The process of releasing toxic anger is essential if we are going to find peace and forgiveness within ourselves. At times, we might resist doing so, because we somehow feel “justified” in our anger. After all, the indignity with which we believe we were treated was unfair and perhaps even inhumane.
I get it. Having been savagely raped and beaten for more than an hour by four assailants, in 1983, certainly left me feeling violated and angry for many years. But there came a time when that anger no longer served me or any other purpose.
“What is anger?” an enlightened Teacher was once asked. His poignant and powerful response was, “Anger is a punishment we inflict upon ourselves for someone else’s mistake.”
Unconditional love is a path of service. It seeks nothing in return, and has no expectations or conditions placed on the recipient.
Author Stephen Kendrick once observed, “The only way love can last a lifetime is if it’s unconditional. The truth is this: love is not determined by the one being loved but rather by the one choosing to love.”
In this video, I share a few thoughts on why unconditional love is so important to your daily practice, and offer a challenge for those interested in cultivating a greater unconditional love for others, as part of their Zenkondo/Bodhisattva path.
“When you plant a seed of love it is you that blossoms.”
– Ma Jaya Sati Bhagavati
When we imagine that wisdom and compassion are somehow separate qualities we develop or adopt, we are caught up in delusion, for these two qualities are the essence of the Enlightened Mind itself.
If we attempt to cultivate wisdom, without compassion, we are left with meaningless platitudes and intellectual masturbation. The Tao tells us that without compassion, “(W)isdom degenerates into an escapist entanglement in concepts, theories and dogmas.” (In other words, wisdom without compassion degenerates into religion.)
Let’s face it, over the past twenty years or so, there have been a lot of articles written on being angry, ranging from those which assert that anger is wrong, or harmful, to those who recognise anger as a natural expression, born out of the dualistic mind. And a number of my Dharma students have asked me to comment on being angry from a Buddhist perspective.
I don’t encourage anyone, under any circumstances, to repress any emotion whatsoever. Now that doesn’t mean that that I encourage them to take action upon, nor to act out that anger. There is a difference.
Being mindful and aware of our emotions as they arise, we gently acknowlege: “Ah, this is anger. In my personal experience, when anger arises, I recall that whatever is not love is fear, and fear is the mind killer. And so I acknowledge that this emotion arises out of fear, and that there is nothing to really be afraid of, so I very gently let the emotion go.
A Reflection on Memorial Day from the Buddhist Perspective
What is Memorial Day from a Buddhist perspective? How do we observe a day that traditionally has become associated with honouring those who died in the service to their countries, when we recognise that the boundaries of wars and violent conflicts are delusional lines drawn in the sand of a broken mind? For me, as a spiritual teacher, and a contemplative practitioner, whose roots transcend denominationalism and religion itself, there must be a way to make skilful use of this day, like every other, and to bring some kind of witness to a suffering world.
Lately, I have had time to reflect quite a bit on illness, dis-ease, and on the role mindfulness plays in our own and others’ sicknesses.
For much of the past eighteen years, I’ve not awoken in anything less than debilitating pain, living with a burdensome fatigue, intense skin sensitivity that comes and goes for hours at a time, and intermittent, annoying fevers. Since the onset of this hypothyroid challenge, which I don’t believe is anything I will have to deal with longterm, all of these things have intensified.
A few years ago, I posted a question on Facebook, and asked how many people believed that Horus, one of the oldest gods of the ancient Egyptian religion — the Falcon-headed Avenger, was a real being. Fifty people commented saying, “Of course not.”
Speaking at a workshop after the film, “The Avengers”, I asked how many people there believed that Odin, Thor and Loki actually exist, 47 out of 49 people said they did not.
But there is a vast disconnect in the intelligence, rationality and spiritual maturity here in the West, where we are all too quick to suspend reason, and demand that the whole world believe a legend that has been shown time and time again, with empirical evidence sociologically, historically and anthropologically to have been an adaptation of the ancient legends of the “man-god” mythos.
When we allow the ego to stand between us and generating bodhicitta, we have created what my Root Guru calls, “karmic spaces”.
Sure, it’s risky to genuinely care about all sentient beings with a full and open heart. You run the risk of experiencing feelings that might hurt… disappointments that might sting… but with practice, it becomes easier to accept those things as they arise, because only when you have opened your heart, as only a Mother can, and accept all beings as entrusted to your tender care, can you truly know the kind of love… peace… and wholeness that is bourne out of Bodhicitta – the Mind of Enlightenment.
Ma Jaya taught, “We know we can use positive intent to visualize happiness and bring it towards us. However, intent becomes a karmic space when the ego gets between the thought and the action.”