difficult people, difficult emotions

A couple of days ago, Joseph wrote a great post about dealing with difficult people.  He’d remind himself, that, as annoying as someone may seem, nonetheless, they’re growing and evolving, and have already come a long way.

They may have come a long way, but there are times when even that knowledge doesn’t make it any easier! 

Here are some other ways of looking at people, which have helped me get past some emotion or negative thoughts I’ve been caught up in. These are all true, but it’s often the case that one fits better than the others. (These are from Dharma talks by Daehaeng Kun Sunim) 

1.   I also used to be just like that

2.  They have a good heart, but when they open their mouth, it comes out all wrong

3.  This person(or event) is my true nature testing me.  And helping me discover all the garbage I didn’t realize needed to be dealt with.

4.  This is my true nature helping me grow up

5.  If I hadn’t made and sent out this kind of energy, it couldn’t have returned to me like this. 

6. All minds and my mind are one mind
pppppIf I repeat this one to myself, it’s like everything inside me settles down and becomes peaceful.

(I’m a bit reluctant to get into commenting on these too much, but every single one of these has helped me get through more than a few difficult situations.

We are all connected through our Buddha-nature. Through this non-dual foundation, energy and intention are freely going back and forth. Thus, the thoughts I give rise to are felt by others, and if those thoughts are contempt, resentment, or dislike, others will respond accordingly. 

If we can resolve the situation harmoniously, that’s the end of it. However, because we are all connected as one, if we leave things unresolved or with resentment and ill-will in the air, those will all come back to us. Again and again. So take care of things harmoniously, even though it may be a bother, or seem unfair (if you saw all the causes involved, you’d probably agree it was perfectly fair!).
As you free the other person, you’ll free yourself as well. 

22 thoughts on “difficult people, difficult emotions”

  1. Thanks for this posting Chong Go :).

    Acceptance, love and letting each person have and be how they are definitely helps settle me… when I can remember…

  2. this is a good one. I have one very unresolved thing and it baffled me for a while. If it would be anybody else, I would not care much, would’ve let go long time ago, but this unresolved thing is with a buddhist monk and that’s why it is very confusing, since it left me with “trust no one” mind and also like if you try walking on a tight rope on a high wind, I am still balancing, but I wish the wind would stop so I could move on, because even if I forget about it, somebody would remind me. It is not about dislike or resentment, it is just plain weird, the whole thing does not make sense, does not add up, you read one thing on paper, but get another in person;I guess I shouldn’t trust anyone, only my true nature. Or maybe everything just does not matter anyway…

  3. I did not even notice this darn picture, again! But the comment is funny(!!!). What is it with people wanting blood to flow and cutting off and killings, what’s with this sacrifice? throughout history people in different places would do such things, don’t see mind so take out all on the body…

  4. Hi Tanya,

    “What is it with sacrifice?” – good question!

    Of course Christianity is based on sacrifice, Jesus’ death being for the benefit of all people, but it’s all there in Buddhism too. The first example that springs to my mind is from the Previous Lives of the Medicine King Bodhisattva chapter of the Lotus Sutra in which the Bodhisattva burns his arms off as an offering to the Buddha.

    In explaining this act, the Sutra says how such an offering is greater than any number of possessions, and who could deny that?

    “If a person who brings forth the resolve desiring to obtain anuttarasam yaksambodhi can burn off a finger or a toe as an offering to a Buddha stupa, his offering will surpass that of one who uses as offerings countries, cities, wives, and children or even the three thousand great thousand worlds with their mountains, forests, rivers, ponds, and precious objects.”

    But it then goes on to suggest that even greater merit can be obtained by one “who receives and upholds even a single four-line verse of the Dharma Flower Sutra” – and I’m certainly not going to argue with that!

    I know I’m rambling here but it’s also interesting to note that, just as Jesus has his life restored to him (only this time an eternal life with God), the bodhisattva has his arms fully restored as proof that he will eventually obtain the Golden Body of a Buddha – at which moment “the three thousand great thousand world system then quaked in six ways. The heavens rained down jeweled flowers, and all the humans and gods gained what they had never had before.”

    Which, to my way of thinking, answers your point about things not mattering. Things do matter. They matter enough to sacrifice for, they matter enough to see pain and suffering transformed into a more glorious life. Things matter because it is the material we burn to gain the Golden Body of our Buddhahood.

    Which, of course, echoes the words of Miao Shan, the human form of the Bodhisattva of Compassion: “Having given up these human eyes, I shall see with diamond eyes. Having yielded the mortal arms, I shall receive golden arms.” (A case of dealing with difficult people, in the form of her rotten father, if ever there was one!)

    My rambling is out of control now, but if there is any point to all this, it would be to trust yourself Tanya, trust the Buddha inside you and the Buddhas around you and know that all the difficulties you face on your path to Buddhahood are there to propell you along the way.

