conflict


Just in case there are those who refuse to be caught forever by ugliness and seek some alternative, the evil of cruelty makes its claims. Cruelty is something we recognize so easily as a physical activity, yet find so hard to identify in its finer but no less dangerous forms. It is essentially an intentional misuse of power by a strong entity toward a weaker one on the same plant’ of action. For instance, a helpless cripple could scarcely be physically cruel to a strong and healthy person, yet could very well be diabolically cruel mentally to the same person if he were intellectually vulnerable. Cruelty is only possible as a calculated discharge of destructive energy directed at feebler creature unlikely to retaliate effectively. Thus cruelty automatically implies cowardice as well.The motivation of cruelty is commonly again the artificial ego-enlargement resultant from its practice. It makes the little boy feel bigger when he kicks his baby brother. If we can make others frightened of us we seem larger by comparison to their shrinking. That is the secret of cruelty. A false sense of boost because of aggressive action which appears to avoid injurious reprisals. To hurt and kill some helpless and defenseless creature makes cruel people feel enormously powerful by contrast. They may even delude themselves for an instant that they are acting like gods. Taking their pathetic little share of life energy, they are willing to expend this on damaging the lives of weaker beings for the sake of supposing themselves more powerful than they truly are. None cry louder than such cowardly criminals when justified retribution rebounds on them. Nobody hates being hurt more than those who hurt with hate.

We need not always look for evident violence in order to recognize cruelty. It is possible to be extremely cruel in the “nicest and sweetest” ways. Staging little scenes deliberately to humiliate and hurt someone’s feelings while remaining righteously on the side of conventional virtue meanwhile. With the aid of a little intelligence people can contrive all sorts of cruelties yet themselves keep in the clear so far as rule books apply. Attendants in mental hospitals, for instance, have ample opportunity on these lines. So has anyone in charge of children or animals, or whoever is unable to hit back where it hurts most. Let those who think they could not be cruel examine what conscience they have within their own life-frameworks If we are still in human bodies then we are yet capable of cruelty in some degree or another. It is well to see this and convert our energies otherwise as we can.

–William G. Gray (Exorcizing the Tree of Evil)

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If this metaphysical space is to be known,

such knowledge can be attained only by faith and grace,

not by ‘entering’ but by ‘being entered’

-this is so because the greater must reveal itself to the lesser.

Put differently, that which is immanently ‘Spirit’ can only be known receptively,

through its own intellective vision, and not any derivative faculty such as reason,

feeling or sensation. Reason can only discern conceptually,

at best reducing reality to a dualism of subject and object

(as in the case of Descartes) or catagorical postulate

(as in the case of Kant) or dialectic process

(as in the case of Hegel) – its ‘telos’ will tend to be utopian(as in the case of Marx),

fundamentalist( as in the cases of religious, political or secular dogmatism)

or anthropocentrically consencual (as in the case of Rousseau’s social contract);

while sensation or feeling even where elevated to

the level of empirical ‘science,’ can only discern reality as matter or as psyche,

quantitatively, thereby cutting it off from its transcendent

and qualitative roots, leading to an emphasis on hypertrophic subjectivism

(as in the case of Nietzsche), Psychologism(as in the case of Freud),

or reductive positivism(as in the cases of philosophical positivism and of scientism).

That which transcends us cannot be known reductively

but only by that transcendent faculty which is immanent in us-which in

Tradition is termed the ‘Intellect’

or the Self-knowing Spirit. To know is to discern BEING.

We must empty ourselves or our ‘self’ in order to know who we ARE.

We must return to the sacred emptiness of the space that is our

ontological core in order to know that which truly IS.

–M Ali Lakhani (the Distance between us, found in Sacred Web issue 31)

Sūn Wùkōng, Xuánzàng, Zhū Bājiè, and Shā Wùjìng. (Journey to the West)

The four heroes of the story, left to right: Sūn Wùkōng, Xuánzàng, Zhū Bājiè, and Shā Wùjìng. (Journey to the West)

I never did anything out of the blue, woh-o-oh
Want an axe to break the ice
Wanna come down right now

Ashes to ashes, funk to funky
We know major toms a junkie
Strung out in heavens high
Hitting an all-time low

My mother said to get things done
You’d better not mess with major tom

David Bowie

“When we seriously practice any authentic spiritual exercise, we sooner or later come to the recognition that we are not individuals seeking some exalted goal for ourselves, but are sparks of Oneness, the Only Being, aspects of the total embodiment of the Spirit of Guidance that leads all of creation back to the Source, the perfection of love, harmony, and beauty. In our motivation to attain the highest levels of awareness, we eventually release our personal identification and become completely connected with an inner guide, a metamagnetic urge that prods us at all times to let go into the Oneness.”

