Search This Blog


Buddhism in the News


Wednesday, May 21, 2008

When We Fall.

When we fall on the ground it hurts us, but we also need to rely on the ground to get back up.

-Kathleen McDonald.

James: This reminds me of something Thich Nhat Hanh has said, that we need manure to grow roses. It's a great reminder that our problems, struggles and suffering all have benefits if we look close enough. It sure is difficult to be aware of that when you feel depressed and isolated in a hole of pain but the truth remains.

Also, I wanted to just say Happy Vesak day!! I don't have anything enlightening to say about it except to say that for me it is really poignant this year given the situation in Burma, Tibet, China in the aftermath of the earthquake, Iraq and many other places around the world in turmoil. It seems that now more than ever the world needs the Buddha's message of peace, compassion, loving-kindness and oneness.

~Peace to all beings~

Stumble Upon Toolbar


sunnyray meditations said...

Thanks for these beautiful thoughts. We all fall from time to time, and as you said, this helps us grow and expand. We just need to stand up again, as soon as possible.

Patty said...

Boy I needed this is a daily struggle for me to move past my conservative mennonite ways and be comfortable in my new skin, and when I fall flat on my face, I need to remember this quote

Burmakin said...

This message soothes many tense souls of the sufferers.On the other hand, we shouldn't neglect the passivity arising from the extreme end of this message.We could be on the eccentric end to believe that "try to inure with the evils of this world as it is the evil world,we have to live up with".

If somebody falls onto the ground of earth,he shouldn't quarrel with the earth as this is the earth he stands his feet on.This message is important in this aspect to extenuate the violent nature of we humans. Instead, he should be curious why he falls onto the ground while others do not. Is his ground uneven?Is he careless and strayed in his thoughts?Is he in a rush?Or somebody trusts him? Or it is an earthquake force as happened in China that makes him stumble down? Or it is just his Karma to fall onto the ground?

My opinion for this peaceful message is explored on another aspect of a piece of wisdom,namely prudence.If we know that falling onto the ground is not good, we should be mindful about such unfortunate risk. We need to take the measures for preventing ourselves from falling onto the ground.

The mis-happening occurring today in Burma and China are somewhat related to this example of falling onto the ground. I like to explain it in the moral aspect.For me, it is like the story of a beggar and a wealthy tycoon.In front of the great mansion and the grandiose park of the tycoon, a beggar was walking. As the road is uneven,the beggar without the foot-wears, also already devastated by malnutrition fell onto the ground.The tycoon saw this event.Nonetheless, it was not he who fell onto the ground. He was also not interested at rebuilding the road to be even as he didn't have such kind of risk the poor beggar faced as he always used his chariot for coming out and going out from his park.

One day, the tycoon was robbed by the rebels.Being afraid of his life,the tycoon tried to run away.
But this time, he couldn't use his chariot.He couldn't even have time to take on his footwears. He stepped on the uneven road.He slipped on the thorny pebbles.Then he fell off onto the ground as if happened to the beggar before. The rebels caught him easily and executed his life.Before his last breath,the tycoon repented of "ignorance of his inaction" at the time of his sight of the beggar's accident.Why he was so ignorant of the fact that there was ALWAYS a risk against him for falling onto the ground that he thought it shouldn't be him who would fall onto the ground.

Especially, I like to address such kind of last breath thinking of the enlightened tycoon to Burmese population.When we, a Burmese, see another Burmese falling onto the ground, we like to think that it is not we,who will not fall as we don't have such risk.The person who falls onto the ground is worth falling as he has bad Karma for this incident.When somebody is suffering from TB, we like to think that this person is bad and we like to just get away from him for not to be infected.When the Muslims in North Western Burma were deprived of many fundamental human rights, we liked to differentiate ourselves that as they were Muslims, they took the wrong views and were worthy for such sufferings. When Bangladesh faced many natural disasters in 1980s,we liked to believe that these wrong viewers should be punished by Buddhist gods like this. One month before this natural disaster in Burma, some government mouthpiece columnist wrote in the junta's newspaper that we as a Buddhist country will always be free from three kinds of great mis-happenings: famine,pestilence and natural disaster. However, this was also a traditional belief that validate majority of Burmese to hold a positive attitude for their oppressed living under this wicked military dictatorship.

