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13.04.11 : Take Offense? | Toddler’s Encounter Wit h A ‘New’ Emotion | Story of Khantivadi Ascetic | Give U p the Ghost

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  • NamoAmituofo
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    Message 1 of 1 , Apr 13, 2011
      The Daily Enlightenment
       Quote: Take Offense?

      If you are quick to take offense 
      at those who are quick to take offense at you, 
      how are you different from them?

      - Stonepeace | Comment | More 

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       Realisation: A Toddler’s Encounter With A ‘New’ Emotion

      The inner demon you can’t name [recognise], 
      is the one you are tormented by.


      A toddler nephew is undergoing a strange yet understandable phase of growing up.Barely a month ago, his baby sister was born. Suddenly, his behaviour became a little incomprehensibly moody and anger-prone… even to himself! He seemed to be experiencing a form of existential anguish that he couldn’t articulate with his limited vocabulary. When asked ‘Are you alright?’, he would reply ‘Okay…’ in an unsure and listless manner. When asked, ‘What’s wrong?’, he says ‘I don’t know!’ – probably to his surprise as much as ours. In the further angst of being unable to express his angst, he bit himself on his arm. I was wondering if this is the time to teach him a ‘new’ word to help him name the elusive inner demon that could be haunting him… jealousy… due to the subtle beginnings of sibling rivalry and some fear of how the future will change for him?

      He obviously relished in the arrival of his sister. In this sense, there is no real animosity. Yet, simultaneously, he probably felt displaced in terms of the shift of attention away from him. Come to think of it, jealousy is quite a complex emotion. One that is perhaps too paradoxical for young kids to grasp. In jealousy is the element of attachment, of wanting something, mixed with the element of aversion, of not wanting something else. He could be wanting more attention for himself, while not wanting the sister to have more. It’s not just plain greed or hate, but an almost even balance of them. And of course, the duo arises from delusion. How do you explain this to a kid? ‘Welcome to Samsara (again)… welcome to a full experience of the three poisons! It’s okay… I think… Please take it easy! Don’t be too hard on yourself!’

      ‘Abhidharmically’ speaking, greed (tanha) always arises with hatred (lobha), while the couple always arises from delusion (moha). Without moha, there will be neither tanha nor lobha. (Moha is the root of the three poisons.) In the case of jealousy, the play of tanha and lobha is more obviously intertwined, seemingly fluctuating rapidly between themselves. I think it is this quality that makes kids confused as to what they are really experiencing. The truth is, most feelings, be they pleasant, unpleasant or neutral, are as the Buddha described, like effervescent bubbles – impermanent and insubstantial, easily formed, but also easily popped and replaced with new ones. Cling to fleeting feelings and you will suffer. Just watch to know and see their transient nature and one regains composure. I still don’t know how to tell that to the kid. Looks like the usual reasoning, reassuring and coaxing with hugs and kisses will have to do for now.

      Because of our unresolved feelings for Samsara, 
      we have returned to it. 
      Do we return out of compassion or delusion?


      Shen Shi'an | Comment | More 
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       Excerpt: The Story of Khantivadi Ascetic

      Why live to expend
      positive and negative karma?
      Why not live to create positive karma
      to dilute negative karma?


      Once upon a time the Bodhisattva, leading the life of an ascetic, was meditating at the foot of a tree in the king’s royal park. He was living there at the invitation of the king’s general. One day the king went to the park with the ladies of the court. In a drunken state he slept with his head on the lap of a favourite lady. As he was asleep the others went up to the ascetic to listen to his teaching. On waking he found the ladies missing. Hearing that they had gone to the ascetic and questioned him in a harsh tone: ‘What do you preach, you ascetic?’ ‘I preach on patience, your majesty,’ replied the ascetic calmly. ‘What is patience?’ ‘Patience is not getting angry when you are abused or beaten.’ ‘Well, I will then test your patience,’ said the king and summoning the executioner ordered him to throw the ascetic on the ground and beat him with a thorny whip. The innocent ascetic was whipped mercilessly. The ascetic’s skin burst. The whole body was smeared with blood. But the ascetic true to his teaching endured his pain patiently.

      ‘Do you still practise patience, ascetic?’ ‘Yes, still I do, your majesty!’ The king then order that his hands and feet be cut off and questioned him again. The same calm reply issued from his lips. Full of wrath the king ordered his nose and ears to be cut off. Mercilessly the executioner chopped off his nose and ears . With mutilated limbs as the good ascetic lay on a pool of blood, the king asked him again – ‘Do you still practise patience, ascetic?’ ‘You majesty, please do not think that my patience lies in my skin, or in my hands and feet, or in my nose and ears. My patience lies within my heart. With your superior strength you can overpower my weak body. But, your majesty, my mind can never be changed,’ coolly replied the ascetic. He harboured no ill will towards the king. Not did he look at him with any anger.

      The king’s anger knew no bounds. Deeply enraged he raised his foot and stamped on the chest of the ascetic with his heel. Immediately blood gushed out of his mouth. The general who had invited him heard of his pitiful state, and hurried to his presence. Quickly he applied some ointment and begged him not to curse the kingdom. The merciful ascetic, instead of cursing the king blessed him, saying, ‘He who caused my hands and feet, nose and ears, to be cut off, may that king live long! Men like us never get angry,’ After his Enlightenment, the Buddha said, ‘Though hacked by a sharp axe as if I was inanimate, I did not get angry with King Kasi. This is my Perfection of Patience (Khanti Parami).’ – Adapted from Khantivadi Jakata

      Comment More 
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