David A. Cooper (Invoking Angels forBlessings, Protection and Healing)

………………….

Striving to be absolutely right is a very common attitude among humans. When we are trying to prove to an adversary that he is totally wrong, we fantasize about a moment when the Heavens, the forces of the cosmos itself, will come to our aid. Like small children, we imagine being able to set fire to the blackboard, to call attention to an injustice on the playground. To our disappointment, the blackboard does not catch fire –or, even if it does, the reaction defies our expectations.

The reality of dissension is that when it is based on and legitimated by human experience, it is not built on right/wrong or hero/villain dichotomies. To be able to overcome it or continue in the name of Heaven, we must understand that Heaven has no power to resolve discord. This is because the dynamic of such discord is to produce something unknown to and not invented by the Heavens.

We are like children who wish that their parents would come to school one day to teach everyone, for once and for all, who we are. It is painful, but we know this is impossible. Communication can truly take place only within the reality of the school, its playground rules, its etiquette, and its own conventions. A parent’s presence in school breaks communication and prevents us from being our true selves.

It is very difficult to deal with the expectation that justice will be done. Justice does express itself, as the sages say, but in its own time. And even though time seems ungrateful, leaving many situations unresolved, these will persist for as long as they are issues for the sake of Heaven. We will always have the comfort of knowing they won’t see closure until they are resolved.

Discord that is not for the sake of Heaven will not last, and the energy spent proving who is right is wasteful, not at all constructive. Knowing when to invest in discord and when to avoid it is a question of economy and intelligence.

–Rabbi Nilton Bonder (The Kabbalah of Envy)

………………….

“Monkey,” the Bodhisattva said, “do you know who I am?” The Great Sage opened wide his fiery eyes with their golden pupils, nodded his head and shouted at the top of his voice, “Of course I recognize you. You, thank goodness, are the All−Compassionate. All−Merciful Deliverer from Suffering, the Bodhisattva Guanyin from Potaraka Island in the Southern Sea. You’re a very welcome visitor. Every day here seems like a year, and nobody I know has ever come to see me. Where have you come from?”

“I have received a mandate from the Buddha to go to the East and find the man who will fetch the scriptures,”

she replied, “and as I was passing this way I decided to come over and see you.”

“The Buddha fooled me and crushed me under this mountain−−I haven’t been able to stretch myself for five

hundred years. I desperately hope that you will be obliging enough to rescue me, Bodhisattva.”

“You wretch,” she replied, “you have such an appalling criminal record that I’m afraid you’d only make more

trouble if I got you out.”

“I have already repented,” he said, “and hope that you will show me the road I should follow. I want to

cultivate my conduct.” Indeed:

When an idea is born in a man’s mind

It is known throughout Heaven and Earth.

If good and evil are not rewarded and punished

The world is bound to go to the bad.

The Bodhisattva was delighted to hear what he had to say.

“The sacred scriptures say,” she replied, ‘”If one’s words are good, they will meet with a response from even a

thousand miles away; if they are bad, they will be opposed from the same distance.’ If this is your state of

mind, then wait while I go to the East to find the man who will fetch the scriptures; I’ll tell him to rescue you.

You can be his disciple, observe and uphold the faith, enter our Buddha’s religion, and cultivate good

retribution for yourself in the future. What do you say to that?”

“I’ll go, I’ll go,” the Great Sage repeated over and over again.

“As you have reformed,” she said, “I’ll give you a Buddhist name.”

“I’ve already got a name. It’s Sun Wukong.” The Bodhisattva, very pleased, said, “I made two converts earlier,

and their names both contained Wu (‘Awakened’). There’s no need to give you any further instructions, so I’ll

be off.” The Great Sage, now aware of his own Buddha−nature, was converted to the Buddha’s religion; and

the Bodhisattva devotedly continued her search for a saintly monk.

Journey to the West

http://www.chine-informations.com/fichiers/jourwest.pdf

The problem in my country is war and malnutrition. My parents and my brothers were killed in the war. I joined the forces when I was twelve because I was told I would have food and should take revenge on the death of my parents. Please don’t be afraid of me. I am not a soldier anymore. I am just a child. And what I want to say is that people fight because they think they can take revenge. But there is no revenge. You kill and you kill, but it will never stop. There is no such thing as revenge.

Ishmael Beah, Age 15 (Sierra Leone)