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Is Goodwill amid Hostility possible?
July 16, 2007
6:38 pm
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Is Goodwill amid Hostility possible? Thich Nat Hanh seems to think so.

Is this what the US needs to acquire to wind up the Iraq war in a win-win way? It won't cost a brass razzo - only a little mental effort. Is President Bush and his party up to it mentally?

Source: http://www.bangkokpost.com/New.....news17.php

Maintaining goodwill amid hostility

Deep listening and loving speech as a way to solve the southern strife? No, this is not a joke or preacher's advice that has
no place in real life. It is a piece of advice from Zen master Thich Nhat Hanh who lives his life to show us by example that
being Buddhist is not about reciting prayers, giving alms or going to the temples.

But it is about maintaining goodwill amid hostility. It is about making peace a reality in our daily life, be it in our personal relationships, our work, or with other groups in society.

And most important of all, it is about cultivating mindfulness and peace in ourselves.

On Visakha Bucha Day today, his is timely advice we should contemplate on.

Deep listening and loving speech has been the main theme of Thich Nhat Hanh's public talks during his current visit to Thailand,
where anxiety, fear and hatred is fully blown at a time when Thai Buddhists should be able to joyfully commemorate the day
marking the Lord Buddha's birth, enlightenment and the end of his cycles of birth and death.

In his talk entitled "Non-discriminatory Love," Thich Nhat Hanh directly addressed the ethnicity-linked violence in the deep
South and offered a Buddhist way out, step by step.

First, however, he reminded us what meditation and true love means.

"To meditate is to be there, to observe, to see deeply. The work is similar to the work of scientists. We should have the
object and time to look deeply into that object, to understand
its true nature."

True love (brahma vihara) in Buddhism, meanwhile, is non-discriminatory and inclusive (upekkha). It is based on
our capacity to love and make our loved ones happy (metta), to free them from suffering (karuna) and to offer them joy
(mudita) by doing our best to understand their needs without imposing ourselves on them.

It follows, then, that we need to meditate on the nature of terrorism.

And any effort to undo it must be based on loving kindness and understanding to live as one, not a desire to eliminate
and oppress.

In Buddhism, violence results from fear, hate and anger stemming from wrong perceptions.

The southern violence is no different.

To win over hate and anger, re-establish communications and remove wrong perceptions in any violent situation is possible
through sincerity, empathy and lots of loving kindness.

This requires deep listening and loving speech.

The southern violence is no different.

Thich Nhat Hanh's advice: Organise peace dialogues. Recruit the best of Buddhist and Muslim brothers and sisters who can listen deeply and who can use loving speech. Allow anger from the oppressed to be expressed freely. Look deeply into their pain in order to understand them.

Refrain from stopping them or making excuses, despite accusations and blame. Apologise when realising our wrongs which create the belief that we are out to destroy the other party's way of life and religion. Apologise for the wrong perceptions we ourselves harbour about them. And introduce information to
correct their wrong perceptions only bit by bit later, not during the listening sessions, to avoid imposing our views.

The chance to speak up freely and the feeling of being fully accepted as equals is healing. Deep listening is, therefore,
loving kindness in action, which waters the seeds of love and understanding in both parties.

"It is the only way to peace," said the Zen master.

For him, the Buddhist approach to the southern strife must be in line with non-discriminatory love and deep understanding
of oneness.

"The Buddhists are like our right hand. The Islamic brothers and sisters are like our left hand. If you make one side suffer,
you suffer. If we can take care of each other like our left and right hand, we can restore peace."

Sanitsuda Ekachai is Assistant Editor (Outlook), Bangkok Post

July 16, 2007
8:18 pm
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I like this.

July 16, 2007
9:42 pm
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ggfred4
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tez, I felt peaceful just reading what you wrote.

I have a question though. You wrote: "introduce information to correct their wrong perceptions only bit by bit later, not during the listening sessions, to avoid imposing our views." The part "to correct their wrong perceptions" is what I am struggling with. Who is to say who is wrong if everyone has their own perceptions?

Could you explain that part further to me when you can?

gg

July 16, 2007
11:09 pm
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Tez are you saying to be passive?

Love the terrorists to death?

Peace dialogues- what if they don't want to talk?

I like what you said. I don't think it's realistic with terrorists.

