A common space for harmonic peacemakers
From Khenpo Karthar Rinpoche on the lay precepts:
"Although there may be no danger of our killing someone else, there is a chance we may rejoice in someone else having been killed. We must be very careful about this, since it is actually breaking the vow. For example, when our nation is in conflict with another and we hear that someone from that other country has been killed, our hatred toward the other nation may cause us to think, "Oh, that's great."
"From the Mahayana perspective we do not only practice compassion for the oppressed, but for the oppressor as well. Hatred causes great suffering. We practice compassion for those who suffer because of their hatred, whether they kill many or just rejoice in the killing of one.".
Since hearing about the death of one of the most feared men on the planet, it's struck me how difficult it is to go beyond thoughts of revenge to thoughts of peace and stability - both as a human society and as individuals.
As this quote from Khenpo Rinpoche illustrates, when we hear of the death of a person who has caused the deaths of so many, we must guard and protect our mind against the negativity of rejoicing in that person's death.
It is only natural to feel relief when a murderer is stopped from committing further violence, but we cannot let our thoughts wander beyond mere relief, or we begin to accumulate the karma of hatred and revenge ourselves. Any thought we invest in hatred will bring suffering to ourselves, both now and in the future. If we entertain such thoughts, we slowly lose our humanity, and become closer to eventually becoming killers ourselves.
This week, I am at my "home" center, Karma Triyanan Dharmachakra, and I plan to recite the Prayer to be Reborn in Dewachen (Amitabha's Pure Realm) for Mr. Bin Laden - and for all those whose deaths have resulted from his work: all the victims of 9/11, all the families whose loved ones were lost, all the suicide attackers he unleashed, all the victims and families of the victims of those attacks, all those who died in the many wars in Afghanistan and Iraq, and all those suffering now because of Mr. Bin Laden's declarations of war on the groups of people he hated.
It brings tears to the eyes to think of any person suffering the torments of hell; whether that is Mr. Bin Laden's fate or not is up to him and his karma. But I should like for him, and others like him, and any of the victims, to be rescued from the pits of hell by Amitabha, and that they all be reborn in the sight of the victor Amitabha and take pure rebirth in a place where there has never even been the sound of the word "hatred."
I know it will be difficult to be among others who don't share this view, but it is all right to take a different view, either inwardly or outwardly. If I'm asked to speak, sincerely saying, "I feel sadness for his torment, and for that of all of his victims; I will be thinking of and praying for all of them today," will hopefully be enough to inform and perhaps even touch the hearts of those who don't understand my feelings.
Being on the Mountain here in Woodstock is a blessing in times like these; looking at the radiant golden image of the Buddha, who said, "hate never once dispelled hate; only love dispels hate," it is easier to understand the pain of those who hate and those whose shock and grief gradually turns to hate.
Watching our own minds allows us the freedom to not choose hate, and to entertain the notion of cleansing love; may that fact be of comfort to all of us today.
12 September, 2001
I am deeply shocked by the terrorist attacks that took place involving four apparently hijacked aircrafts and the immense devastation these caused. It is a terrible tragedy that so many innocent lives have been lost and it seems unbelievable that anyone would choose to target the World Trade Center in New York City and the Pentagon in Washington, D.C. We are deeply saddened. On behalf of the Tibetan people, I would like to convey our deepest condolence and solidarity with the American people during this painful time. Our prayers go out to the many who have lost their lives, those who have been injured and the many more who have been traumatized by this senseless act of violence. I am attending a special prayer for the United States and its people at our main temple today.
I am confident that the United States as a great and powerful nation will be able to overcome this present tragedy. The American people have shown their resilience, courage and determination when faced with such difficult and sad situations.
It may seem presumptuous on my part, but I personally believe we need to think seriously whether a violent action is the right thing to do and in the greater interest of the nation and people in the long run. I believe violence will only increase the cycle of violence. But how do we deal with hatred and anger, which are often the root causes of such senseless violence? This is a very difficult question, especially when it concerns a nation and we have certain fixed conceptions of how to deal with such attacks. I am sure that you will make the right decision.
With my prayers and good wishes,
The Dalai Lama
HH the Dalai Lamas message to president george bush
With palms together,
Good Morning Everyone,
The killing of Osama bin Laden has been celebrated. People have been dancing in the streets, waving flags, and celebrating shooting a killer in the head through his left eye. There is a great relief, perhaps a release from fear, it seems to me. Frankly, I see such a thing with a degree of disgust, relief, and admittedly, a degree of satisfaction. I am, it seems, a human being.
Osama bin Laden was a cold, calculating mass murderer. He hid from the world and directed his poisonous actions as if he were a long distance orchestra director, never really touching those he killed, not having to deal in any way with the pain and suffering he caused. We might say he was a coward.
What do we do with him? Or more precisely, with ourselves in response to him and his sort of actions? I read a story just last night about the killing of a Los Angeles neo-Nazi, someone who actively and, in your face, spread hate. Again, a sense of disgust, mixed with relief. Another toxic person no longer able to cause harm.
Our precept says “I vow not to kill.” It also says, "I vow not to be angry.” Our there poisons are “greed, hate, and delusion.” Our three antidotes are “generosity, love, and wisdom.” I recite these often, if not daily, aloud or to myself. I am reminded of them each and every time I hear of people like Osama or the Nazi. I see myself.
To want to kill, to cause harm, or to take any joy in the killing or harming of another is the same across the board. As Gertrude stein once said in her poem Sacred Emily, “a rose is a rose is a rose.” Osama took pleasure in the killing of those he thought were his enemies. We take pleasure in the killing of him. How are we not the same?
To love we must love, to be generous we must be generous, and to be wise we must be wise. This takes a great deal of courage and a willingness to set self aside in service to generosity, love, and wisdom. Clearly, I am not there yet myself, but I have dedicated my life to the practice of getting here.
I wish to mourn for that part of me who wishes to revenge. Let that part of me rest in peace.
....Yet, in the Middle East, North Africa and Central Asia, US imperialism confronts a far more potent enemy than it could ever make Al Qaeda and bin Laden out to be. The uprisings in Tunisia, Egypt, Yemen, Bahrain and elsewhere have been driven by the stirrings of a working class determined to struggle against the mass unemployment, poverty and social inequality imposed by global capital and the national ruling elites.
Beautifully expressed, Eva. While all the cheering was going on yesterday, I was thinking, "An eye for an eye and a tooth for a tooth," may have been okay at one time in history, but it is no longer okay, as the Buddha made plain.
My sister's Buddhist community in North Carolina hosted Khenpo Karthar Rinpoche a couple of weeks ago. I'm going to forward to her this post.
what a relief to read something that isn't straight from the madhouse. Thank you for taking the trouble to air some sane and human responses to this recent death that we are told about.