violence.
Hate will never cease by hatred in this world –
By love will hatred cease.
This is an eternal Law.
I sometimes wonder – is even pushing Facebook’s “angry emoji”, an act of aggression?
Don’t Worry …
A spy awaiting a possible death sentence seems to be the most relaxed person in the room. His defense lawyer asks him:
“Do you never worry?”
“Would it help?” he replies calmly.
From the movie “Bridge of Spies”
This became a meme of the year …
(the actor got an Oscar for the role, based on true events)
I’ve had a lot of worries in my life,
most of which never happened
“So do not worry about tomorrow;
for tomorrow will care for itself.
Each day has enough trouble of its own.”
If there’s a remedy when trouble strikes,
What reason is there for dejection?
And if there is no help for it,
What use is there in being glum?
You are not bound by appearances –
But by grasping at them.
Quotes like these are very powerful reminders of mindfulness of our own state of mind. But you may ask: “Would it help?” …
So I wonder:
- Does worry or anger actually help?
- Has anger ever created anything good in this world?
- Does speaking with anger from seeing anger make me a hypocrite?
- Do I have a choice? Another way of dealing with it?
- Does even the most powerful person in the world, really have the power to creep into my mind and push my buttons?
- If not, who’s pushing whose? And why?
Not talking about suppression, suggesting that anger should not arise – of course we get worried or angry when we see injustice, bigotry, hypocrisy, aggression, and what not.
But “Does it help?” and “Why am I not able to let it go?”
Not talking about being passive either, only:
Why should I act and speak with anger, when I have so many other and better options?
I like to think that it would be better if I reflect, speak, and act with dignity, love, wisdom, and sense of humor, instead of lashing out when a strong emotion arise. How others act, I can’t control.
Wanting to change others, is a sure way to create ones own suffering.
I get inspired by Obamas, Dalai Lama, and masters of past and present.
Sometimes even reading things on Facebook makes me angry. But does it help?
… Be Happy …
And so let beings do to me
Whatever does not bring them injury.
Whenever they may think of me,
Let this not fail to bring them benefit.
All those who slight me to my face
Or do to me some other evil,
Even if they blame or slander me,
May they attain the fortune of enlightenment!
Habits are difficult to change, but also totally dependent on how I think and act. So are relations – an enemy may become a friend, and a friend an enemy. Both depending on how I think, speak and act – including body language and writings.
If I have an enemy,
I wish him to be enlightened as soon as possible.
Because then he will never bother me again.
Not that I believe that my good wishes actually will benefit anyone, but angry thoughts won’t hurt or stop anyone either.
On the flip side, if I’m angry I will feel bad, and people will not feel good being around me either. The person I’m angry at wouldn’t even know or care. But if step back and wish them well, it will stop bothering me, and close ones will feel better too.
It’s already bad –
Getting angry about it,
Only makes it worse.
Enemies here, means anyone or anything we don’t like, who makes us angry, or even just slightly annoyed. The real enemy of course, is our own fixed opinions and emotions. No one can make us angry really – except our selves.
We could be non-violent with the body,
While speech is filled with anger.
We could be speaking gentle words,
While hatred fume inside.
Real non-violence starts with mental attitude. Just look at the examples of Ghandi, Martin Luther King, The Dalai Lama, Thich Nhat Hanh, and others. They achieved great things, and not because they were fueled by anger.
Holding on to anger is like drinking poison and hoping the other person will die.
You Humans …
“… How do you know right from wrong?”
“Every being in the universe knows right from wrong … “
“You humans – most of you, subscribe to this policy of ‘an eye for an eye, a life for a life’, which is known throughout the universe for its stupidity.”
“Even your Buddha and your Christ had quite a different vision, but nobody’s paid much attention to them, not even the Buddhists or the Christians.”
“You humans – sometimes it’s hard to imagine how you’ve made it this far.”
— Quotes from “K-Pax” movie
Another kind of love
Again and again the smiling face of
My beloved comes to mind.
If I only could meditate upon the dharma
As intensely as I muse on my beloved,
I would surely attain awakening in this lifetime.
Tsangyang Gyatsho, the 6th Dalai Lama
Desire and attachment to people we like or have fallen in love with, is probably the most dominating emotion we humans have. But it’s a mixed blessing. If we don’t get the one we love or loose them, we feel miserable, sad, jealous or even angry. And when we finally meet and get together, we find flaws with this person that seemed so perfect and lovely from afar. And even when “living happily ever after”, one day – we all have to part.
When in love and longing for encounter,
Do I really love someone,
Or am I just possessed with memories?
