There’s a sutta* where Buddha says “Whatever harm an enemy may do to an enemy, or a hater to a hater, an ill-directed mind inflicts on oneself a greater harm.” He also says nothing can do “greater good than one’s own well-directed mind.” Earlier * he claims victimhood can’t still our hatred. How can hatred still hatred?
These blew my mind when I read them. OK. So… hate. Harm. Abuse. About that.
Success breeds criticism best. It could just be because you’re the second strongest man in the world. (In 2014 that was a gay man: Rob Kearney.) A gay man can be the world’s second strongest man, and anyone can be a victim. Hate affects us all. I got the hashtag me too t-shirt. I can count at least three different types of abuse. Bully for me. Does wearing the t-shirt still the waves of the sea in my brain? What about the ones in the world?
Buddha thinks that’s ultimately the same problem.
OK. Not sure what to make of that. But cutting the head off the snake of abuse has to include snuffing out the hatred inside of me at some point. But how? I think – therefore I am my thoughts! How can I stop being me? It was them! Why should I have to do a single thing? They have to be fixed! Not me!
Buddha’s answer to everything comes down to scenes in Matrix films: slow it down, watch it puddle in a heap of zeroes and ones. Step away unharmed. Watch Agent Smith’s shock and bafflement at reduced influence.
It’s a magic trick with pain and suffering. Being present in this very moment brings mindfulness. Mindfulness is Zen. Zen is Zazen. Zazen means sitting meditation. Sitting meditation is mindfulness of in / out breathing. “Mindfulness of in/out breathing brings practice to its culmination.” I can say that because Buddha said so *. What’s practice? Buddha’s whole eightfold route to freedom. Sound the bell and wake up.
Zen distills that trick using the muscle memory of Taoist alchemy. It’s not perfect. It got recognised as an effective weapon. Japanese military used it in WWII to train soldiers as better killing machines. It got abused itself but it’s a tool: it still works.
Centered there’s a bit of me watching thoughts as they arise. Means I’m more than those thoughts. If I’m more than them I can do the Matrix scene tricks; step away and have different thoughts; MCBT right there; stop being a hate amplifier; cut the head off the snake for myself; see Agent Smith do that frown. Be a Buddha to me. A Buddha full stop. Period.
This moment. Let’s wake up together.
*Dhammapada Sutta III: Cittavagga 42
*(same sutta: I: Yamakavagga, 1.)
*Anapanasati Mindful Breathing Sutta
*© Prepared for Tumbleweed Zen Group, October 2018.