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Buddhadharma : Fall 2006
buddhadharma| 21 |fall 2006 tion from that wind, or must avoid that wind altogether. When you make the decision to avoid another person, it is important to realize that this is a question of your strength and not the inherent evil of the other. If you say, “Well, I realize it is possible that this relationship could go another way, but given our stories, or our history, or the force of the emotions that arise, that is not happening,” you are still leaving space in yourself for the goodness of that person to exist, even though right now you do not find it possible to meet that other person in that space of goodness. In the end, it is important to realize that we are never really talking about others; we are always talking about our- selves. If you think in terms of black and white, good and evil, you are not work- ing well with yourself; you are closing something off in yourself. So while you must be honest and deal with each situ- ation according to your capacity (which includes avoiding those situations that cause you harm), always acknowledge the space within yourself that recognizes the possibility that goodness exists in everyone, that all beings are inherently buddha. That space within you can never be destroyed, and if nourished, will ripen as your awakened mind. However, that space within you can be obscured by fear and by black-and-white thinking. That is the enemy to be avoided. ZenKei blanChe harTman: Indeed, the teaching of the Buddha does emphasize compassion for all beings, as well as the wisdom of no-self, as attributes of an awake being. However, I have never seen compassion described as “trying to reach the ‘soft spot’ in others’ hearts in order to communicate with them.” In the last issue of Buddhadharma (Summer 2006) there is a dharma talk by Master Sheng Yen. On page 42 he says, “Compassion is not sympathy, compas- sion has no fixed recipients, and com- passion is without a goal. Compassion is impartially benefiting all sentient beings in just the right way.” As I understand this teaching, if we are not clinging to self, and if we are impar- tially com-passionate (literally “with suffering”), we will intuit “just the right way,” necessary in this particular circum- stance to benefit this particular being. This can happen because we are actually SKILLFUL MEANS ENGAGED BUDDHISM WILD MIND Santa Fe, New Mexico • www.upaya.org • 505.986.8518 uPAYA zen center