padma norbu wrote:
asunthatneversets wrote:I'd say awakening true compassion is the absence of acceptance or rejection, allowing what-is to appear as it does.
This is how I used to basically see it, since all is the display of the illusion of self and other. But, I think if you suddenly realize what you're allowing to appear is essentially pleasure at someone else's misfortune, then that is a problem. You could not indulge it and let it dissolve, but if it keeps coming back, then it seems to me like it's never really being addressed. It is strange, but something like this just occurred to me, I guess because I may have finally been more mindful than usual and so I noticed my thoughts. And I thought, "wait a minute, I am actually enjoying this thought of another's misfortune" and I began to wonder about this... if, knowing everything I know about samsara, I still take pleasure in another's misery despite generally thinking I feel compassionate toward people and frequently thinking throughout the day how everything is illusory projection, then how do you change something like that? To reduce it to something really simple so you can get my point: it's like enjoying the taste of pizza; if you like the taste of pizza, how could you ever not
like it? You may stop eating it for dietary reasons or whatever, but you will never stop liking the taste of pizza.
This is basically self-cherishing and there are certainly many ways to change it, but I don't know... it worried me because I had the realization that over time it seems maybe I have become more calloused and selfish than I was when I first started looking into Buddhism seriously half a lifetime ago. I think 15-20 years ago I had similar ideas pop into my head but I probably either felt justified because I disliked whoever I was thinking about and so didn't really notice or else felt guilty about it and depressed with shame (I was quite down on myself back then, in general). But, yesterday, as my mind was wandering recently into these self-cherishing thoughts, I noticed a complete lack of guilt about it, but that it was just sort of compartmentalized in a "safe zone" like I had become used to saying to myself "just thinking, no harm done" so much so that I could really indulge such thoughts without guilt while enjoying the idea of someone else's misfortune. I've also noticed that as I've gained experience, I've become more hateful of certain attitudes and personality traits rather than more accepting of them. Sure, I'm more patient and accepting in some ways, but I'm more fed up and impatient in other ways.
I want to change all this ASAP. This dawning realization felt like a climactic scene in some b-movie where, after acting like a psycho for an hour and twenty minutes, the bad guy suddenly realizes he's nutso only when he accidentally kills someone he truly loves and then he gasps, "What have I become?!" before blowing his own head off. I don't want to have a secret place in my head where I can entertain hateful attitudes privately. The more these habits are repeated, the stronger they become, I believe. Maybe pizza was the wrong metaphor before— maybe it's more like coffee or cigarettes; an acquired taste, but one that quickly becomes addictive and is reinforced with every imbibing.
Same thing I'm talking about, so I'm saying you'd go to the root of that projected indulgence in another's misfortune, what you start to realize (more often than not) is that you, yourself are exactly the same as the other person you dislike (or that you're no better). Say for example; in my personal experience I had a hard time getting over those who inflict harm onto animals, or who dehumanize other people for their sexual preferences. I would loathe and abhor these people to the point that if one of them came to receive some kind of misfortune or pain, I would actually enjoy their suffering. And as you said this became deeply engrained, and in my eyes I was "right" because I felt that what they were doing was wrong. So I felt that any misfortune that came to them was deserved, and that misfortune was justified, and I took joy in what I saw as redemption for their wrong-doings.
Once I started to learn of the Dharma I started to realize this wasn't a right view, I knew it was counter-productive to progress in the teachings but I didn't know what to do about it. I still felt that my views were "right" because those other people we're harming or dehumanizing other sentient beings, and I felt I wanted what was best for all sentient beings, so retribution for any wrong-doing done to animals and those persecuted for their race, or sexual preference etc.. was justified in my eyes. Almost to the point where I'd see that church in the south who promoted that "god hates fags" agenda, and I hated them for that, and I seriously would think that if these people were all wiped off the face of the earth the world would be a better place for it. Or if I saw anyone hurting an animal in a documentary or anything like that I would become enraged (even today there is lingering sentiments of this due to it's thorough reification over time).
So what had to happen, is that I had to start to see that I was hating them for their hatred, except my hatred was justified for some reason. They hate and inflict pain on others because of their afflictions, and in turn I was approaching them just as they approach those they hate. In their eyes, they feel justified in their actions, they feel it's ok to harm others... and then I taking the opposite view, feel justified for hating them and feel it would be ok to see harm inflicted on them. To the circle just becomes more and more perverted. No answer is ever reached and I am no better than they are... I am them, and they are me. So I had to be open with myself and see directly and fully that this was going on, and I had to step back and account for this in my experience.
Once that happened it was forever diminished, I would see that they hated or inflicted pain due to afflicted views, so instead of hating them for that, I knew that they didn't know any better (and in fact felt justified) and my heart opened to them. I understood that they were ignorant of their actions, and while this wouldn't stop me from intervening if I saw them hurting an animal or abusing another person. I would do it from a more mindful approach, not driven by rage or anger, and instead of inflicting pain or abuse myself I could disengage the situation and then attempt to speak to them, if they wouldn't want to listen there's nothing I could do, but at least the chain would be broken because I wouldn't be reactive. The reactivity is a subconscious explosion, so me bringing that to my conscious attention within myself, I am not victim to my own ignorance anymore and can act with compassion.
Another example (and this may not be true on all levels, I'm not attempting to offend anyone or start some political discussion I'm merely using this for an example) of this on a macrocosmic level is the United States attitude towards policing the world, as a collective people the majority might feel justified for occupying other countries to ensure that they aren't furthering some agenda etc... but what we don't see is that we, the U.S. are the ones furthering an agenda, and starting war, killing others for our own ideology. We are the "terrorist" in the eyes of those countries we police. We become that which we reject in the world and then project that onto those we objectify. And our occupation doesn't "end" the circle, it just perverts it. Because it further upsets those who have hate for the west. We actually reify the hatred within those who hate is through our actions. So the "enemy" is ever recreated and solidified, and no peace will ever come to the world (even though we would feel we're attempting to create peace). Hate breeds hate.
So the hate ends with you. You are the answer. The peace isn't reached by changing your environment, your environment is changed by changing and finding peace within yourself.
From there, later in my personal journey I found the emptiness of self, and therefore the emptiness of other, directly in experience. And this forever made these subconscious movements conscious, they rarely arise but if they do arise I see them at once and they are dropped, dispelled and they self-liberate. They're no longer about an other who is a dream, and they no longer belong to the dream "me". It's all a dream born of ignorance of the true state of perfection.
This excerpt from the documentary Kymatica talks about the attitude of those who wish to inflict harm on others for their actions. And how this just perverts the problem.
Direct link to video on youtube:http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pnyBb5858sE