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01.02.12 : Extreme Skepticism | Should First Impressions Last? | Cool Heroism | The Bodhicitta Factor | The Heart Sutra'

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  • NamoAmituofo
    ... From: NamoAmituofo Date: Wed, Feb 1, 2012 at 9:30 PM Subject: 01.02.12 : Extreme Skepticism | Should First Impressions Last? |
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      ---------- Forwarded message ----------
      From: NamoAmituofo <buddhistnews@...>
      Date: Wed, Feb 1, 2012 at 9:30 PM
      Subject: 01.02.12 : Extreme Skepticism | Should First Impressions Last? | Cool Heroism | The Bodhicitta Factor | The Heart Sutra'
      To: thedailyenlightenment@yahoogroups.com

      The Daily Enlightenment
       Quote: Extreme Skepticism

      Extreme skepticism
      that questions everything else
      should be extremely skeptical
      by questioning itself too.


      - Comment | More 

       Courses By TDEditor
       Realisation: Should First Impressions Last?

      Knowing beings tend to cling to first impressions, Bodhisattvas strive to create good impressions, so as to better benefit them with the Dharma.


      If you visit a restaurant for the very first time, and the food happens to be not great, it is unlikely that you will visit it a second time, expecially when there are other choices at hand. However, sometimes, due to lack of alternatives in the area, you might give it another shot. You might find yourself bracing for another round of bad cooking, getting something equivalent in standard to the first round… But lo and behold – sometimes, you get a delicious serving, much to your pleasant surprise, beyond your wildest imagination! What would be the lesson from such an experience? You would have done both yourself and the restaurant a disservice if you gave up on it totally. It would have been worse if you shared your review of just one food-tasting session with everyone you met. May we not forget that there are people behind each dish and people do change!

      In a similar manner, we should think twice before casting our judgements of people we come across in stone. Just as we do not wish others who have bad first impressions of us to hang on them unfairly, why should we mercilessly cling on to our negative initial and thus one-dimensional impressions of others? We should give room for doubt that others might not be whom they seem at first, but not without reasonable discerning wisdom of course. There is neither need to hope for the best nor to expect the worst, but to simply experience second interactions with open hearts and minds. Let us not do others and ourselves injustice by condemining anyone without 'second hearings'. If we are to readily do so, how could we practise the Bodhisattva path of creating and increasing positive karmic affinities with all beings, for benefiting them with the Dharma?

      An expression says 'first impressions are lasting impressions'. While unfortunate that this tends to be valid for many, it is part of Dharma practice to counter this. First impressions tend to last due to habitual attachment to the familiar, even if the familarity of a near total stranger is close to nothing! Once we are mindful of this, we should let go of insisting on our unsubstantiated perceptions, at the most only using them as rough references. First impressions should never be our last, or we would never seek to realise the deeper and fuller truth. Although there is some truth to that 'familiarity breeds contempt', true familiarity breeds understanding. Not that there should ever be contempt, if it is there, we should wonder if we are really familiar enough with the 'contemptuous' others to justify contempt! Nursing contempt, how can we ever be spiritual friends with them?

      Knowing beings tend to cling to lasting impressions,
      Bodhisattvas strive to remove bad impressions,
      so as to better benefit them with the Dharma.


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       Excerpt: Cool Heroism

      Rage should be transformed
      into energy for dissolving itself,
      transmuting it into skilful action.


      To deal with feelings of anger and fear and frustration, we can start by finding relationality. As the Lakota Indians say, Mitakuye oyasin: "All beings are my relatives." When I'm particularly mad at George Bush and company for warmongering, I remember that in another lifetime he was my mother, and that even the most evil people were at some point my errant siblings. That immediately takes a certain edge off the anger.

      The second step is to realize that we too have the potential to be demonic. Given certain conditions and confusions and insecurities and fears, any of us could do bad things. It might start with an imperceptible change; we wouldn't think we were being bad – just a little naughty here and there. Pretty soon we would take it too far and be really bad. People can become deluded like that. Third, we develop real sympathy for the people who are doing harm, because if they bomb people, if they pollute, if they poison the food chain, they will have the bad karma of having banned so many people.

      By taking these three steps – finding one's relation to all beings, acknowledging the evil potential in one-self, feeling sympathy for the evil person – one gets the strength and energy to be an activist and to try, by voting and organizing, to stop harm caused by others. This is cool heroism: developing a tolerant, deliberate, and wise energy. People are afraid that if they let go of their anger and righteousness and wrath, and look at their own feelings – and even see the good in a bad person – they're going to lose the energy they need to do something about the problem. But actually you get more strength and energy by operating from a place of love and concern. You can be just as tough, but more effectively tough. It's like a martial art. [Continues here]

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