|Forest Sangha Newsletter||April 1989|
Question: What does Buddhism teach about love?
Answer: Buddhism teaches that love has to be understood. We attach to an idea of love: love is 'liking' something. Sometimes we use love very loosely and not very carefully; but to really love something in the Buddhist sense means to allow it, to know it as it is, and to be willing to listen and be attentive ... like when a mother loves a child and the child just is the way it is. The mother can be attentive to that child's needs. It doesn't mean that the mother always likes it when the child is screaming and not sleeping in the middle of the night - but she's willing to be with that being. So the Buddha taught - as I understand it - that the purest form of love is actually not fighting something, not struggling against - something, but allowing that thing to live, to be present in ones consciousness; then one can be attentive to it.
We're talking about harmony, talking about peace, but actually haven't even begun from the very basic level.
|Question: What is the Buddhist attitude to social work and engagement in social issues - doing things to help, anything practical? 1s it entirely impractical?|
Answer: There's this idea that there's a great gap between action and contemplation. This is what we're beginning to see in physics: that the act of looking at something has a tremendous effect. How you look at the world creates your whole world, your whole attitude - of indignation, of liking it, of not liking it - it's very much from your attitude.
|Each person in the Buddhist Way, when they start to contemplate what Right Speech is, what Right livelihood is, when they start to find from their own heart what is the most appropriate way - they can be of benefit to the whole. While doing that they don't ignore being mindful and attentive, because that mindfulness will always see that what they do is kept in balance and is not misguided by Wrong View.|
So its a slow process maybe; but it encourages each being to grow up, to use the wisdom that they have, and to open up from being just concerned with this body or this little family, or this country, or this political party - to just keep opening up to the whole. If you take sides with one little group, it can lead to so much trouble - but the open mind just senses
Question: Is it really a question of understanding yourself before you can help anybody else?
Answer: There's a problem in the logic in that. When you write it down in a sentence, it makes it sound like you have to do all that selfunderstanding first and then -after you've become a Buddha, or after you've become an arahant-then you can go out and help people; and before thet you can't do anything. Really it doesn't work out that way, both aspects work together all the time. Like myself: I felt really good going around helping all the monks do yoga, helping my teacher, running around always doing something; but then when I became ill and found myself unable to do anything, I was totally incapable of really being at peace with things as they were. There was no real Wisdom, and a lot of my action came out of desperation - desperation actually tainted and misguided some pf what I was doing.
what do you think? sounds OK to me.
sounds OK to me.
|Question: Is it going to lead to a universal impracticality if we take up Buddhism? ... How do you feel about going into our technological world and making the changes that are needed?|
Answer: One thing: it really isn't for me to make proclamations of what Buddhists think and feel - because there's no such statement. This whole Teaching is a path towards Awakening. Each of us is sitting here from a different position in this room, each of us has a different perspective. and for me to tell others what they should do and what they should see is difficult.
* Ven. Kittisaro almost died of typhoid fever during his initial training in Thailand. When he returned to England he experienced a three-year period of serious illness, and eventually was diagnosed as having Crohn's Disease. Since that time he has been learning acommodate and work with this condition. suffering wherever it happens to be and then makes an effort to alleviate that. Yes, its a crime that the world has so much suffering in it now and that we have so much power-yet we haven't alleviated a lot of the basic problems: that's very unfortunate. But the problem won't be solved by trying to force people to do it. It'll be solved by giving attention to it and each person doing what they can.