Posted by: Michael Rickicki | 11/27/2018

Tonglen and Fear

Last night on my way home from work I found myself sitting in a two seater at the end of the car. I was spending my time breathing in suffering and out merit and metta. At one point, I opened my eyes and raised my head at which point I caught the eye of a young man sitting diagonally across from me.

Initially he appeared to be a “normal” guy and so I just closed my eyes and went back to tonglen. Suddenly I notice he’s gotten up and has quickly headed overt to my seat. He sits Dian and opens the doors between the cars, pulls out a cigarette and lights it. At this point the two girls sitting across from me get up and make their way to different seats so it is just and I.

I realize that this is an excellent opportunity to practice and literally breathe in the smoke he’s exhaling and breathe out metta to him. As is the case with many of those who are the mentally disturbed, huhis actions are quick and jerky so he suddenly puts or his cigarette and moves to the empty bench across from me.

He them removes his shoes and starts to make himself comfortable. Despite the small and the initial revulsion, I was determine to stay and learn from the situation. How can I claim to practice tonglen, to pursue a path to sammasambodhi and yet surrender to feat and disgust so easily?

So I say there with eyes cracked open and did tonglen for him as the waves of fear and anxiety washed over me. I felt that at any moment he could jump up and attack me but I considered the pains of hell and the way in which the Venerable Ariya Mogallana was beaten to death and I steeled my will. I didn’t feel ready if I were to be stabbed to death but when would I?

At I’ve point we even locked eyes for a few seconds bit I was luckily saturating is not with metta and karuna which I believe protected us both. Despite my repeated failures and weaknesses I can at least look on this as a victory.

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Shillelagh Studies

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