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Opposing wickedness

KeromeKerome Love, love is mysteryThe Continent Veteran

Yesterday in meditation I came across something unusual, the urge to kill things (bugs in this case). And in examining this, I found a variety of other things, ruthlessness, casualness about life, the desire to damage things, hurrying on to victory. It seems to me a complex of urges that is difficult to eradicate, which are fed by a kind of righteous anger.

I recognise this from my game playing days, it would often come up during a drive to victory in some strategy or fighting game. In those days I didn’t think much of it, just something that passed. But now I see a danger in that series of urges, it is opposed to compassion and the other Brahma Viharas, to a way of living which respects all life and even the representation of life.

It is important to acknowledge that although they may make you an effective fighter on the battlefield, these urges run counter to a healthy spiritual life. This allows you to distance yourself from them. Besides not feeding these urges I’ve found it difficult to fight them, although I will try adopting a set of opposite motivations.

Ruthlessness is opposed by compassion.
Casualness about life is opposed by respect for all life.
The desire to damage is opposed by wanting to heal and nurture.

Steve_BDavidadamcrossleyDimmesdaleコチシカlobsterShoshin1

Comments

  • lobsterlobster Veteran

    You can not oppose, it just becomes stronger.

    I no longer kill slugs and snails. I move them. Just like bugs they have a function.
    Flies I have a problem with. If they come into the kitchen, I ask them to leave. They seem to respond better to threats but I am working on that ...

    Harmonising with compassion is an ongoing learning ...
    https://tricycle.org/trikedaily/kill-impulse-compassionate-solutions-your-favorite-pest/

    ChoephalShoshin1
  • FosdickFosdick in its eye are mirrored far off mountains Alaska, USA Veteran

    Get a bug and use it as the focus of your meditation. Look at it closely. Such marvelous little beings, so tiny and yet so complete, so perfect. You cannot hate them if you do this. They interrupt and distract, but why is our own egotistical activity, our own ego self, more significant than theirs?

    The flies, yes. We have an enormous hatch of flies in the house right now. I have been trying to train them to stay out of sight and, especially, out of my work area. They actually seem to respond to this after a while. But then comes another generation of the little beasts, and the process must be repeated.

    lobstermarcitkoJeffrey
  • KeromeKerome Love, love is mystery The Continent Veteran
    edited October 3

    It surprised me that Papaji said it was ok to be a soldier, he had been in the military himself. That the military taught you some things like concentration and perseverance that were actually good. This was in answer to a question from someone who had been a soldier.

    But at the same time he told a therapist that his work involved a transference of negativity from his patients to himself, and that he would not be happy unless he changed his profession. So that is possible too.

    I guess it all depends on the individual case.

    @lobster said:
    You can not oppose, it just becomes stronger.

    You are right of course, what I meant was to strengthen the opposing factor, causing these impulses to weaken. There are certain processes one can adopt, but you can’t directly fight them.

    lobster
  • DavidDavid some guy Veteran

    It takes a bit to recondition ourselves after so much exposure to unhelpful stimulus or intake.

    I think you're on the right track.

    lobster
  • DimmesdaleDimmesdale Illinois Explorer
    edited October 4

    I don't personally see that one cannot be both a warrior, and a spiritual aspirant. Violence has its place in my opinion, BUT I agree we have to be mindful of HOW we fight our battles. If we get too carried away with killing, we may develop a taste for it, and pursue violence for the sake of the taste alone, rather than the duty behind it. This is a constant danger not only with 'winning' but with any overly passionate activity. We get swept up in the billowing waves of emotion and forget the peace that we are. It is an incredible art to 'fight without fighting' and I don't think anyone, except perhaps some rare persons, can accomplish it perfectly. But I do believe some human beings are called, by birth as it were, to be fighters, police officers, athletes, etc. We all have different natures and we cannot level the playing field without incurring a different type of violence altogether....

    On a personal, synchronous note, I think it was the very day that this thread was started (actually, the day before..) that I happened to kill a spider in my room. I had a similar train of thought regarding sparing its life, but in the end I chose to drown it in my john. I wish it well in its next incarnation.

  • DavidDavid some guy Veteran

    Better to be a warrior in a garden rather than a gardener in a war?

    Sometimes, I'm not so sure. If a war comes to me, I'll sign up for medical.

  • KeromeKerome Love, love is mystery The Continent Veteran

    @David said:
    It takes a bit to recondition ourselves after so much exposure to unhelpful stimulus or intake.

    I think you're on the right track.

    It is a good thing to notice these influences. And I think they are more deep-seated because they start at a young age. Especially in games. But it’s not insurmountable, all these things like a time spent in the army can be overcome. But if you don’t notice your own dark patches you can’t release yourself, you can’t bring light to that darkness.

  • lobsterlobster Veteran

    On a personal, synchronous note, I think it was the very day that this thread was started (actually, the day before..) that I happened to kill a spider in my room.

    As a mass murderer, omnivore, tree killer, weed desecrater and trained fighter, I will not be killing 'Master Luke CeilingWalker', the predator above me. I was going to move him outside but when on lockdown all sentient company is welcome ...

    “إذ أحب القلب شيأً رأته العين جنةً"
    And when the heart loves something the eyes see it as paradise

    DavidJeffrey
  • KeromeKerome Love, love is mystery The Continent Veteran

    The action itself is probably not very significant, to kill a spider or other bug, or even a human being. The story of Angulimala tells something about that. But those impulses to kill, those I think one should beware of. It means that somehow we have gotten conditioned, and a bit of our freedom to act has gotten lost.

