In the face of this pain and confusion, we must allow ourselves to touch our own strength and goodness and open our hearts, generating love and compassion for the victims of this tragedy.
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I should practice Ahimsa, non-harming. But in the situation of a madman with four guns and gas canisters, it might not be so simple.
Maybe this is Buddhism's time to say, "No, we have a different idea, the ideal of the Bodhisattva. The Bodhisattva looks after everyone. The Bodhisattva will help you."
After 15 years my faith in this practice, once so strong, turned to doubt. I began asking myself: What do I really know that is true? Who and what can I really trust? What has become of Lew, the person I used to be so many years before?
"When he reaches the perfection of wisdom, can a bodhisattva choose to do whatever he wants?" a young man asked. "The illusion of choice is an indication of a lack of freedom," I replied.
It will be interesting to see how the next generation of Buddhist teachers and practitioners deal with the cultural history (and baggage) of the word "enlightenment."
"All the suffering in the world comes from seeking pleasure for oneself. All the happiness in the world comes from seeking pleasure for others." That, I believe, captures the essence of this.
While it is fine to get involved in the political process or to engage in non-violent protests, I think Sid would also say that anything to do with other people can be considered social action.
I feel that to practice Buddhism, you must care not only for yourself but for society. You also have to consciously distance yourself from the structures of violence that frame our lives.
It is the work of a true bodhisattva, or open-hearted warrior, to go into the darkest aspects of our society in the hopes that he or she can be a light for all to see.
Causes and conditions set the stage for our attitudes toward the world and we can and do affect them. It is practical to train our minds so that we're not governed by our negative patterns.
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