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Buddhadharma : Spring 2006
spring 2006| 50 |buddhadharma we cannot get rid of kleshas and get out of the samsaric state of mind. But ignorance does not have any emergent negative reaction. It is in the background. Therefore, it is something you work on slowly, step by step. While its effect is clearly negative, it is neither dramatic nor tragic. Attachment is like water. Our life is filled with attachment and it adapts itself to whatever situa- tion we are in. It has negative aspects – it creates lots of suffering and pain. But it also has some positive aspects – it is associated with love and compassion. It will not dry out very quickly, but it doesn’t have the immediate and fearsome destruc- tive energy of anger. Anger, which is like fire, burns and burns. It burns you, it burns the other person, it burns everybody around. It has the most negative effect of all. At the same time, it flares up quickly and can quickly die. Therefore, it can be a little easier to deal with. But at the same time, because of its strong negative effects, it is also the most emergent of the defilements. Therefore, the sutra says anger is the first and most important thing we need to work on. So, right at the outset, if we work with anger, we can have an immediate effect for the good. Guy ArmstronG: From the Theravadin point of view, the practice and teachings of sila, discipline, are a way to safeguard our actions. The kleshas are strong internally. By exercising restraint – through the precepts, right speech, the other aspects of the eightfold path, and so forth – we inhibit the action of the klesha, and we stop spreading around so much suffering. As Blanche was saying, that limits the karmic impact on us and others. At the same time, it can be very humbling to see that as much as we try to meditate and keep our good intentions, our words and actions do get away from us. In that case, we simply have to make space to realize we’re human. Learning on the cushion how to relate with these states inwardly does tend to give us a little more space when they arise in daily life. That little bit of space gives us more choices about whether to remain quiet, whether to speak, and if we speak, what to say. We start to develop the fine art of letting go inwardly while being restrained outwardly. It’s quite a dance to try to do both of those at the same time, but that’s how the inner silent work and the work on the outer relationship operate together. ColleCtionofshelleyanDDonalDrubinwww.himalayanart.org Attack of the Maras Buryatia, 19th century