She isn’t even in the room yet,
So how can this be more than dreams?
The concept of being in love, is loaded with lots of hope and fear. It’s very far from altruistic love, which is free from the involvement of self. That is a much more stable and innate feeling of deeply caring for one another, like a mother caring for her child. But when hope and fear, jealousy, disappointment, resentment, and the rest pops up, love becomes “polluted”. We all know how that feels – it’s not so nice anymore, cause now it’s mixed with clinging to a self.
“I wish you were more jealous, so I know you really love me.”
she told her husband.
“Oh, so you want me to yell at you or beat you if you speak or dance with other men?” he replied.
”No of course not, just a little bit jealous would be nice.” she said.
“But if some jealousy is good, wouldn’t more be better?” …
Jealousy is one of the ugliest and painful emotions we can have. It’s also one of the most useless emotions even from ego’s point of view, because we don’t gain anything from it, it only causes misery.
It’s also often based on a kind of paranoia, imagining things didn’t even happened. Some times that’s obvious, like after having a bad dream:
“What’s wrong?” the husband asked.
“Nothing!” she sternly spoke.
“But you look a bit upset, what is it? Did I do something wrong?”
“No I’m fine, it’s nothing!” she said.
“Please tell me! I can see you’re not happy” he tried.
“OK then! I had a bad dream – I dreamt you were with another woman.”
“Oh – I’m so sorry, I will never do it again” he teased her.
I believe what we normally call love, is often based on pure love, but with additional “impurities” of attachment, expectations, hope and fear. These impurities is what can make love poisonous. But pure love is different, since it’s based on genuine concern for the other person, free from expectations and opinions.
This is quite difficult to achieve in relationships, but nevertheless people do develop very caring love for each other, both in families and communities. Relationships can even grow stronger after clashes, if the parties are able to apologize, forgive, learn and move on. So reflecting like this, it’s easy to see when love is genuine, or when I start adding “poison” …
If I really loved her,
Why would’t I be happy,
If she later found another man?
And when the day of departure finally comes, after living happily together, most beings experiences great sadness.
You cannot prevent the birds of sorrow from flying over your head,
But you don’t need to let them build a nests in your hair.
The only thing we know for sure in this life, is that one day everyone will meet with death. The only thing we don’t know is when. Many people choose to live in denial. It’s not a pleasant theme, and just the thought of it my make us shrug. Even who will die first, you or me, we don’t know. But when it happen, we get gripped by great sadness for a while.
We have all experienced the loss of loved ones, family members, close friends, or pets. And it’s the one of the saddest thing in life, but denial doesn’t really help. Actually, reflecting on impermanence and death, which is the most natural events in life, is very helpful.
It’s better to fear death now,
And be fearless at the moment of death.
Than the other way around …
This quote is’t really asking us to be scared of death all the time, on the contrary. It just points at relating to death in a down to earth manner, and getting used to the idea. It is in fact, the most natural thing in life. This itself could be enough to reduce fears and sorrow, and also help us to appreciate life and not wasting time in useless pursuits.
Dealing with emotions
Emotions are hard to handle, they are also deeply ingrained with habits, so not easy to change. Reflecting on words of wisdom is very helpful, but once or twice is probably not enough, repetition is always emphasized.
In order to feel the teachings deep down, the Dharma needs to take root in your unconscious mind. Only then can the Dharma grow from the inside out and be true nourishment for how you live. I think this takes a lot of repetition …
It’s the same as conceptually understanding the View and then meditating on it. It takes many, many, many years until it becomes part of you …
First you contemplate and then you rest in the View …
Nevertheless, just reading an anecdote or a some lines of wisdom in the morning, can set us in a different mode throughout the day.
I don’t think there are anything in the world that can’t be utilized into practice as useful life experience. Often people find wise ways to deal with dire straits and emotions on their own, even without knowing anything about the Dharma.
All the bad news we hear these days, could also give us even more inspiration to sit down on the cushion, or do longer retreats. Sometimes we need to give ourselves a break …
Who knows what the future may bring
An enemy may become a friend,
and a friend an enemy,
depending on how I think, speak and act.
Who knows what the future may bring, but it depends very much on my aspirations, and how I reflect and behave today.
If you want to know about your past,
Look at who you are now.
If you want to know about your future,
See what you are doing right now.
And who really knows who’s whom?
Who’s this person really – that I call myself?
“Next life? I don’t know –
Maybe I’ll come back as
a beautiful African woman … “
— Dalai Lama
And by the way:
The world doesn’t need more Buddhists –
Only more good people!
Anyone with calm, kind and clear open minds.