2008.06.21 19:00 - Anger and compassion

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    That evening, Stim was the guardian. The comments are Pema's.

    When I walked over to the pavilion, Pia and Stim and Rajah were already there

    Pema Pera: Hi Stim!
    Stim Morane: Hi Pema
    Pema Pera: And hi Pia!
    Pia Iger: Hello!
    Stim Morane: Hi Pia
    Pema Pera: Hi there, Raja!
    Stim Morane: Hi Rajah
    Pia Iger: why so many people fell off the roof?
    Rajah Yalin: hi all
    Rajah Yalin: so this is the new PaB place? 1st time here, i just got back from vacation
    Pema Pera: off the roof, Pia?
    Pema Pera: Yes, Rajah, we moved!
    Pia Iger: through the roof.
    Pema Pera: Dakini built this place
    Rajah Yalin: cool
    Pema Pera: Did anyone fall through the roof? I walked over here :-)
    Rajah Yalin raises hand.
    Rajah Yalin: I fell
    Pia Iger: Fael this pm.
    Pema Pera: ah!
    Pema Pera: I haven’t had the pleasure yet, but I can try :>)
    Pia Iger: not easy to aim it, I guess.
    Pema Pera: The teleport site is across from the bridge, behind where Raja sits, but if you fly over you may land in a funny place
    Pia Iger: yes.

    We were quiet for a while. Then, given that Pia’s questions to Stim in the past had triggered some fascinating discussions, I wondered whether Pia had more questions, which indeed turned out to be the case.

    Pema Pera: Pia, do you have any more questions for Stim, perhaps questions that weren’t fully discussed previously?
    Stim Morane: why for me?
    Pia Iger: many.
    Pema Pera: why not :-)
    Stim Morane: I thought my job was just to kick out griefers
    Pia Iger: cause Pema don’t want to answer me:)
    Pema Pera: :-)
    Stim Morane: what won’t he answer?
    Rajah Yalin: and I’m in LaLa Land
    Pema Pera: If you don’t go ahead asking, Pia, Stim will change the subject!
    Stim Morane: I’m still trying to find out what the subject is.
    Pia Iger: which subject Stim thinking?
    Pia Iger: Last time we left at the continuity of being…
    Pia Iger: maybe Being, big B
    Stim Morane: too big
    Pia Iger: hehe
    Stim Morane: I like more concrete things, personally-felt, etc
    Stim Morane: Sorry, I don’t mean to avoid something, if there really is a “something”
    Pia Iger: soul searching myself
    Stim Morane: How has your understanding changed over the last couple weeks, Pia?
    Pia Iger: first, I am willing to give some room for my anger.

    Adams joined us, and Stim responded to Pia’s comment on the way she is working with anger.

    Stim Morane: Hi Adams
    Adams Rubble: Hello everybody
    Pema Pera: Hi Adams!
    Pia Iger: Hi, Adams.
    Stim Morane: Good re the “room”.
    Stim Morane: Does it help?
    Rajah Yalin: hi Adams
    Pia Iger: a little.
    Stim Morane: WHat isn’t helped?
    Pia Iger: as you said, something is concrete, has to find concrete tactic.
    Stim Morane: Can you apply Pema’s Play as Being, or even the “play” part, to the anger?
    Pia Iger: I don’t think I can just wave issues away.
    Stim Morane: No, waving isn’t helpful
    Stim Morane: Pema, you look like you’re doing calf exercises.
    Pema Pera: haha
    Pema Pera: AO
    Pia Iger: Playing, like laugh at myself?
    Stim Morane: I don’t know … the idea is perhaps for everyone here to find ways “play” is applicable.
    Stim Morane: Anger is not very playful, it’s quite rigid.
    Pema Pera: Hi Bertrum
    Stim Morane: Hi Bertrum
    Pia Iger: Hi,
    Bertrum Quan: hi pema…all

    Bertrum joined us, so there were six of us.

    Stim Morane: So if we start with the rigid nature of anger … is that there for you? Findable?
    Pia Iger: I think so.
    Pia Iger: basically now , anger do not burn me right away, but it is still there.
    Stim Morane: And part of it is taking some serious things seriously … i.e., not just waving them away?
    Pia Iger: maybe need to do that, but I have no concrate ideas to do it seriously
    Stim Morane: Okay. Well anyway, I was just thinking perhaps what is unnecessarily rigid about anger could be seen and leavened with some play
    Cup of Sake whispers: Enjoy : )
    Stim Morane: Play needn’t be silly, although perhaps silliness is good too. The question is whether play can restore us to reality.
    Stim Morane: Rajah, Bertrum, Pema … any comments?
    Rajah Yalin: hm
    Pema Pera: There are many things I could say, but I feel I’m talking too much already, being here in so many sessions
    Pema Pera: So I thought it would be nice for Pia, who likes to ask questions fortunately, to ask her many questions
    Pema Pera: and for you to give some responses — I can do so at many other occasions, when you are not here, Stim
    Rajah Yalin: anger disappears through understanding
    Stim Morane: Yes, can you say more re that?
    Rajah Yalin: who do you think makes you angry?
    Rajah Yalin: when it comes down to it, the one making you angry is you
    Pia Iger: how come?
    Stim Morane: oh good, now we’re getting into the specifics
    Stim Morane: Please proceed, Rajah.
    Rajah Yalin: anger is work of the mind - good to get rid of the anger is to meditate during time of the anger.. try to understand ‘why has my mind made me angry? what could I do instead?’, etc.
    Stim Morane: Yes. This is where the “play” might come in, for instance.
    Rajah Yalin: yep
    Stim Morane: In any case, good. Do you have some thoughts about this, Bertrum?