Under the 46-year military rule in Burma, we Burmese are looking like this ignorant tycoon seeing the falling of one beggar after another.The social structures of our Burmese society are falling one after another under the crush down of this self-overprotected government.Many unfair trials,many unjustified verdicts were executed. Many lives were vainly lost in carelessness as well as intentional deprivation of this totalitarian regime.The living Burmese today, in this continuum of a ghostly atmosphere where people around him were lost one after another day and night, tried to imagine that my Karma should not be that bad to fall onto the ground.Eventually,no matter how they tend to shun away from the bad Karma,the vicious moral cycle of the triumph of evils in Burma, has now got its greatest hit on millions of lives of Burmans now.At this time, they should think about the fact that why they have already let a person falling onto the ground.Why they never have thought that why this person should fall onto and why he can't.

The principle of morality is very strict for the need of coherence.If we say the first percept,"not to kill and use violence", it does not mean violence is defined only when a million people were killed. Unfair violence against even an animal is the breakdown of this moral principle.Very bad examples of illusive Burmese thinking are- as they are Muslims, they should be treated like this; as they are non-educated barbarian Karens, they should be treated like this; as they didn't have good Karma, they should not enjoy this. As they were not Buddhists, they were not worthy of it.

There is no reason for Buddha to say that beating a Muslim is fair and beating a Buddhist is not fair. If you beat a human with violence, this is, of course, violence and you violated Buddha's rule of moral conduct.Buddha will condemn you for this immoral doing,your unfair thinking and your shameful self-proclaimed honor as a Buddhist.

Buddha ever taught Rahula, " My dear son,if it is for the principle of not telling the lies, even a funny piece of humor should not be talked".We have irresponsibly allowed countless moral misconducts of this Burmese regime;we thought in self-optimism that that still is not bad.That is a small measurement. That is not my circle of concern. That is not my circle of influence.This social passivity, tremendously ignorant validation for allowing people falling onto the ground and triumph of the legitimacy of immoral happenings strangling our society day by day,all these- finally made the stakes of million lives in this disaster.It is looking like a Buddhist story of the king caught by a Genie. The King had promised the Genie that he would reimburse the flesh of human every day for pardoning his life.First,he used the prisoners under death sentences.The public ignored that as the victims were criminals who were already dead.When the prison ran out of criminals,the king used the elderly men on the ground that they were not productive to society any more.Some suffered for their old parents but majority didn't. When the elderly were fresh out,the king used the neonates on the ground that they were not ready for production of society.Many cried in agony for their sons and daughters but still it was not them who would be fresh meat to the Genie.Then what was the final result,when all neonates were depleted? A "countrywide death lottery" every day and if you won that unlucky draw, you had to give your blood and flesh to the wicked demon for sake of the luxury and existence of this long-live brutal king.

The Western social contract theorists are essentially pessimistic in nature,meticulously defensive to fairness and justice in every available effort and assertiveness.For John Locke,it was fully legitimate to overthrow any form of tyranny.For Hayek,any form of violation of individual liberty will lead finally to the total serfdom of mankind.For Rawls, people in original position has only one key word-"finding a compromise for your minimal worst and justice as fairness is the only outlet.

When a Burmese falls onto the ground,we have never thought what kinds of unfairness drive him fall onto the ground.When the criminals were taken away for sacrifice to demon,people in ancient East never thought that they should revolt against this brutality and unfairness.By contrast,western enlightened philosophers tried to trace forth and back for origin of any piece of evil happening to their dark ages giving birth to the rise of democracy, the ability to overthrow any government who let their people fall onto the ground .They were non-Buddhists.But they were full of mindful fear.I was shy for the fact that we Burmese were never centered on mindful fear that was the greatest word uttered by Buddha in his enlightenment of India.



my related writing on traditional beliefs of Burmese Buddhists and morality:

Greenwoman said...

Been thinking about that quote for a few days James...Thanks for sharing it. ((Hugs))

ShareThis Option