The Path To Bodhichitta

You start where you are, the practice will meet you there.

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Location: Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia

Monday, December 29, 2008

Bits & Pieces

Excerpts from books I have recently read that have helped me navigate through this mist. May they hold glitters of insight for you too.

"One reason why you get into trouble like this is that you trust reason too much. Human life is rarely reasonable. You may believe that intelligent, well-meaning people can resolve any conflicts, but taht assumption itself arises out of a cloudy image of how things work. Insight usually means discovering the madness hidden in an apparently reasonable situation.

People are always on the cusp between clarity and fog. Pure unreasonableness lies like a shadow at the edge of all transactions. You may wish things were simpler but they aren't. Your only recourse is to take into account at least a moderate degree of madness in every situation you encounter."

Dark Nights of the Soul, Thomas Moore

Was this always a part of me, buried, waiting? Maybe there is a seed of malfeasance even in the most honest of people - like Patrick - that requires a certain combination of circumstances to bloom. And once it does, it takes over like loosestrife, choking out rational thought, killing compassion.
Perfect Match, Jodi Picoult

"How do you feel,"she said.

"I don't even know."

"Oh, honey."

Across the room, a Syrofoam takeout container sat open like a giant clamshell. I went over and looked inside: the remains of something in a tan sauce, plus a collapsed orange slice and a limp piece of lettuce.

"Guilty," I said. "I feel guilty. What does it say about me that I'd leave? What kind of person does it make me?"

She didn't reply for a moment, and I felt the long span between us, the miles and miles of wire. At last she spoke. "The kind of person you are."

A rush of laughter escaped me. "What?"

"It makes you the kind of person you are. People have this idea that what they do changes who they are. A married man has an affair and he thinks, Now I've become a bad person. As if something had changed."

"Meaning he already was a bad person?"

"Meaning bad isn't the issue. Meaning you do what you do. Not without consequences for other people, of course, sometimes very grave ones. But it's not very helpful to regard your choices as a series of right or wrong moves. They don't define you as much as you define them."

"You're sounding very mystical," I said. "Are you saying it was my destiny to leave?"

"Not at all-you could have just as easily have stayed. But that wouldn't make you a good person any more than leaving makes you a bad one. You are already made, honey. That's what I mean."

The Dive From Clausen's Pier, Ann Packer


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