pilgrim classic: flying mountain

Originally published on 10/23/2007:

IMG_4499, originally uploaded by pilgrimgirl.

Tonite I watched an interview of housewife-turned-Buddhist-nun Pema Chodron with some friends. Chodron spoke about many common Buddhist concepts, with her own unique spin on the issues of pain and suffering and the goal to be 'fully awake.'

For me, the most provocative quotation from the program was this one:

"We are all capable of becoming fundamentalists because we get addicted to other people's wrongness."

She spoke at length about how this addiction, or 'getting hooked' as she calls it, sets off a chain reaction of suffering. By removing ourselves from the addictive cycle we can have more peace and compassion.

I love that idea. I am certainly guilty of being addicted to other people's wrongness just as I am guilty of being addicted to my own rightness. I recognize that this is a very rigid way to live, but it is so human...sigh.

What I really want...to see the divine in each person I meet and not to feel anger and self-righteousness when someone believes differently than I do. So I will keep trying....

Note: the picture above is of some Buddhist carvings on the "Flying Mountain" at the Lingyin Temple in Hangzhou, China. The day I visited the temple nearly two years ago it was rainy and cold, the ground so slippery underfoot that it was difficult to walk around the temple and monastery. Yet there were still dozens of worshipers lighting huge bundles of incense outside of the temple and saying their prayers. I was impressed by the devotion of the adherents. That day I also felt very homesick for my family back in the states. At the foot of the Buddha I said prayers for their continued safety and felt great comfort.


Rich said...

Thanks for reposting this Jana; excellent thoughts...

Anonymous said...

I've been reading your site for over a year now and had not yet read this post. But, wow. It is exactly what I needed to read this morning. I may not necessarily find fault with other's religions, but I do look for cracks in their character, and I'm sad to report that I revel in gossiping about said flaws. This, too, is participating in that cycle of pain. I need to extract myself from it.

Thanks for your writing.

jana said...

I am guilty of the same thing at times. It is so _human_. But so worth trying to overcome, too! :)

I highly recommend watching the Chodron interview if you have the time--she's amazingly insightful.