    After Rajah, Bertrum gave his perspective.

    Bertrum Quan: i wonder how one separares play from reality–they seem one in the same to me…
    Stim Morane: Well said.
    Stim Morane: But there are many types of play, and perhaps some are more expressive of reality than others. Do you agree?
    Bertrum Quan: no.
    Stim Morane: Good.
    Stim Morane: Please expand.
    Stim Morane: Welcome back, Adams
    Adams Rubble: Hi. bad connections
    Bertrum Quan: how, for example can you separate an imaginative thought from an observational thought– a cyber knife to the mind? the mind is all one… being
    Stim Morane: Bertrum, what I meant is that in traditional contemplative teachings, it is indeed said that the “reality” at issue in the practice has its own playful character. So then the idea would be to “play” in a way that explicitly reflects that higher “play”.
    Bertrum Quan: semantics… you can categorize… but it’s
    Bertrum Quan: it’s possible to distinguish but it is a construct…
    Bertrum Quan: that just my take on it…
    Stim Morane: Yes, i begin to see. I was considering this in a particular way, admittedly only one of many.
    Stim Morane: Thanks.
    Stim Morane: My comments were related to certain points in Vajrayana and other Buddhist teachings, but we shouldn’t reduce “reality” to their view.
    Stim Morane: On the other hand, I was mentioning “reality” in the context of addressing Pia’s concern about dealing with anger. IT would be good if we had a way of helping with that.
    Stim Morane: Rajah’s comments, for instance, were along that line …
    Stim Morane: Adams, any thoughts?
    Adams Rubble: I had a thought after Rajah spoke
    Adams Rubble: that if I hold on to my anger than it is me who is making me angry
    Adams Rubble: but initial anger is not caused from me
    Stim Morane: Yes, I think so.
    Adams Rubble: I can eleiminate some from understanding
    Stim Morane: oops, typing gets shuffled in weird ways here …
    Adams Rubble: but there are things that might me angry beyond my understanding
    Stim Morane: but your point about “holding on” is important, a good starting place
    Adams Rubble: I can only let that anger go
    Stim Morane: Yes. How?
    Adams Rubble: by not holding on to it
    Stim Morane: Ha!
    Adams Rubble: awareness of it

    After Adams expressed her views, Bertrum responded.

    Bertrum Quan: may I suggest an alternative?
    Adams Rubble: yes
    Stim Morane: This gets us into many issues re the self again, I’m afraid. The angry self is by def not aware, not interested in letting go eithher.
    Stim Morane: Oh, please, Bertrum.
    Bertrum Quan: i’m not sure that the anger is actually cause outside of the mind—it’s all one. so in that sense anger is an emotion that makes up the whole.
    Stim Morane: Could you expand … I’m not sure I get you yet.
    Bertrum Quan: it actually may come down one’s capacity for compassion
    Stim Morane: yes, that’s certainly related.
    Bertrum Quan: no one makes you angry in this sense…
    Stim Morane: It would be good if we ended up getting to compassion, or even weaving it in along the way.
    Stim Morane: Yes, no one makes us be angy, especially in the sense of holding on to it after the onset.
    Stim Morane: So we’re back to letting go …
    Stim Morane: the traditional comment is simply that it’s a codependent thing, many factors, outside “us” and inside “us”. But ultimately it’s our responsibility to let go.
    Bertrum Quan: i heard a story by a monk who was terribly tortured…a true story… what he felt was not anger but compassion
    Stim Morane: Rajah?
    Stim Morane: Yes, Bertrum. This happened with several of my Tibetan Teachers too.
    Adams Rubble: Could you expand on the monk story?
    Stim Morane: That needn’t mean that anger didn’t ever arise, but that compassion took over very fast.
    Pia Iger: what kind of compassion, towards to whom?
    Stim Morane: At whom are you angry?
    Stim Morane: Anyway, you were saying, Bertrum …?
    Bertrum Quan: well, as he told the story…this was in Tibet, and in prison there, the guards did unspeakable things to him… a cattle prod in his mouth–knocking out all of his teeth… he did not feel anger but compassion. his compassion grew deeper with each torture.
    Adams Rubble: oh physical torture
    Stim Morane: Yes, this may well be a story about one of my teachers.
    Stim Morane: But we needn’t assume there was never a second of anger … the issue is what then?
    Bertrum Quan: to me this means that anger is one example of of largger suffering…
    Adams Rubble: How could he feel compassion to his torturers
    Bertrum Quan: of human suffering—
    Stim Morane: Yes. I agree, Bertrum.
    Bertrum Quan: Adams, that is what draws me to Buddhist thinking… it’s a paradox.
    Stim Morane: We could illustrate by taking a more ordinary case. Andams, has anyone ever done something to you that would tend to make you angry, but that also shows you the larger suffering or “ignorance” of that person himself?
    Stim Morane: This is what looms large for someone like the monk mentioned here.

