Archiving for the reminder as well as for purposes of practice.
Today, quite by happenstance, I encounter the following on Facebook, wherein someone I have obviously angered has reacted:
My thoughts on this? Initially, hurt; who wouldn’t be? Confusion followed; if it were possible to always know how one’s actions hurt others before we undertook them, who would willfully undertake them? Then, briefly, anger; mostly for being unable to know and thus, unable to try and remedy it, but also for the realization that someone angry enough to do this likely would not be able to receive anything from me toward soothing or remedying it. A very heavy thought. Finally, sadness; both that I could not stem or stop whatever it was that resulted in this, and that all I can do to negate it is refuse to give it more fuel of my own.
Whomever did this, thank you; I needed a new focal point for meditative practice and I am appreciative that you provide excellent reason to turn to Vajrasattva.
Vajrasattva is the Buddha of purification. As the “action” or karma protector, he also manifests the energies of all Buddhas. The main purpose of Vajrasattva practice is to purify our obscurations. “Obscurations” means… negative emotions, negative speech, negative actions, the things that obscure our Buddha nature.
“The only virtue of sin is that it can be purified.” In fact, there is nothing that cannot be purified, even the most apparently heinous deed.
Why is it Vajrasattva that we choose for purification? When he vowed to achieve enlightenment for the sake of all beings, he made this wish: “When I become a fully enlightened Buddha, may all beings be purified of their obscurations, their ignorance and their negative actions simply by hearing my name, seeing my form, thinking of me, or reciting the mantra that contains my name.”
Vajrasattva practice works to purge the negativities within, ridding oneself of obscurations relating to body, speech and mind; Everyday, in the course of work or at home, with colleagues, with friends, with family, situations arise that cause misunderstandings, hurt, verbal/physical abuse, evil intentions, and all the negative actions that we commit everyday. They keep accumulating and, if not purified, lead to exponentially negative reactions and new actions that perpetuate the cycle of suffering.
The mantra, “Om benza sattva hum” is loosely translated to mean “may all beings be free of negativity” but may also be taken to mean, “may my actions not cause negativity in others” as well as “may I find ways to purify and negate the karma that would cause others suffering.”
Om benza sattva hum, my newest and devoted spiritual teacher; I thank you.
Addendum, 12:50pm: In conversation with friends, someone said that they respected how I “took the high road” in relation to this. For the record, that is the absolute last thing I am doing. Instead, I am taking responsibility for it. As I explained to them:
It’s not taking the high road; it’s recognizing that, somehow, I have truly wounded someone, wounded them deeply enough that this seems a worthy activity. Regardless my intention, motivation, or memory (lack thereof, frankly), it remains that they hurt.
As odd as it may sound, that someone hurts this deeply because of something I did… hurts me. Genuinely hurts. I am not angry for myself, I am angry that I couldn’t be someone who could avert this from someone else.
We’re all just humans struggling to do and be the best we can manage and, often, we are so impossibly unskillful at it that unfortunate things like this happen. Rather than use it as an excuse to further prop my ego, insist that “I’ve been wronged”, or any of the other things that distance me from a simple acceptance of this reality… as it is… I accept that I am far from a perfect being; that there are times when my methods are lacking in consideration or compassion, that my reactions are thoughtless and driven by entirely selfish or egotistical motivations and thus, frankly, wrongful.
I won’t kick myself for it, after all, I am human and prone to being just as human as anyone else.
That said, neither will I ignore the reality that, were I to practice more devotedly, chances are I would be at least slightly better at avoiding this manner of hurtful interaction with others.
So, in the end, the lesson is merely this — all perceptions of negative action by others are opportunities to recognize this of myself and openings in which to more purposefully turn toward striving for personal betterment and skillful means.
It is a good lesson, regardless of how it arrives; just as all lessons are.