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When Life is Difficult

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Most of Tibet is above the tree line. It’s so high that it’s a really different kind of world there, nothing grows there. It’s very clean and dry. They live very primitive lives; they don’t have lots of convenience. This is a different world than we know.

We don’t live in caves. We live in giant cement boxes stacked on top of each other. We live in our metal moving things. We spend time with electronic devices connected to our head. This is our life, and it’s really amazing. It doesn’t matter if you live in a very remote, very unpopulated high land place where you live in caves, or you live in lowland semi-tropical urban jungles, where you have to fight traffic every day. It doesn’t really matter. It isn’t really cultural. The Buddha Darma doesn’t depend on what clothes you wear, though lots of people make a big deal about clothes. The Buddha Darma doesn’t care about the language you speak. What really matters is kindness. Kindness. And kindness is difficult, though some of us have a natural tendency to be kind, or we’re kind because nothing is bothering us. But to really be kind is very difficult, because things in life are unpredictable. Things in life are uncontrollable and we have an emotional reaction if someone says something we don’t like. We can’t be kind. If someone behaves in a way we disapprove of, we can’t be kind. If we are a little bit concerned about our reputation we might not show that we are unkind on our face, but inside our mind we are very judgmental and rejecting.

So we can’t be kind, we’re not capable, we’re only capable of being kind to the people that fit our criteria. Maybe they treat us right or maybe they’re handsome. This kind of limitation in our own mind in our own emotional constitution, in our own cumulative history, all of these things prevent us from being authentically kind, kind without prejudice, kind to everyone, whether they are nice to you or not nice to you, handsome or not handsome, whether they are able to be beneficial to you or not. So therein lies a great problem for us. The way that our mind works justifies and rationalizes hurting and harming others for our own reasons. Hurting and harming might be kind of a harsh way to say, you might say, “Well I don’t hurt people. I don’t chop people’s heads off. I don’t do this sort of bad thing in life.” But hurting and harming others can be very musical and it’s simply a matter of preference and rejection that we practice: preferring who to be kind to and rejecting who to not be kind to.

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