I apologize for yesterday’s post. I was wrong in making a causal link between political vitriolics and the events in Tuscon. I spoke from a very narrow perspective and may have contributed to the very polarization I so abhor. I briefly forgot a key Buddhist guidelines for ethical living — ‘right speech’ — which is said to help liberate us from ignorance and isolation.
In Mind in a Dew Drop, Japanese Zen teacher Dogen (1200-1253) explains how ‘kind speech’ contributes to living in harmony with all beings.
Kind speech … is contrary to cruel or violent speech …. You should be willing to practice it for this entire present life; do not give up, world after world, life after life. … You should know that kind speech arises from kind mind, and kind mind from the seed of compassionate mind …
I felt restless all day until, during evening meditation, I tapped the source of this discomfort. Pointing out others’ flaws takes no special skills, I realized with a blush. What require skill and practice, I also realized, is to remain silent when strong emotions block clear thinking. Focusing on others’ hate speech saved me from acknowledging my own capacity for anger and ill will — it also prevented me from feeling the sadness within myself and for the people in Arizona. It insulated me, if only for part of a day, from that helplessness that arises whenever I come up against the many forms of cruelty we’re all capable of.
image: source unknown