See, I have my own terrorist- the ex monster. I did this ( the Zen peace solution) for a few years after which time he wound up getting arrested, tried, and convicted of stalking me- death threats, pets killed, the whole nine yards. Apparently what caused the escalation was my unwillingness to fight him which ultimately nearly wound up in my death and the death of my children.

so I dunno. I think the terrorist mind is different. I don't think we understand it, and I'm not convinced that Zen solutions can work with them.

free

July 17, 2007
1:57 pm
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It will dispel negative energy, which would be very helpful right now.

I think Humility is a necessary ingredient though.

July 18, 2007
6:43 pm
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Tez,

Does this have anything to do at all with Shambhalla?

July 19, 2007
2:13 am
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Nest I can tell, Shamballah is a sort of secular version of Tantra.

July 19, 2007
3:40 am
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ggfred4

On the 16-Jul-07 you wrote:

"I have a question though. You wrote: "introduce information to correct their wrong perceptions only bit by bit later, not during the listening sessions, to avoid imposing our views."

I would love to accept the credit for writing this article but I didn't. I only cut pasted and highlighted what the (Zen)Vietnamese Chan Buddhist Master Thich Nat Hanh said.

You followed on with:

"The part "to correct their wrong perceptions" is what I am struggling with. Who is to say who is wrong if everyone has their own perceptions?"

Thich Nat Hanh was referring to when the other party had obviously misconstrued some statement or had attributed wrong motives to the their actions.

"Could you explain that part further to me when you can?"

For example, I see a brick falling from a building and is about to hit you. I yell at you very loudly "Get out of the way!" and I push you aside. Assuming that you did not see the brick go hurtling bye you might assume that I was being very rude and disrespectful to you. You might assume that you were physically assaulted by me as I pushed you to one side. These may have been your "wrong perceptions".

Thich Nat Hana is saying that I should patiently and compassionately listen to you berate me for my 'rudeness and aggression'. He then suggests that I should "introduce information to correct" your "wrong perceptions only bit by bit later, not during the listening sessions, to avoid imposing" my "views."

Thich Nat Hanh's basis for this is that by really listening to you and making you aware that I am thoroughly understanding your perceptions of my behavior, your anger will dissipate to a large extent. Then you might be in an emotional state that is more receptive to listening to my perceptions of the danger that you were in from being hit by the falling brick.

Let's imagine what would happen if I didn't take Thich Nat Hanh's advice and screamed abuse back at you for being an ungrateful so and so. What if I said: "You can go to hell next time I see you in this situation." You probably would be more angry than ever and the whole thing could blow up into 'fisty cuffs' before the situation can be settled amicably. By then the situation would have deteriorated too far for any reconciliation. Thus a mini 9/11 erupts with the original cause of the conflict long forgotten!

Some historians moot the idea that the seeds of 9/11 were planted in the misunderstandings, misperceptions, poor dialogue and the outright skullduggery of the nations who carved up the Arab territories in WW1(El Lawrence of Arabia stuff).

I hope that helps explain Thich's position.

July 19, 2007
9:51 am
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Tez,

Thank you so much for the answer. The analogy was great! It really helped a lot.

gg

July 19, 2007
11:35 am
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Question:

What happened to my thread?

July 19, 2007
6:36 pm
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What do ya mean?

July 19, 2007
10:46 pm
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hi free,
I had a thread titled 'Shambhalla', ...a friend wrote to me about it, and I wanted to find out more about it. When I researched it , I still did not comprehend the jist of it, so knowing that there are those here who may know about it, I put out the thread. Now it's gone.

July 19, 2007
11:12 pm
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free
16-Jul-07

"Tez are you saying to be passive?"

No.

"Love the terrorists to death?"

No - but even wild animals respond to love eventually if given the chance.

Loving yourself implies taking the necessary steps to avoid putting oneself into harm's way. But blowing someone's head off with a deadly weapon to protect yourself is guaranteed to see his father, brothers, cousins etc come looking for payback with interest. There is no lasting peace in trying to kill all who perceive things differently to you.

"Peace dialogues- what if they don't want to talk?"