    Alas, I had to leave at this point.

    Pema Pera: fascinating discussion, thank you all! Alas, RL is calling and I have to go now . . . looking forward to read the continuation on the log — Stim, you’ll send the log, right?
    Stim Morane: Yes, I’ll send it. Bye!
    Adams Rubble: I have much less serious irritations
    Rajah Yalin: Namaste
    Pema Pera: bye everyone!
    Rajah Yalin: take care
    Bertrum Quan: bye pema
    Adams Rubble: Bye Pema
    Pia Iger: bye.

    Here is the rest of the log, which Stim sent me later. The one line of comment below is his.

    Adams Rubble: in fact almost embarrassing to relate
    Stim Morane: It’s not so paradoxical. It’s just about holding to a larger perspective that includes others even while we ourselves are being bugged.
    Stim Morane: Yes?
    Adams Rubble: but I have a neighbor who has a barking dog
    Adams Rubble: when anyone in the neighborhood comes into their yard
    Adams Rubble: the neighbor lets out the dog
    Adams Rubble: who barks and barks for hours
    Stim Morane: this is indeed a very irritating thing.
    Stim Morane: Ordinarily, it would make total sense to be angry about that, and only angry!
    Adams Rubble: I can’t understand why the neighbor does this
    Stim Morane: Because he/she is “ignorant” of the larger reality we’re in. This is reason for compassion. But I admit it’s a very irritating case.
    Bertrum Quan: it may be to transcend irritation. we do the best we can. the monk in the story i related was enlightened…
    Bertrum Quan: hard to transcend
    Stim Morane: It’s just a matter of priorities. If you see that you are in a larger dimension that should be respected and acknowledged, and if you see that anger occludes that, then it’s no so hard.
    Stim Morane: And the “other person” is part of that dimension, and you have compassion for him/her.
    Stim Morane: Then you call the police to complain about the dog.
    Adams Rubble: L)
    Adams Rubble: :)
    Adams Rubble: haha
    Stim Morane: Actually, first you’d try talking with the person, but I’ve met many such neighbors and it usually doesn’t work.
    Adams Rubble: I appreciate the wisdom of what you said about the larger dimension
    Stim Morane: Yes, without that, it would just come down to suppressing anger, which is silly.
    Bertrum Quan: that’s what we all strive for anyway
    Stim Morane: Compassion in the sense Bertrum is mentioning is explicitly an acknowledgement of that larger dimension … “compassion” is actually part of that.
    Stim Morane: It’s not just an attitude on our part.

    These latter comments are drawn from traditional Mahayana Buddhist views of compassion.

    Bertrum Quan: yes, that is the point.
    Stim Morane: This is explicitly stated in the very definition of compassion in that tradition. But it has to be distinguished from ordinary compassion.
    Adams Rubble: could you expand on that?
    Adams Rubble: the difference that is
    Stim Morane: on the ordinary level, we could indeed feel the arising of anger. Thoughts and passions are allowed to arise, based on codependent arising. Then it’s our turn to take responsibility for the larger dimension we are all in, and to make sure that anger does not persist and thus occlude what should be respected
    Stim Morane: EVen an “enlightened” person can be the locus of anger … she just doesn’t let it take over or continue.
    Stim Morane: But this is asking a lot.
    Adams Rubble: Yes. But you seemed to say there are two kinds of compassion
    Stim Morane: I wonder if we can find a practical, closer-to-home level of implementation.
    Stim Morane: Yes, there are several types of compassion.
    Adams Rubble: or levels
    Stim Morane: The bodhisattva type is specifically rooted in what Buddhists would call reality itself, not in our own ordinary mind.
    Stim Morane: This is not an idealistic fantasy. IT’s very true.
    Bertrum Quan: in the larger sense there’s Compassion related to universal suffering….. there’s also compassion as a feeling, an emotion
    Stim Morane: yes, the emotion case is not what we are now recommending. That would just be swapping one emotion for another, which is not the issue.
    Stim Morane: So you are quite right.
    Stim Morane: Anyway, this is a big subject, and we may have to stop for now.
    Stim Morane: AT least I do, sorry.
    Bertrum Quan: yes i do too.
    Adams Rubble: I have much to think about, thank you
    Pia Iger: thanks, Stim. much to think off.
    Adams Rubble: all
    Stim Morane: I’m sorry I have to go, but am grateful that each of you came and participated in the discussion.
    Adams Rubble: I am very glad I came
    Bertrum Quan: bye Stim, bye Pia and Adams
    Stim Morane: Bye Pia and Adams!
    Pia Iger: me, too. I felt I am directed to another direction, or new dimension.
    Adams Rubble: by Bertram, Stim and Pia

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