    With palms together,

    Marcus _/\_

    1. it seems we are back in business (just joking), I know to trust my inner self, always relied on it, however I don’t always hear it. I am not into believing stories too much; actually I was talking about sacrifies people did like killing an animal or human and offering it to, people do weird things, in my opinion. I would not cut off my fingers or give my child for sacrifies, for me it is just darn stupid and cruel and not normal and I don’t think Buddha needs someone’ fingers, arms or other gross things, people’s mind is sick in general if they need to do such things. However what I would sacrifies is ego, the sence of “I”, knowing that in essence I am a Buddha (I mean the real me without the ego), I feel great deal of freedom, at least in potential. And in a sence of things don’t really matter I ment that I view them often as a dream, so it does not matter. And as for Jesus, did you meet him? Did he tell you directly what was happening and what exactly did he teach? People used to teach that the Earth was flat, but what is the point to argue now when it is obvious that it is round.

      “to trust yourself Tanya, trust the Buddha inside you and the Buddhas around you and know that all the difficulties you face on your path to Buddhahood are there to propell you along the way”
      – I don’t really exist, Buddha inside me is just me and cannot really be said to exist either, and Buddhas around me – have not seen any, but all is my mind anyway, difficulties are just like clouds in the sky, and path is not a path….
      how about that for rambling

      1. “I don’t really exist”

        Tanya, I don’t believe that for a single moment!

        Anyway, I’m not so sure that you were joking when you said we’re back in business again, because here we are! But, hey, look at the subject matter of the post! We are the difficult people that we have to work with and learn from!

        A big hug!

        Marcus _/\_

  5. I’m always amazed to discover that everyone in the world is difficult . . . except me!

    Of the six ways in which we might “deal” with difficult people, #6 most gets to the point, in my experience.

    As I reveal my own mind-habits and afflictions more fully to myself, it becomes easier to perceive directly the intentions and impulses behind another person’s actions.

    As that occurs, then the “other” no longer seems “other” – but only a reflection of my own mind.

    So, as some wise person once said, know thyself!

    1. Hi Barry,
      I too feel that #6 is the deepest one there. It’s really interesting, because if I’m feeling angry or frustrated with someone, repeating that one a couple a times to myself really helps me settle down. I’m guessing there’s some deep truth there that all the lives in my body really seem to drink up.

      That said, each one of those has at times really been a light bulb over the head for me, in that when I looked at things from that perspective, something clicked and for that time at least, I was able to let go of some very deeply ingrained dualistic nuance that permeated how I was looking at things.

  6. “reasonablefacsimile” at reddit.com posted the following comment to this post. It’s definitely worth a read!

    There was one day when my umbrella came unfastened on a crowded bus, sprang open (spraying water over everyone), and knocked people down. People yelled and cussed as I struggled with it. I got it closed finally, but was mortified. Everyone was angry. I don’t think I even apologized, I was too busy trying to get it under control and then we were at the station…

    I called my mum and cried on her that night about how bad my day was, and related the story.

    “It’s okay,” she said. “Today it was just your turn to be the crazy lady with the umbrella on the bus. Everybody gets a turn, today was yours. I’m sorry, but that’s what it’s like.”

  7. 1. I also used to be just like that.
    Really? Now I’m in huge trouble! seriously… do you really look at someone who is being just over-the-top mean and say “I used to be just like that?” Struggling with my judgmental nature here.

    2. They have a good heart, but when they open their mouth, it comes out all wrong.
    OK… I’ll admit sometimes I can see this in the other person. And then I draw the line at how often i’m willing to tolerate their “all wronged-ness.”

    3. This person(or event) is my true nature testing me. And helping me discover all the garbage I didn’t realize needed to be dealt with.
    It wasn’t covered in the classes! I didn’t know there would be a test! OK, Help me out with this one. How is my true nature testing me? The other person’s conditioned nature testing my true nature, yes…

    4. This is my true nature helping me grow up.

    Don’t wanna… ditto for above.

    5. If I hadn’t made and sent out this kind of energy, it couldn’t have returned to me like this.
    So true… learning that.. slowly but painfully!

    6. All minds and my mind are one mind
    >sigh< guess I hang out with too many evil minds (I mean EVIL)… OK, will work on this!

    Heartfelt curiouisty for the ones I'm struggling with…

    1. Hi Genju,
      Thanks for you thoughts about these! I would say that for me, given any situation, only one or maybe two of these will really “click”.

      Re # 1: I may find myself irritated and impatient with someone, but if I take a moment to look at the situation, sometimes I notice that I used to behave similar to that. (or to a certain degree.) Actually noticing the similarities with how I used to be helps dissolve the impatience and irritation, and be more gentle with the other person. “After all, they aren’t doing anything that I wasn’t doing. Can’t get too uptight with them over that.”

      re #3&4: Well, I’ll get out of my depth pretty quickly if I start trying to analyse the nature of our true nature!

      One thing that occurs to me, is that most of our negative reactions, and the things we get hung up upon, are actually pretty childish ways of thinking and acting. So learning to deal positively with the stuff that comes up is how we grow up. Likewise, it’s because stuff confronts me that I can see what my deep reaction to it is, and become aware of some area that I need to be more diligent about.

