“We should not strike other people for their mistakes. We should not look on people’s mistakes with hatred. In the words of an ancient, ‘When we do not see others’ wrongness or our rightness, we are naturally respected by seniors and admired by juniors.’ At the same time, we should not imitate the wrongs of others. We should practice our own virtue. The Buddha prevented wrongdoing, but not out of hatred.” ~ Dogen, Ju-Undo-Shiki (“Rules for the Hall of Heavy Cloud”), Shobogenzo, Book 1, page 38
Today (24 July 2013) after I read these words and as I was contemplating in our back yard, I heard an angry voice screaming “f&@* you” and “you $%^!head” among other things. We have a neighbor who routinely screams and verbally abuse people on the phone or in person. When she is enraged, her voice is very loud.
More than 10 years ago during one of her moments of rage, I started practicing metta (loving-kindness) and tonglen (Tibetan Great Compassion) for her. I’ve never told her this. I haven’t seen her change. However whenever she is screaming and I hear her, I right away silently practice metta and tonglen, and within a short time, she seems to become silent. I have no idea why.
I also don’t know anything about her history, what she experienced or why she suffers.
In my case, I grew up where making mistakes often resulted in my dad hitting or slapping me. He frequently verbally abused my mom and brother – with almost uncontrollable rage and anger. Sometimes the verbal abuse would become physical. My brother suffered greatly. I’ve not seen any picture of my brother with a smile on his face when he was young.
I didn’t want to treat any living being this way. Much later as an adult, I realized that even when I say or do nothing, as long as I expect either myself or another person to be perfect and as long as I judge any mistakes as unacceptable, I unconsciously emit intolerance. I am also intolerant of my own thoughts, feelings, words and actions. This state is a form of hatred.
On 3 December 2011, I sat in meditation, and during my sit, the following words came up on their own, composing themselves. I have shared these words in the past and included them in other writings:
“When we accept things as they are, right now and here, our hearts comprehend that we are complete and perfect in this moment. When we forgive what we think we are, right now and here, we understand that incompleteness is perfection. Neither do we have to escape nor fight. Time ceases. We return to a natural state of spaciousness and from such, our intuition will guide us for the right response – whether of action or restraint, with what is within or before us. This is the moment of liberation – happiness and joy will follow.”
Physical sitting is not a prerequisite to this understanding that is within reach in each moment and that becomes available with awareness.
(14 July 2013 by Daniel D. Woo)
Satiama would like to express our most heartfelt thanks and gratitude to Daniel Woo for his continued flow of amazing articles, for his assistance to and support of Satiama and for his lovely and open heart. We are most grateful for you, Daniel.