Thursday, March 4, 2010

Tearing Down the Wall

Sitting, I encountered this image of old Indian wall, unfriendly with its glass shards on top. There was anger too, and thoughts about earlier exchange that day. I had remained relatively calm in face of unwelcome hostility, but now the quietness allowed for the whole truth to raise its unfriendly edges. 

Sitting, I contemplated new image of wall down, and possibility of heart exposed, and loving thoughts towards my aggressor. Another teaching moment was at hand, including the opportunity to understand the other more deeply. I could see how seemingly innocent act on my part had been misconstrued by loved one, as a sign that I did not really care. 

Sitting, I was humbled into finding my limits on the equanimity scale, and I remembered the Kakacupama Sutta:
Monks, a monk may be ever so gentle, ever so even-tempered, ever so calm, as long as he is not touched by disagreeable aspects of speech. But it is only when disagreeable aspects of speech touch him that he can truly be known as gentle, even-tempered, and calm . . . 
Monks, there are these five aspects of speech by which others may address you: timely or untimely, true or false, affectionate or harsh, beneficial or unbeneficial, with a mind of good-will or with inner hate. Others may address you in a timely way or an untimely way. They may address you with what is true or what is false. They may address you in an affectionate way or a harsh way. They may address you in a beneficial way or an unbeneficial way. They may address you with a mind of good-will or with inner hate. In any event, you should train yourselves: 'Our minds will be unaffected and we will say no evil words. We will remain sympathetic to that person's welfare, with a mind of good will, and with no inner hate. We will keep pervading him with an awareness imbued with good will and, beginning with him, we will keep pervading the all-encompassing world with an awareness imbued with good will - abundant, expansive, immeasurable, free from hostility, free from ill will.' That's how you should train yourselves.
Good will. No unfriendly wall. And practice.


  1. This was in India? I read somewhere they put the glass shards on the wall to keep unwelcome birds from perching there. Marvelous post.

  2. Love this post. Architecture embodies our true perceptions and your observation here invites us to engage what we encounter as beneficial dialogue. Thanks.

  3. Thanks Kitty. Yes, I saw this in India, first time. Struck by resourcefulness and at same time unfriendliness of such a sight. Poor man's version of barbed wires.

  4. Yes, Tony, the way we structure spaces and experience is such a big influence on how we think, feel, and act. Not enough attention is paid to this in mainstream discourse. This is why I especially value your contribution to such reflection.