Occasioned by Kathleen's protestation, "Why do we continue to hurt one another?!"
Shambhala capital
April 9, 1998

part 2

"Whatever arises is fresh,

the essence of realization."

Our habit of hurting; isn't that proof enough that we don't see things as the essence of realization? Why would we reject events if we saw them as such? Seeing others as such, how could we react that way? Failing to respond to others as suffering sentient beings is one thing, but reacting with agression ... there is no hint there of the sensible activity that comes up when we see something as good, and wholesome, and helpful. So, we cannot restrain ourselves from doing the worst, hurting others, since we have no sense that what arises is the raw stuff of our growth, our maturation, our realization.

We all of us want to be happy. Applying the same logic as above, where we showed with it that hurting others must mean we do not see arising phenomenon as the essence of realization, we can show here that we hurt others in order to be happy. Is this such a strange idea? Who cannot understand the twisted pleasure of seeing an enemy in pain, in confusion, perhaps asking for the aid and comfort that we can then refuse. But who, also, can overlook that this is a twisted pleasure, if it is any sort of pleasure at all. And yet this is the engagement we create in order to secure our happiness. It must be so. Who acts in order and with the intention of being less happy? So, it is not simply a case of mistaking the fundamental nature or reality and so thereby acting against the interest of another. We are mistaken even at the level of how to increase and/or secure our own happiness, at the level of our own interests. Mis-taking the essence of realization, we mis-take the source of happiness; grasping for happiness we cling to the root of suffering.

In the moment where we hold the root of suffering, we encounter the benefit of human rebirth: at that instant realization is at hand; to see what is exactly there is to recognize the profound simplicity of our involvement with daily life, with the mundane, with the fabric of thought and deed: seeking happiness we cling to the root of suffering. Who would cling to this after recognizing it? We have been born human; we sleep when we are tired, eat when we are hungry, drink when thirsty. Recognizing the root of suffering, who would not turn away and scan the ten-directions for the root of happiness? A more developed response might not involve turning away at all, but as a human reaction, this is sane, a connection with that wisdom which is ours primordially and inalienably. Further clinging can only arise from a failure to recognize, to truly realize. Persistance in that folly is the repetitiousness of an animal at best, a machine at worst. Acting on mistaken beliefs concerning the nature of reality while seeking our happiness we injure others and take on the behaviour of machines. Yet, even still, at every moment realization is at hand.

To have the good fortune of having been born human!

That we persist in our self-destructive folly, hurting ourselves and others!