Bombings, Blessings, and Life's Balance
An Essay by Tim Bellows.
I read the news story about the bombing of a great holy shrine or temple in Iraq. About the revenge, close to civil war in that alarmed country.
Remember that story? I thought of how a major statue of Buddha was destroyed a few years back – and how humans can become so angry as to commit the ugliest acts, causing more anger-revenge. Seems that even cruel thoughts come back to taint and injure us. Round and round goes the wheel of tit for tat.
To me, the point is to get off that wheel. To look for life to teach us love and love only. Jesus said to love our enemies.
Rudyard Kipling got into the act too:
“Teach us delight in simple things,
And mirth that has no bitter springs;
Forgiveness free of evil done,
And love to all men 'neath the sun!”
And check this out, from The Buddha's Words on Kindness (Metta Sutta):
So with a boundless heart
Should one cherish all living beings:
Radiating kindness over the entire world
Spreading upwards to the skies,
And downwards to the depths;
Outwards and unbounded,
Freed from hatred and ill-will.
Whether standing or walking, seated or lying down
Free from drowsiness,
One should sustain this recollection.
This is said to be the sublime abiding.
By not holding to fixed views,
The pure-hearted one, having clarity of vision,
Being freed from all sense desires,
Is not born again into this world.
That is, not born on the world’s wheel of revenge, anger, and graceless thoughts.
Here’s Hawthorne who has one of his characters think over his art of painting:
"O glorious Art!" thus mused the enthusiastic painter as he trod the street, "thou art the image of the Creator's own. The innumerable forms, that wander in nothingness, start into being at thy beck. The dead live again. Thou recallest them to their old scenes, and givest their gray shadows the lustre of a better life, at once earthly and immortal. . . .”
Let’s sort through this last excerpt, hoping to clarify it: A glorious art will be the image of the Creator’s art. Apparently such an art can access those “forms, that wander in nothingness.” These must be higher forms, the formless forms, suggesting pure spirit beyond the entertainments of language. Can the most advanced of the arts bring what’s “immortal” to us on this rough-edged world where temples are blown up,
animals are treated cruelly, and people mock and abuse others?
Let’s remember that we also have the Mother Theresas, the Jane Goodalls and the Schweitzers among us! We might well study and concentrate on them and soak in some of their example. Most medical people study disease in the west.
Bizarre! To find health, study those who are healthy. What are they doing with food, exercise, or spiritual contemplation? We could study what we see as the highest, best, and most beautiful: the planet would gain in spiritual consciousness, despite the outer negatives that will never be totally eliminated. After all, things must always be in a balance. Truly life demands that we – and all souls walking the world – be whole, taking in and acknowledging both “good” and “evil.” Wasn’t there a saying about blessing those who curse us? Yes. . . . I found it: “Bless those who curse you, pray for those who mistreat you” (The Christian Bible. Luke 6:28).
By doing that brave thing, we escape the mechanical, the mind, which likes to carve distinctions between all things polar: hot/cold, good/evil, empty/full . . . and so on. Skirting the mind-sphere, we advance on the “path” into the divine,
Copyright © 2008 Tim Bellows