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Lions Roar : November 2006
SHAMBHALA SUN NOVEMBER 2006 69 MATTHIEU RICARD: This is our innate insight. We walk on the snow, under the stars, and wow, we feel good. There’s no inner conflict. When you make a gesture of pure generosity to a child, with no strings attached, asking for no praise or reward, you feel pure love. At times like this you ask yourself, naturally, if you could be like that all the time. But when you get angry, when you think you’re 100 percent right, the next day you probably regret it. So slowly, when you start distinguishing the states of mind that nurture a deep sense of well-being and those that emit mental toxins that destroy the well-being in yourself and oth- ers, you ask whether you can let go of the one and cultivate the other. Is that possible? If the powerful mental toxins are part of our deepest nature, perhaps in destroying them we would destroy ourselves. But if they are just like a painting on the surface, we can change them. So the real question is: are these afflictive emotions an intrinsic part of our mind or not? RICHARD GERE: During one of the seminars with the Dalai Lama at the Mind and Life Institute, we discussed a moment when the mind can see an event purely, with no overlay of memory or projection or anything else. It is a very, very small moment, and then the brain kicks in and measures things against the known. It changes the experience so that it fits the categories of what it already has learned to function with, what it knows. Can you describe these layers of the mind and how their functions relate to the emotions and the heart? MATTHIEU RICARD: Usually when we experience an emo- tion like anger, we completely associate with this emotion. We are anger. Yet we keep on escaping and going to the target of our anger—the person who has been so nasty to us. Then we feel upset by the anger. Whenever we see that person or remember them, it triggers anger. There’s no end. Instead of looking at the target, you could disassociate your mind from the anger. You could look at anger as you would look at a fire or a volcano. You could really look at it, observe it as a phenomenon, identify with it. If you do that, you cut it off from its fuel, the target. Then, slowly, the anger is bound to dis- appear like, as is said, “the morning frost under the rising sun.” We are not repressing anger somewhere, like a time bomb. We are not ignoring it. We are not letting it explode. We are dealing with it in a way that disarms it.