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Lions Roar : January 2007
SHAMBHALA SUN JANUARY 2007 112 compassion, and in return they received some social and emo- tional learning with a distinctly Buddhist slant. All of the Dalai Lama’s basic principles were on display, but with a personal and down-to-earth feeling. High school student Irene Hong told the Dalai Lama her story of seeing another student being bullied, and asked him why some children find it so hard to understand tolerance. His reply was a beautiful little discourse on the inevitability of conflict, the draw- backs of aggression, and the nature of unbiased compassion. “Life will never be without trouble and disagreement with our fellow human beings,” the Dalai Lama told her, “and because there is trouble and disagreement, tolerance must be a part of our life. Without tolerance, we have only two choices: one is to fight, which only increases the trouble, and the other is submis- sion, total defeat. I think both of these choices are a failure. “Tolerance is not a sign of weakness but a sign of strength,” he continued, as he segued to a favorite topic, the stupidity of anger. “In a deeper sense, tolerance is not creating negative feel- ings or anger toward someone who is creating problems for you. That will help you keep your capacity for judgment. One of the faults of anger is that when you lose your temper, then the part of your brain where you can judge right and wrong, where you judge short-term and long-term consequences, will not func- tion properly. Because the normal function of our brain does not work properly, anger is always self-defeating.” Speaking of his own anger, the Dalai Lama said, “Of course there are varieties of anger, and a short period of anger is OK. Myself, if something goes wrong my immediate reaction is to lose my temper and use harsh words. But after a few minutes, no anger remains, so that’s no problem. What is a problem is the deeper anger that remains for days, weeks, months, years, and then eventually both sides feel hatred toward the other. Hatred is the most destructive force. Hatred must be removed from our mind as much as possible.” Finally, he presented the fruition of all of his arguments—the unbiased compassion rooted in a recognition of our common humanity. “Toward the end of your story,” he said to Hong, “you explained that you felt empathy for the child who was being bullied, even though you did not know the child. You developed empathy not on the basis that the other person was ‘my friend,’ but simply because you recognized another human being, just like yourself, who deserved not to be bullied. That is very right. That is genuine compassion. It you only feel empathy for ‘my friend’ or ‘my relative,’ that is more related to attachment. “And your empathy can be extended further, eventually toward your enemy. Your enemies may disagree with you, may be harming you, but in another aspect, they are still human beings like you. They also have the right not to suffer and to find happiness. If your empa- thy can extend out like that, it is unbiased, genuine compassion.” The moderator’s follow-up question, “Why did she choose not to further the aggression?”, drew a surprising answer that brought together the Buddhist doctrines of relative and ultimate truth, impermanence and emptiness, and the three poisons of SAN FRANCISCO ZEN CENTER 300 Page Street San Francisco, CA 94102 415-863-3136 www.sfzc.org Tassajara Zen Mountain Center 39171 Tassajara Rd. Carmel Valley, CA 93924 City Center 300 Page St. San Francisco, CA 94102 415-863-3136 Green Gulch Farm 1601 Shoreline Hwy. Sausalito, CA 94965 415-383-3134 Offers one-day and weeklong medi- tation retreats, practice periods, residential training, and a guest student program. Offers one-day and weeklong medi- tation retreats, one and two month practice periods, residential farm and work apprenticeship programs, and a guest student program. Offers traditional Soto Zen 90-day training periods and a summer work practice program. Call the City Center front office for infor- mation: 415-863-3136. DO NOT PRINT THIS INFORMATION SHAMBHALA SUN DEC 06/JAN 07 ID09 07-165 Buddhist Goddesses of India MIRANDA SHAW “Beautifully written and erudite, this book fills a need in the growing literature about goddesses in Buddhism. The goddesses are meticulously researched and brilliantly analyzed. Destined to become a classic in the field, Buddhist Goddesses of India leaves no doubt that goddesses have been central, not peripheral, to Buddhism, even from the earliest traceable beginnings of the tradition.”—Susan L. Huntington, author of The Art of Ancient India “Shaw’s fascinating study deepens our understanding of the divine feminine in South Asia. Her luminous writing carries the reader through an amazing terrain that is rich with historical discoveries and vivid portraits of a remarkable female pantheon.”*—Graham M. Schweig, author of Dance of Divine Love: India’s Classic Sacred Love Story 584 pages. 16 color plates. 111 halftones. 8 line illustrations. 6 x 9. Cloth $35.00 0 -691-12758-1 “This work is a masterpiece.” * Goddesses of India MIRANDA SHAW “Beautifully written and erudite, this book fills a need in the growing literature about goddesses in Buddhism. The goddesses are meticulously researched and brilliantly analyzed. Destined to become a classic in the field, Buddhist Goddesses of India no doubt that goddesses have been central, not peripheral, to Buddhism, even from the earliest traceable beginnings of the tradition.”—Susan L. Huntington, Princeton University Press 800-777-4726 • Read excerpts at www.pup.princeton.edu