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Saturday, September 03, 2005

We Often Add to Our Own Pain

We also often add to our pain and suffering by being overly sensitive, over-reacting to minor things, and sometimes taking things too personally.

-His Holiness the Dalai Lama
From "The Pocket Dalai Lama," edited by Mary Craig, 2002. Reprinted by arrangement with Shambhala Publications, Boston,

James's comment: This is indeed something that I have to work on and it could not have come at a better time. I have been so furious over the slow response of federal support to the victims of Hurricane Katrina and it's aftermath that I have allowed my overly sensitive side take over. I have a hard time maintaining peace when I see injustice happening. I need to learn to breath more when I get angry and not let it rage and burn out of control. That isn't going to help the victims as much as if I was more calm about it all.

Still, I think it is important to be outraged at certain things but to use that energy for something positive. That is why I am hoping to be able to go down to New Orleans (if they need volunteers) to help folks rebuild their houses/lives.

Thank-you for the reminder my great teacher HH the Dalai Lama.

May the victims of Hurricane Katrina and it's aftermath find some peace and have their suffering reduced.

-Peace to all beings-

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Zen Unbound said...


According to Integral Psychology, the stage in one's worldview that is the precursor to enlightenment is the so-called "Sensitive Self."

The way out of problems that heightened sensitivity causes is not so much to be less sensitive as it is to be circumspective.

Note that HH is talking about "minor things," and "taking things too personally."

I believe you passion re Katrina is not about something minor, nor are you thinking of personal difficulties. Your intention to act as a volunteer is evidence of this.

"James" said...


Thank-you so very much for the encouragement. You are right that my passion re: Katrina is not about something minor. It pains me to see such suffering on such a monumental scale and I would give up everything to help these people.

I sincerely want to see everyone's suffering reduced and help them see the path that might lead them out of that suffering.

This of course may not always be Buddhism but whatever their heart seems to connect with the most.

That is my goal. I take the path of the Bodhisattva to be an honor and a strong responsibility.

Again Tom, thank-you for the kind words and reassurance. I needed it.

Beth said...

james, i once asked a wise buddhist teacher what i should do with all of the anger i feel towards cruelty and injustice. she said that perhaps anger is the appropriate response! i was surprised by her answer. but then i thought about it, and it's true. it was anger over how animals are treated that turned me vegetarian. and it's your anger that is prompting you to go to new orleans to help (be safe, please). i think the key is not to cling to the anger, but to find a way to transform it into positive action. i think anger is ok here. as long as we don't get swallowed up in it, and allow it to be destructive to us and to others. what comes through in your post, though, is compassion, not anger.

james said...

Haiku: Thank-you for your insight. Now that I have stepped away from it all for a few days I can see and agree that anger can be positive sometimes. AS you said, If it helps motivate you to do better. I too became vegetarian over the anger I had with the treatment of animals. I appreciate your thoughts as always.

(bows to the buddha within you).

zlyrica said...

If one look deep enough, one will realise it's actually compassion that makes us to realise, jump into action or awake to the injustice or help of other sentient beings. There is this interconnectness of being that make us no different from one and other.

Anger is insubstantial and often a protrayal of one's habitual reaction. Compassion is, however, naturally already within us...

May all be well and happy :)

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