    You could say that all forms of conditioning move us a little closer to being just an automaton, a robot carrying out the rules that have been laid down by previous interactions. That is the opposite direction to freedom.

    By our living in proximity with other people we accept certain rules, such as a light meal in the morning or shared chores, but we can do these things with compassion and lightness of spirit, instead of as an automatism. If we can move with freedom, happiness and bliss are not far away.

  • DavidDavid some guy Veteran
    edited October 4

    @lobster said:

    On a personal, synchronous note, I think it was the very day that this thread was started (actually, the day before..) that I happened to kill a spider in my room.

    As a mass murderer, omnivore, tree killer, weed desecrater and trained fighter, I will not be killing 'Master Luke CeilingWalker', the predator above me. I was going to move him outside but when on lockdown all sentient company is welcome ...

    “إذ أحب القلب شيأً رأته العين جنةً"
    And when the heart loves something the eyes see it as paradise

    I'm the same way. In regards to relocating spiders and insects and keeping myself and others safe not the eating flesh part, lol.

    Infestations are tricky though. Bedbugs for example.

  • DavidDavid some guy Veteran

    @Kerome said:
    The action itself is probably not very significant, to kill a spider or other bug, or even a human being. The story of Angulimala tells something about that.

    I'm just going back to finish Old Path White Clouds and Angulimala ends up getting beaten almost to death but he endures the beating while bowing and holding up the Lotus Mudra. According to the Buddha as portrayed there, that act purified him.

    lobster
  • federicafederica Seeker of the clear blue sky... Its better to remain silent and be thought a fool, than to speak out and remove all doubt Moderator

    @David said:

    @lobster said:

    On a personal, synchronous note, I think it was the very day that this thread was started (actually, the day before..) that I happened to kill a spider in my room.

    As a mass murderer, omnivore, tree killer, weed desecrater and trained fighter, I will not be killing 'Master Luke CeilingWalker', the predator above me. I was going to move him outside but when on lockdown all sentient company is welcome ...

    “إذ أحب القلب شيأً رأته العين جنةً"
    And when the heart loves something the eyes see it as paradise

    I'm the same way. In regards to relocating spiders and insects and keeping myself and others safe not the eating flesh part, lol.

    Infestations are tricky though. Bedbugs for example.

    I'm reminded of the anecdote in one of Lama Surya Das' Trilogy books, about the Tibetan Buddhist Monastery satellite in Canada, I believe, which suffered an infestation of cockroaches... they eventually had to contact the 'Mother' Monastery and seek guidance, because while initially, they had tried to live with their little 'brothers and sisters', they became overwhelmed, and visitors, pilgrims and participants began to stay away... The Monastery in Tibet, finally came to the conclusion that the exterminators should be called in, but even while they worked, the Monks should sit in Meditation and "pray" for the beneficial rebirth of all the dead cockroaches, and wish them a peaceful death and transition...

    So sometimes, drastic action is necessary, but always with Mindfulness.

    “إذ أحب القلب شيأً رأته العين جنةً"
    And when the heart loves something the eyes see it as paradise

    Nice, @lobster. Very nice.

    KeromeDavid
  • these urges run counter to a healthy spiritual life.

    Perhaps.
    Perhaps they are a fuel for sublimation. In other words they have a higher form. They may be inner demons/friends in disguise.

    Warriors make excellent zenniths because they are disciplined to overcome hate, fear and anger. I found the Buddhist martial arts very helpful.
    https://www.intelligentliving.co/amp/discover-unlimited-powers-shaolin/

  • KeromeKerome Love, love is mystery The Continent Veteran

    @lobster said:
    Perhaps they are a fuel for sublimation. In other words they have a higher form. They may be inner demons/friends in disguise.

    You may be right friend @lobster, I may have yet again fallen into the trap of being incautious in my wording. At the time of writing I felt that ‘ruthlessness, casualness about life, the desire to damage’ are impulses that can only have negative consequences, but truly we do not know how life is to turn out. Sometimes we need to be ruthless to create space for the new.

    Warriors make excellent zenniths because they are disciplined to overcome hate, fear and anger. I found the Buddhist martial arts very helpful.

    That can certainly be true, but it feels to me very much like a young man’s path. As you get a little older and the fires dim somewhat, and it becomes a case of letting go of these things.

    lobster
  • Opposing wickedness

    Perhaps wickedness (in its many different forms) arose along with other survival techniques in our primaeval mental tool box...which now for the most part lies dormant in most people, but can easily be re-ignited under certain conditions..... a primaeval instinct.....an urge... to be or not to be acted upon, that is the challenge....

    During meditation if desires of the wicked kind arise, they will only become an issue, if one becomes attached to the desires, in other words when the unguarded mind becomes charmed by its own thoughts...AKA "a fettered mind"

    After all...for the most part one is what one thinks (call it a force of habit)...but on the other hand... one is not one's thoughts (when the habit is broken-through meditation AKA "unfettering the mind")

    Meta Awareness, is when there is awareness of being aware of being aware of Meta Awareness itself...which eventually severs the urge AKA the link in the chain reaction....

    Well that's my understanding and the plan I'm not sticking to ... :)

    lobster
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