Monday, 12 November 2012

Building Courage and Compassion

Building Courage and Compassion

Recently, I've been in somewhat of a dilemma about my spiritual life. I've learned quite a lot about the majority of people in this country and have come to the conclusion that many people are very exclusive; they make friends with people based on superficial traits, such as good looks and a good sense of humor. They don't really care if someone is kind, compassionate, or intelligent. Friendliness has little effect on them. They are insensitive: I heard one guy joke about the men who were beheaded in Iraq. This kind of thing makes me sick to my stomach.

This has made me very disheartened. I harbor a strong dislike for such people and that has made me discouraged about keeping my bodhisattva vows. I can't really connect with people like this, since they just want to party and have fun. Many of them cheat on their significant others just because they have the chance to. This has really affected my spiritual progress, because so much aversion has risen and clouded my mind.

My problem is that I think I became a practitioner of the middle scope-someone who aims for their own liberation from cyclic existence. I seem to have lost my will to help others or to attain enlightenment for their benefit. Since I began practicing Buddhism, there have been a few times when there was a chance for me to help other people by giving them advice. I didn't call the advice "Buddhism," but just told them things that could help them in life. But they ignored my advice and didn't even try it out. This has made me doubt whether or not I can actually help people.

Currently, I no longer believe it's possible to reach out to any of these people during this lifetime. However, sometimes I am grateful to those who supported my Dharma practice. So my altruism at the present moment is only towards those who are kind or who have been generous to me. I have no desire to extend my altruism to those who are hateful, exclude other people, and are arrogant. My plan now is just to practice and act as a good example in hopes that I can influence people through my example.

Should I force myself to do meditations on love, compassion, and altruism? I don't really feel like it. My plan is to gain more wisdom. Then, when I eventually realize the true nature of suffering and break away from it, I will understand the real situation that all sentient beings are in. Perhaps then compassion will arise.

What do you think?

Bhikshuni Thubten Chodron

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