‘Call forth as much as you can of love, of respect and of faith!
Remove the obstructing defilements and clear away all your taints!
Listen to the Perfect Wisdom of the gentle Buddhas,
Taught for the weal of the world,
for heroic spirits intended!’
from Ratnagunasamchayagatha sutta
This morning I was reflecting on how one event could trigger such a range of emotional responses around the world. Some people would be waking up this morning feeling deep joy, excitement and a potential for freedom from their suffering and others are burdened with a gut wrenching sense of despair, worry and fear. And of course there exists the whole a range of emotions in between. Same event- different personal experience. All responses coming from the same human wish to be happy and avoid suffering.
That wish is what all human beings have in common and its where we can find connection.
When I open myself up to the perfect wisdom of the gentle Buddhas at times like this the Dhammapada provides the balm.
‘For hatred can never put an end to hatred; love alone can.
This is an unalterable law.’
And then the poet Auden reminds me …
All I have is a voice
To undo the folded lie,
The romantic lie in the brain
Of the sensual man-in-the-street
And the lie of Authority
Whose buildings grope the sky:
There is no such thing as the State
And no one exists alone;
Hunger allows no choice
To the citizen or the police;
We must love one another or die.
Defenceless under the night
Our world in stupor lies;
Yet, dotted everywhere,
Ironic points of light
Flash out wherever the Just
Exchange their messages:
May I, composed like them
Of Eros and of dust,
Beleaguered by the same
Negation and despair,
Show an affirming flame.
–Wystan Hugh Auden, September 1, 1939 (excerpt)
There is the inner voice, the outer voice and the voice that goes on even after one’s death.
I know I need to pay attention to my inner voice, listen compassionately to what it is saying, what it needs, turn towards it with kindness, and then let it have its expression in the world.
And perhaps then its outwardly expression has more chance of being in line with the advice from the Dhammapada…let love conquer hatred.
And of course that is a way for the voice and wisdom of the gentle Buddhas be heard long after we ourselves are gone.
November 10, 2016 at 11:50 am
Thank you so much – those verses and your comments come like a healing balm. As I struggle to understand the vote it best makes sense to me as folk in America (White non college educated as the research words it) who feel they are not listened to and their concerns ignored for too long by those they see as the establishment. How their voices and concerns can beet with love rather than aggression and divisiveness is another matter. I do see links between this vote and our own brexit vote so it is much wider than simply an American issue xx
November 10, 2016 at 7:16 pm
Yes trying to exchange self for other to see their possible reasons and needs help start the process for metta to arise. ❤️
November 10, 2016 at 5:15 pm
Thank you Maitripala you have put into words what I could only expresss in terms of deep vulnerability for all. Thank you for reminding me of these words in the Dhammapada and for the poem of Auden which seems to have written for what has happened recently.
November 10, 2016 at 7:15 pm
Yes the teachings can be a balm.❤️