As soon as you concern yourself with the “good” and “bad” of your fellows,
you create an opening in your heart for maliciousness to enter.
Testing, competing with, and criticizing others weakens and defeats you.
Morihei Ueshiba, The Art of Peace, page 55
This is such a wonderful verse. Like other truly profound teachings, it causes everything within me to settle deep down. It’s a lot like the deep-centered feeling of sitting in the full lotus posture (assuming one isn’t being tormented by rending knee pain!)
I think the reason for this is that it acknowledges and reinforces the fundamental truth of our lives: that we are not
separate. We’re living together as one, and anything I direct towards someone else is felt equally (or more!) by myself. It’s as if we’re living in the same room, breathing the same air, and eating from the same plate. If I said I was going to poison the plate of food we’re eating from in order to “get” one person, everyone would think I’m nuts.
“But you’re eating the same food!?! It’ll kill you as well!” To poison the air we all breathe, thinking “Hah! I really showed you!,” would be the act of a lunatic. Yet the actions and thoughts we give rise to continue to act through this unseen connection we all share. This isn’t to say don’t ever have harsh thoughts; everyone has them, and they tend to arise out of habit before we realize it. Rather, when you realize you’re caught up in them, stop feeding them energy. Entrust that situation, as best you can, to your inherent Buddha, the source of all energy, and that which is truly taking care of things.
Another thing about blame and criticism, is that it’s often dumping the entire cause for something onto the other person(s). When in reality, if there’s something going back and forth between us, then I also share partial responsibility for it. At the very minimum, I’m at this place now as the karmic result of the choices I’ve made, so there’s no use in blaming others. And in fact, acknowledging that I have a share of the blame often feels very liberating. Look at how you feel when you get caught up trying to defend yourself and justify your actions. Now look at how you feel when you say “I’m sorry,” even if only silently, to yourself.
Daehaeng Kun Sunim often teaches that everything gathers together because of its similar level of growth and its similar karma. She gives the example parents and children, saying that they’ve gathered together because they created similar karma, although it’s not always apparent. Parents chose their children, and children chose their parents, because that was the level that looked most appealing to them.
Thus, for all these reasons, Daehaeng Kun Sunim has always emphasized that blaming and criticizing others is one of the most spiritually harmful things we can do. She tells people to be generous in how they view others, and to interpret the things in their lives positively. For everything in this world manifests according to the thoughts we give rise to. Whether this world is a hell realm or a heavenly realm depends upon the thoughts we choose.
Over these many kalpas of our evolution, there’s no one who hasn’t been our father or our mother, our son, our daughter, our husband or our wife. Let’s remember the love we once felt for them, and raise the desire to see them grow and succeed, and know peace and liberation.