Friday, April 7, 2006

Bodhi-er than thou

Ever feel that way?

With all the ways in which I try to convey my humility, to point out that what I write here isn't meant to be taken as a dharma talk from a wise sage, that mostly when I use "we" I am mostly referring to "me", etc., I still sometimes feel like am being pious or Bodhi-er (or simply bodhier) than thou. It's like, "Oh, I see, that post on the other blog is clearly from someone who hasn't grasped teaching A/B/C", or even looking at my own stuff I think "What pompous jerk is spouting these gems of the amazingly obvious?" And I it isn't limited to Buddhism and blogging. I judge people harshly all the time. Of course we tend to sweep such thoughts away or try to replace them, perhaps not even admitting they were ever there. But denial isn't the answer. As a limited karmic being, though I aspire for generosity and equanamity, I sometimes can truly suck at being fair or balanced. May I learn to view myself and myself through the eyes of a Buddha. And for that I need honesty about myself and others, not inflated self-delusion.


10 comments:

  1. tiny -- er, bigthinker,
    I agree with what you're saying here. I think of it as being in constrast to the idea of a need to love oneself, voiced a few days ago in Integral Options Cafe ["Who I am and Who I Want to Be"], and in The Buddhist Blog ["Don't Hate the Hate"].

    I'm with you! We need to see ourselves as the pompous, unbearable, miserly, anal retentive jerks that we truly are. THIS, THIS is what's healthy.

    The universe needs more modesty, and less pompousity! I mean, does anybody really think that the problems in the world are that we are too hard on ourselves? I mean, we are destroying the planet, we want more services and less taxes, we are each heavily oiled, perfumed and sprayed. We are each little royals, envious of the next guys' bigger crown.

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  2. *snorts with recognition at the quandry*

    I just remarked to my mother this morning on the phone that I'm trying to be meek and humble, "and it's not coming very naturally!"

    She laughed. I mean, the woman knows I'm a pompous pain the tail.

    I have no nuggets of wisdom, but--hey. Honesty's a start. So's a sense of humour, and--as my granddad would say--"a swift kick in the pants," provided we can find a teacher with good aim.

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  3. Damn that Soen Joon! Her comment seems more meek and humble than my post. What's with this "I have no nuggets of wisdom" stuff that makes her appear kind and gentle while, in contrast, I'm a horse's patoot.

    Hey, wait a minute. My Mind can can rearrange things to fix this!

    Yes, I know: Soen Joon is being bodhi-er than I was! Ha ha, Soen Joon. YOU LOSE!

    [Subliminal thought: THIS comment is extraordinarily clever. People will all love me now. And I will DESERVE that love. All the people's love is MINE, MINE, MINE.]

    [[Subliminal thought about the subliminal thought above: This comment is very postmodern. I am SOOO cool!]]

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  4. Bodhi-er then thou? I LOVE IT!!

    That is wonderful that you are so honest with yourself. I too judge people as if I'm some sort of "expert" on "Buddhism" or even life in general!!

    How dare I?!! :)

    I don't have any "answers" but I sure still try to "save" the world!! Boy o boy, now THAT is a "God" complex!!!!

    Damn, I better get back on the cushion. :)

    Tom, you crack me up. Of COURSE you are cool. That's a given!!!

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  5. Waaaaaait a minute, Buddhist Blog Blogger! Calling me cool makes you more loving and giving than me! Damn you, Buddhist Blog Blogger! I'll get you yet! And your little dog, too.

    Bwah-ha-ha! Bwah-ha-ha-ha-ha-ha!!

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  6. *sigh*

    Me too. It's a persistent problem. One thing I recently found that helps me a little is to dedicate any merit I might gain from being Bodhi-er than anyone... If you are holding on the the merits of practicing, give them away, and they won't be such a burden, right? Right.

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  7. amanzi,

    That is easier if the merits are paid in cash.

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  8. tom said: I agree with what you're saying here. I think of it as being in constrast to the idea of a need to love oneself...

    They don't have to be seen in contrast--there is a difference between self-absorption or infatuation with our ego's false image and actual love. Deep love is accepting, so that we can admit our faults rather than denying them without fear of rejection. Such love is neither within nor without--ubiquitous and all pervasive--embracing and transforming all it touches.

    (sorry, been busy, a little late in responding, it's great to see all the replies--thanks to all who read and/commented!)

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  9. I don't know, tiny thinker. Some things can be overwritten.

    St. Francis met many difficulties, Christ was crucified, somebody hurled a rock and broke Buddha's foot.

    Met with mystical insight [or whatever other name it goes by] can be self transforming, making us lovestruck and fearless. It CAN affect many we know or meet.

    Being authentic, as an act of will, can be transforming, too. Putting our inner- and outer-selves in sync, and causing some elements of egoity to evaporate.

    I think of "Deep Love" as being neither accepting nor non-accepting. If you ignore specific context and think of the following words of Rumi as mystical:

    The Beloved is all in all; the lover merely veils Him;
    The Beloved is all that lives, the lover a dead thing.

    [Yipes. Am I sounding Bodhi-er than thou!?]

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  10. I think of "Deep Love" as being neither accepting nor non-accepting. If you ignore specific context and think of the following words of Rumi as mystical:

    The Beloved is all in all; the lover merely veils Him;
    The Beloved is all that lives, the lover a dead thing.


    It may be semantics, but there is a difference between conditional acceptance and unconditional acceptance. The former presupposes the need to make a choice, the latter simply is. In other words, it's always available without discrimination or requirements. Because of that, our relationship to it is couched in an imperfect frame in discussion, but for me love=acceptance, so even in a non-personified view it doesn't alter this significance. If one wishes to be free of all frames and their penchant for being misleading, then any description, even a name, would be too much. It is a constantly unfolding truth which must be experienced directly, and so it must be encountered in that way.

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