Thursday, 11 August 2011

"A great deal of intelligence can be invested in ignorance when the need for illusion is deep"

Sometimes I wonder how it is possible I could feel so much for people I do not even know. For example, the lady I saw on the street whose both hands, limbs, legs, face and neck are filled with protruded spots /lumps all over her body. Or the grumpy and grouchy old lady on the bus who was frowning with a worried look, that I wished I could chase her troubles away. Or the half-dressed beggar sitting outside a temple ground holding up a torn cardboard to shield himself from the sun, begging for money. There are so many people I meet who are obviously facing some problem and in need of help badly.

On the other hand, I find it a little unsettling that at times when I get increasingly impatient and disappointed by people whom I know personally, their motives and actions. We are too familiar with these people and situations because they exist in our community, be it in our work place, within our extended family, our circle of friends, or within religious and hobby groups.

While it is alright if we feel compassion for those weaker than and stranger to us, I was wondering and contemplating on why we feel equally guilty and uncomfortable when we have unpleasant encounters with those we know. Like how these people "close" to us like to gossip, like to speculate the unnecessary, like to play politics. 

I recall, once I was queuing up to receive blessings from a Rinpoche. I witnessed how a lady with a haversack, turning around suddenly and rudely ticking off the man behind her, accusing him of pushing and "touching" her. The room was small, and there were probably more than 200 people trying to get to their turn. Everyone was naturally literally rubbing shoulders with one another. And perhaps the lady's own haversack on her back was bulky too. Tempers were frayed.

Yet another time, before the start of a class, some people made a big fuss about their seats. Everyone wanted a good seat, but care nothing of the person next to them. One does not realise how lucky one is being able to attend precious teachings of the Buddha in these degenerated times. Does it really matter where one is sitting in the small room?

Then there is a new found acquaintance who wasted no time in introducing herself to everyone in my circle, giving out her personal name cards listing her so-so educational qualifications and telling everyone to "call me, ok?". No, she is not selling insurance or MLM products. She is a housewife. Worse, she asked everyone 1001 questions about their background, sizing each stranger up the first time they met. I could not help but wonder what her motive was. Everyone was a little uncomfortable with her inquisitive and over-friendly manner. Then slowly I realise the character she is. Even much worse, she spoke exaggerated untruth and gossiped to my friend about me within a short span of time she knew me ie. 2 weeks. She made it sound like she is my buddy whom she has known for ages. I bailed out and became extremely wary of her. I do not know if I should feel elated because, once again, I was spot on in my analysis of her character. I quote Saul Bellow, "A great deal of intelligence can be invested in ignorance when the need for illusion is deep".

In times like this, I wish these people I come across, will perhaps try to understand the crux of the Buddha's teachings, which is ultimately teaching us not to remain victims of the 3 mental poisons; attachment, hatred, ignorance. These very poisons always never fail to rear its ugly head as long as we are still here in samsara. And I am also guilty of feeling the same way too. Khensur Rinpoche taught that... the day we are able to treat our enemies as reverently as our own mother, is the day we can reduce our own selfish attachment and develop bodhicitta. But, how many days do we have left?

As of now, I'm sad that I have a long way to go to learn and to practise.

No comments:

Post a Comment

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...