Posted by: Michael Rickicki | 06/01/2018

Training for the Saw

In the Simile of the Saw in the Kakacupama Sutta, the Lord Buddha asserts the bar high. If we wish to truly embody his Dhamma, we must not let our minds be overcome with hate, regardless of how we are treated. I shared an excerpt yesterday from a book by Jeffery Hopkins that describes a Tibetan technique to cultivate compassion by imagining oneself in horrifying situations. Whether we imagine being tortured in a literal Hell or beaten to death by a partisan mob, doing so well good to a heart of sympathy will at once profoundly change or perspective and make us worthy of being considered true children of the Blessed One.

As someone who is already prone to worry and aversion, this practice has opened new vistas onto the world. By engaging with horripilation and refusing to give in to anger and hatred the idea of an engaged social justice begins to make some sense.

Imagine my children being ripped away from me at the border as I flee from murderers seeking asylum. Can I abide without hated for the CPD agents and immigration judges who seem to act cruelly for no reason? Imagine being accosted and murdered by police simply for being black? Can I maintain equanimity and metta in that situation?

In a world that is seemingly hurtling towards a violent conclusion I can think of few better practices to prepare oneself.

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Shillelagh Studies

A hub for the music, culture, knowledge, and practice of Irish stick-fighting, past and present.