the true enemy…

The other person is not our enemy.
Our enemies are misunderstanding,
discrimination, violence, hatred,
and anger.
~
Thich Nhat Hanh

I love this teaching.  It is deceptively challenging.  On the face of it, most would probably agree (though some may not).  However, when put into practice, I think most of us will find we fall short of honoring these wise words.

In a time such as now, when so much feels at stake and emotions are heightened (and for good reason), the easier path is to assign blame to one person or a group of people and go in for the kill.  It is easier to have a face to direct our anger, our grief, our confusion.  It even feels good!  However good this feels in the short term, and however much it may motivate and seem to contribute to a resolution, in the long run it remains a delusion and contributes to cyclical suffering, fueling the very enemies we are working to defeat.

We will only be successful in our struggle, in this movement, when our motivation to act is fueled by a fierce compassion, born of a love that seeks the end of suffering for all beings, even those who act in harmful ways and contribute to the suffering we are fighting to liberate from.

This is the challenge of our time.  In an era where we seek targets to blame and scapegoats for our suffering, can we with fierce compassion, work for the very solid cause of defeating fascism, defeating racism, defeating homophobia and transphobia, defeating policies that dismiss the poor, the sick, the elderly?  Can we do this without demonizing individuals, even as we tirelessly work for their removal from positions of power, and work against the harmful policies and suffering their ideology causes?  Buddhism and other contemplative practices say we can.  And in fact, when we do we are honoring our true nature and not adding to the suffering.  When we act out of fierce compassion, born from love, we upend the true enemies we seek to defeat: confusion, discrimination, violence, hatred, and anger.  And in doing so, we are planting seeds toward the long arc, contributing to the end of suffering for all people.  Then we are acting as bodhisattvas in this world.  And this world, especially now, needs as many bodhisattvas as it can get.

We begin with our own hearts.

~j
05.19.17

luminous beings…

 

a little late, but…
May The Fourth Be With You!

much needed after today, here are some favorite Force and wisdom quotes from Star Wars:

“It’s an energy field created by all living things.  It surrounds us and penetrates us; it binds the galaxy together.” ~ Obi-Wan Kenobi

“Luminous beings are we. Not this crude matter.” ~ Yoda

“Close your eyes.  Feel it.  The light…it’s always been there.  It will guide you.” ~ Maz Kanata

“I’m one with the Force.  The Force is with me.” ~ Chirrut Imwe

“Train yourself to let go of everything you fear to lose.” ~ Yoda

“Fear leads to anger, anger leads to hate, hate leads to suffering.” ~ Yoda

“To answer power with power, the Jedi way this is not.  In this war, a danger there is, of losing who we are.” ~ Yoda

do what you can, where you are…

this quote from The Quran, now in the spotlight due to the Oscar win for the Netflix documentary The White Helmets, is profound.

none of us can save all of humanity, but a life at a time can be saved. a good deed, act of compassion and kindness, can have a deep and resonating beneficial effect beyond what we can see or know.

do what you can, where you are.

The White Helmets dive into the very real danger of war ravaged Syria, rescuing Syrians from the relentless bombardment of bombs and weapons. 154 White Helmets have been killed saving lives.

may their work be blessed and may their mission be supported by all of us.

~j

let it sink in…

contemplating the heavy irony of a day where people marched “for life” and a supportive President then turned his back and slammed the door on millions of lives.  a day where we remember the Holocaust, where Jews were turned away from the safe shores of foreign land, returned to pain, suffering and for many – so many, death. and now we do the same.
our Muslim sisters and brothers have been the greatest sufferers at the hands of extremists, of radicals, and fundamentalists.  my heart breaks for the dear Syrian brothers and sisters, who have been victimized by their leader, victimized by Daesh, victimized by Russian bombings, ignored by the West, and now turned from our shores victimized once again.
nearly 500,000 Syrians have died in the Syrian war. let that sink in.
 
to turn our backs on some people is to turn our backs on all people. it is a delusion to think that we are separate and that we can move forward in such ignorance and darkness.  there is no Christ in this, not one that I recognize.
 
please join me in supporting International Rescue Committee and other refugee support groups.  let’s put our voices, feet, and money (small or big) to work where our leadership has failed.
 
my hope is in life itself, the ground of being, the love that underlies even the most fearful, angry, dark, and chaotic of places.
 
may all beings be free from suffering.
~j
 
#Resist #StayWoke #TheLongArc #PlantingSeeds #LoveWins #Bodhisattva #OffTheCushionIntoTheWorld #FierceCompassion