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The Dalai Lama

Discussion in 'Pre-Medical - MD' started by Ai, Sep 12, 2001.

  1. Ai

    Ai Senior Member
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    I have a book by the Dalai Lama called The Path To Tranquility. It has words of wisdom for each day of the year. The passage for September 11 reads:

    Since we have a natural compassion in us, and that compassion has to manifest itself, it might be good to awaken it. Violence done to an innocent person, for example, can make us indignant, scandalize us, and in doing so help us to discover our compassion. By its very violence, television might keep us in a state of alert. However, it is very dangerous if violence leads to indifference. Thus, a central point of our teaching is how to reach nonattachment without falling into indifference.


    I found it interesting that as I sat in front of the TV all day yesterday, the pictures I was seeing on TV were not as surprising as they should have been. I've seen such scenes before countless times on TV and in movies. The difficult part was trying to internalize that it was real.

    I think that we have make a conscious effort to challenge ourselves and those around us not to fall in to racial/religious stereotypes. This will only increase the depth of this tragedy.

    My heart goes out to all of you who have lost someone.
     
  2. 6 to 8 Weeks

    6 to 8 Weeks Member
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    I'm sorry, I am still a little emotional right now because of this tragedy but the last sentence bothers me. How can you be nonattached without being indifferent? Does that mean being in the middle? I don't agree. I think we should be passionate about praying for the familes and the victims and actively working to do our part. We are attached to this, we are all americans.
     
  3. Ai

    Ai Senior Member
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    I agree, the concept of non-attachment vs indifference is difficult to get your mind around from a Western point of view. I took a class last semester about Eastern philosophy and this is still a difficult concept for me. Knowing how it would be taken (because of my reaction when we first started discussing this in my class) I was going to leave it out. I included because it was part of the text and is a foundation of Buddhist and Taoist philosophy. I wish I had a strong enough grasp of the philosophy to explain it properly.

    Of course we should be passionate about praying for all the families. I believe that most of us are. Although there seems to be a few who are not taking an enlightened approach to this (the hate crimes and racist remarks), this seems to have brought out the best in most people, not only in this country, but in many. I apologize if I came across as suggesting anything otherwise.
     
  4. 6 to 8 Weeks

    6 to 8 Weeks Member
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    I am sorry. If it is anyone apologizing, it is me. I started out disclaiming that I am emotional right now, for obvious reasons. Because of this, my statements are coming out rather strong.

    On the eastern philosophy note, I am a little bit familiar with Buddhist philosophy, so I do understand what a little bit about the unattached vs. indifference you talk about. I just don't understand what's wrong with being attached to "this" world. What is so good about escaping to nothingness/nirvana?
     
  5. jdub

    jdub Senior Member
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    just a note on attachment:

    from what i understand with respect to buddism, is that being attached to something is pointless because of the fact that the only constant to existence is impermanence(ie everything is under a constant state of change). with that said, it is unbeneficial to get attached to something because what one gets attached to at one moment is not the same thing in the next moment.

    BUT, i think that this definitely does not mean that somebody should not love and be a very compassionate person. more so, i think that one just has to understand that being attached to anything (this is only with respect to what attachment means to in buddism) will only cause failure, because of the previous concept of impermanence.

    on the other hand, we should be extremely loving and giving to all things and beings, because of another concept called emptiness.

    from what i understand, this concept states that there is "emptiness" because nothing exists on its own, in other words, all things are connected (a good example of this is in sidhartha when he finally realizes the true meaning of life at towards the end of the book when he is on the river bank he picks up a rock and says something to the effect that the rock is him, a tree, and everyone (one really has to think about how this could happen if they believe in reincarnation)).

    being loving and compassionate, is directly and indirectly in ones favor. not only because one is creating good karma, but also because by spreading love and happiness to others, one will also share in the happiness.

    seeing that i have a limited knowledge on the subject, i could be wrong, but the above stuff makes a lot of sense to me (not that it is that easy to keep it in mind during the times when it is needed most, though).

    also, nothingness or nirvana seems to me to pretty much be equivalent to heaven. it is a good thing because one is taken out of the cycle of death and rebirth and lives as one with everything.

    to be quite honest, i find a lot of these concepts to be quite hard to grasp. being western and all, christianity just seems to put things in a lot more concrete terms. eastern philosophies . . . i don't think i will ever quite grasp their true nature.
     

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