      I think Daehaeng Sunim experiences our inherent nature as a very positive, active force. One that once we start actually trying to rely upon, actively reponds to us (as our conditioned awareness.)

      She’s occasionally compared it to a servant that normally just stands around because no one ever asks anything of it. Or a driver that’s trying to move things in a certain direction, but the backseat driver is always interfering and giving contradictory instructions, so after a while the driver says, “Okay, you know best?! You take care of it!”

      These are all examples that will break down at some level, but if something about them is useful, take it and run.

      Daehaeng Sunim was awakened at a young age, and during and after the Korean War saw so many people who were suffering. But she directly saw for herself that they all had this bright center within them. And she knew that this is connected to all the energy and wisdom in the universe. So when she started teaching people, she always emphasized relying on that. “It’s right there, just entrust it with everything that confronts you.”

      1. Thank you, Sunim. I wanted to say I’m not setting up straw people on this topic and truly do struggle with these concepts. This practice has given me such joy and I do believe there has been some transformation on those pretty childish reactions you mention. At the same time, I can see by Daehaeng Sunim’s teachings (through your words) there is a level of “entrusting” that I need to look at.

        Thank you for your teachings!

      1. And, somehow, I don’t have much trouble believing that one, except the part were they sprouted into the two first tea plants…(the caffeine was supposed to help keep him wake, too)

      2. PS
        Genju, I’m figuring you’ve only got a couple of weeks left on the 108 Buddhas, any chance 108 Bodhidharmas could be next?! (^_–)q

        Photo & Video Sharing by SmugMug

      3. I don’t think he cut off his eyelids, I think that was surprise at seeing what Huike had just done! Actually, seeing a westerner, the Chinese probably thought, “Eeww! Why are his eyes so big?
        Disgusting!” ^-^

        Genju, Joseph just reminded me about Brian Barry’s site. the link’s above as well, but he’s done some great Bodhidharmas that you might find interesting and inspiring.

    1. Joseph, I read your suggestion on my cell phone and freaked! I thought you had written to do Bodhidharma in the next two weeks! I’m already freaking out about the last week and what to do!!! 🙂 But hey, 108 Darumas may be a neat idea… if we all split the posts… :-O

      Chong Go, I love Brian’s paintings. I’ll go check out the Bodhidharmas… I have a great one of Linchi somewhere in my past posts…

  8. Muy buenas tardes, Marcus y a los otros hermanos, me llamo Alejandro, soy de Asunción, Paraguay, estuve en Buenos Ares hace poco, para contactar con el Hanmaún Center de alla, estuve leyendo sus comentaios, ciertamente dentro de la historia del Buddhismo, se cuenta que Hui Ke, se corto el brazo en senal de sinceridad y compromiso con la enseñanza, tambien que Bodhidharma se corto los párpados, y que de alli broto la primera planta de té, la cual utilizan los monjes para mantener sus largos peridoso de meditación. Existen otras historias en el Buddhimso de Maestros que ofrendaron sus cuerpos para alimentar a una leona habrienta con sus cachorros y otros. Todo ello se refier a la Suprema Compasión de Kwan Yin (Kwan um o Avalokiteswara). Realmente el hecho ded tener presente que todos somos una mente, ayuda mucho para mantener el Dharma, eso, mas el hecho de considera y pensar que “todos somos uno”, o que “Tu y yo somos uno”, tambien ayuda. y en eso podemos confirmar en mutros mantras de otras escuelas no buddhistas tambien utilizan eso como mantra. Hay que recordar ese Koan Kwan en que el Maestro al levantarse decía: “Maestro, Maestro, Si, Si, despierta, despierta y sobre todo no vuelvas a dormirte.” Todos estamos ligados de una u otra manera, y sobre todo, recordando que todos somos una mente, y todos somos uno, como gotas del mar en el inmenso oceano.

    Junto las manos en saludo de Dharma,

    Alejandro (Mun Hye)

  9. Good afternoon, Marcus and the other brothers, my name is Alejandro, I’m from Asuncion, Paraguay, I was recently in Buenos Ares, to contact the Center Hanmaún there, I was reading your comentaios, certainly in the history of Buddhism, is that Hui Ke, was short arm as a sign of sincerity and commitment to teaching, Bodhidharma is also short eyelids, and that there sprouted the first tea plant, which the monks used to keep their long periods of meditation . Other stories in Buddhism Teacher who gave their bodies to feed habrienta a lioness with her cubs and other more simalares hisoria this. . This will be refined to the Supreme Compassion Kwan Yin (Kwan um or Avalokiteswara). Ded really aware of the fact that we are one mind, it helps to keep the Dharma, that, but consider the fact and think that “all are one”, or “You and I are one”, also helps. and can confirm that in many mantras of other Buddhist schools that do not also use it as mantra. Koan must remember that the Master Kwan said rising, “Master, Master, Yes, yes, awake, awake and above all do not go back to sleep.” We are all linked in one way or another, and above all, remembering that we are all one mind, and we are all one, like drops of the sea in the vast ocean.

    Hands together in greeting Dharma

    Alejandro (Mun Hye)

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