28 April 2011

Precept IX

It hit me like a ton of bricks.

I was busy playing the prosecuting attorney, laying out detailed, sound and flawless arguments concerning the unsatisfactoriness of a situation.  I left no holes open.  I approached it from every angle.  I mustered evidence.  I anticipated rebuttals.  I called witnesses.  I had a line of cross-examination ready for the defendant. 

After doing something else for a while, I came back to my task.  I rehearsed the arguments again.  Made some editorial corrections.  Packed a bigger punch.

More time went by with me totally engrossed in the matter at hand, working it over, and over, and over again.

And then, for the first time in my life, I said to myself (just as all of this had been said to myself), "Hold on.  Just who am I saying all this to?"

And just as immediately I realized, "Shit, I'd be embarrassed go on like this if there actually were someone listening!  Who would endure hearing all this?"

And then I stopped.

I looked around the room.  I looked out the window.  I heard the birds.  I came to my senses, and then I went on with my day like a sane man would, leaving all of that behind.

Even now I can't help laughing when I think about it: "Just who did I think I was talking to?"

Bodhidharma described the process perfectly:
Self-nature is subtle and mysterious.  In the realm of the selfless Dharma, not contriving reality for the self is called the Precept of Not Indulging in Anger.

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