From A Policy of Kindness: An Anthology of Writings By and About The Dalai Lama:
From a deep point of view, while we don’t have our independence and are living in someone else’s country, we have a certain type of suffering, but when we return to Tibet and gain our independence, then there will be other types of suffering. So, this is just the way it is. You might think that I’m pessimistic, but I am not. This is the Buddhist realism. This is how, through Buddhist teaching and advice, we handle situations. When fifty thousand people in the Shakya clan were killed one day, Shakyamuni Buddha, their clansman, didn’t suffer at all. He was leaning against a tree, and he was saying, “I am a little sad today because fifty thousand of my clansmen were killed.” But he, himself, remained unaffected. Like that, you see (laughter). This was the cause and effect of their own karma. There was nothing he could do about it. These sorts of thoughts make me stronger; more active. It is not at all a case of losing one’s strength of mind or will in the face of the pervasive nature of suffering.
Whew. I’m glad the Buddha also said that stuff about not taking what he said as gospel, but also figuring out for yourself what resonates…
Yeah, exactly. And ironically, that freedom of discernment makes me want to engage with ideas that challenge me. So I’m more likely to sit with them for a while and try to understand where the person is coming from, rather than immediately trying to deflect them because I feel assaulted. It gives more space to the idea itself, and to my own opinions, too, because with time I’m able to detail exactly where I might agree, and where I disagree.
Hope you have an awesome residency, Jeff! Let me know which advisor you’ll be working with!
I want to “default” to the “giving space to the ideas” more than I do…thanks for the encouragement-by-example.
No residency here…perhaps you have another Jeff in mind? I came to your blog after reading your fantastic posts on Feministe–though we may have run into each other at some point at EBMC…
Oh, my bad! Haha, yes, different Jeff. Thanks for coming to check out my spot! I hope we do run into each other at EBMC sometime.