In any conflict it only gets to that stage when there has been too much blood and water of misunderstanding and wrong perceptions flowing under the bridge. Neither Guantanamo Bay nor Abu Graib prisons did anything to encourage any dialogue to correct these misperceptions regarding the American constitution, justice and righteousness. All men created equal? Freedom? Pursuit of happiness? As long as you say and do what Bush wants in Bush's best interests?

I prefer Clinton and his cigar. At least 'what's her name' might have got a thrill out of it.

If you want to win the hearts and minds of a population over, you cannot do so while pointing a gun at their heads.

July 19, 2007
11:32 pm
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OMW.

The URL:

http://www.anunda.com/notebook.....ballah.htm

contained this summing up paragraph:

"Shamballa is US_HERE_NOW ..the Magical expression of the open_mind and open_heart but, we are so busy looking with our linear minds for something "up_there" or "out_there", for Salvation from some male_or_female "Super_Natural_Being that we have forgotten that every time we do, that Parasite of our Fear destroys a little more of the Magic ..

Shamballa is the infinitude_of_who_we_are, the Magical_Natural_Being in our own Heart Intelligence."

These words are describing that which is undescribable in words.

To understand the state of mind called nirvana, shamballa, enlightenment or Pure Mind one has to transcent the dualistic perceptions of self and other.

July 20, 2007
3:48 pm
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Tez,

"one has to transcent the dualistic perceptions of self and other."

Does 'other' here refer to a super natural being outside of one self? Or does it mean conflict between self and self, or conflict between self and another human being, or am I totally off base?

Thank you for the web reference and answering my question.

July 21, 2007
10:14 pm
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20-Jul-07

"Tez,

"one has to transcent the dualistic perceptions of self and other."

Does 'other' here refer to a super natural being outside of one self?"

No - the 'other' to which I refer is all other; that is, that 'other' which is not the 'self'.

It comes so naturally to us to say "my body, my mind, my brain, my this and my that".

We have this imaginary 'self' that possesses 'things'. Yet this 'self', that is independent of that which it possesses, seems very real to us. But where does it reside? In the centre of the head? In the brain? Where are its boundaries?

If this self possesses a brain, then how can it be a part of that same brain that it possesses? How can something possess itself?

But the illusion of the existence of a separate, independent entity that we call my 'self' persists. But who and where is this 'I' that possesses this 'self'?

Please don't misunderstand me to be saying that your mind, body, brain doesn't exist. I am not saying that at all.

What I am saying is that everything is interdependent without even a smidgen of a real boundaries existing anywhere except as figments of our dualistic, demarcating imagination.

It is this imagination that creates the boundaries around this 'I' to define what is 'other than' this 'I'. This subject-object mentality is called dualistic thinking. But what separates the subject from the object or another subject?

For example, when you look in the mirror you see what you think is your 'self'. Is your hair a part of that self? If it is then when you get a hair cut is that part of your self that is left lying on the floor?

Exactly when does your food cross the boundary of self and 'other than self' to become 'you'? Where is this boundary? Your mouth? There isn't one.

I find it instructive to use this powerful imagination of ours to reduce our imaginary self to the size of an electron in our brain. What would we perceive? A whirling, buzzing interplay of 'sub-atomic particles' that have no perception of an OMW atom and an atom that is not OMW. Even these so-called 'particles' are not discrete entities but consist of other so called 'constituents' - more imaginary demarcation.

If consciousness can exist 'independent' of the brain, and I believe that in a sense it does, what can possibly contain, restrict, fence in that consciousness other than its own imagined boundaries?

This delusion of duality, that is, the imagined existence of a separated self from other lies at the very heart of all human suffering, not to mention anger, greed, misperceptions and other things that lead to humman conflict.

If you think this separation of your self from something other than you really exists, then identify, define, describe, delineate this exact boundary that separates your 'self' from what is 'not you'.

You might need to find a quiet time and place somewhere to deeply churn over the workings of your own mind to see its little 'games' in the 'light' of what I have written.

July 22, 2007
12:27 am
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Tez!

"I prefer Clinton and his cigar. At least 'what's her name' might have got a thrill out of it."

Ah- Slick Willie and his Swisher Sweets!

July 23, 2007
8:37 pm
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Te,
I like this, it flows well and makes sense. I will need to print it out and read it more than once to reply.

July 24, 2007
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I see some interesting similarities.

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