Nov 27 Suffering
This is a piece by Thich Nhat Hanh he is a Vietnamese Buddhist who became well known during and after the Vietnam war. He advocated peace to the soliders and spoke in the United States about peace. He is a really joyful person. When I was in Vietnam I tried to see him as they were having a retreat. I had no money so offered peace clowning for an opportunity to be there for free. His people didn´t agree to it, so I had to let it go. I said to myself not meant to be. But I know he is a genuine peace maker. He wrote a really great book called Be Peace. You may google search him, much wisdom there.
Here is some of his writing on suffering.
When You Have difficulty with Someone, Both of You Suffer
When you suffer, you must practice to find the cause of the suffering within yourself and the other person. You must reflect on your emotions, transform them, and then be willing to listen to the other person. Then you must take Right Action to eliminate the causes. If you can help the other person remove the roots of suffering within herself, then she will no longer suffer, and she will stop making you suffer.
Perhaps a friend has been making you suffer by what she has said and done. Her speech is full of bitterness, wrong perceptions, blame etc. because of this you suffer. You also suffer because of her way of thinking. You have to remember that you are not the only one who is suffering. Keep in mind that this person may have suffered very deeply in order to speak that way, to do things like that. If this person was not suffering she would not say and do such things. This is a simple insight, but perhaps you do not see it because of your own pain. If you understand this, then you will try your best to help her not to suffer. When she no longer suffers, she will leave you in peace, you will no longer suffer. Helping her is helping yourself. This is very clear and simple. You have to recognise that the other person is suffering, that you are not the only one. Looking deeply you recognise that if the other person continues to suffer, you will continue to suffer as well.
You may try going to the other person and saying ‘my dear friend, I know that you have suffered quite a lot in the past. I’m sorry I did not understand your suffering, and I have contributed to it by my way of reacting to what you have said and done. I don’t want you to suffer. I don’t want to destroy you. I really want you to be happy, because I know that if you are happy, I’ll have a chance to be happy too. I know that you have a lot of perceptions and ideas about me. You must have thought of me as evil, as a monster. I am sorry. Because I didn’t understand your suffering. I wasn’t able to help you, and I have made the situation worse. I’m very sorry. I don’t want this to continue. If you care to talk to me, if you care to tell me what is in your heart, what were the unskilful things that I have done to you, then I promise that I will do my best…
You may note that this philosophy sees one´s happiness in the other. Just imagine if we created a world where your happiness was mine. That is the world I live in as a clown, I am overjoyed when you are.
Much love and peace,
A Peace clown