I have been self studying Buddhism for over 4 years now, but after all
this time I am still bothered with many unanswered questions. I
desperately tried to find the teacher to help me understand things
better, but due to luck of funds and inability to travel far I had no
luck...And the deeper I get into to subject the more puzzled and
confused I seem to get.
For example I can not understand biggest thing about compassion: humble acceptance without involvement.... If we
practice compassion by loving everyone, forgiving everyone and letting
go of everything that makes us suffer, what do we do to stop suffering
of other's? Do you just sit and do nothing if let's say someone attacks
your child and simply gets away with it because we say:"Forgive him and
let go?" For instance-school bullying. As a parent, how does true
Buddhist suppose to handle this? You can control your own anger, but how
do you conquer anger of other people, especially when you know you can
not fix it? What do you tell your child:" It's ok. They did this to you,
but you forgive them anyway.... May be one day someone will do it to
them because this is Karma?" And if you don't walk away and stir big pot
of issues by contacting school, parents and trying to save other kids
from the same issues, are you being Bad Buddhist because you are not
humble, accepting and compassionate? How does true Buddhist should
handle things of such magnitude as they simply can not be avoided as
part of our reality. Or how, when we even think that something is wrong,
do we simply ignore this wrong knowing it can cause harm to someone,
saying "let go", "no big deal" and move on with our day? And the most
important questions by following any of the Buddhism paths where is the
distinct line between day dreaming ignorance, delusional thinking and
true Buddhism actions? When you know someone is very wrong - is being
compassionate bystander a best thing? Or do you actually step up, get
involved and try to make a change, but no loner on compassionate path
because you caused disturbance? This is kind of questions I like to
understand.  Is it better to be silent bystander and letting go in  peace?

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Well, point of discussion is very essential. Compassion is an act of engagement in various ways. Starting from within and taking every pssible actions or measures. It should be guided with wisdom and patience.
Hi Marcia, what excellent questions you raise.
Firstly regarding finding a teacher - I can really symapthise with you. I have been an actively practicing Buddhist (what IS that?! LOL) since about 1992 and I too STILL feel that I need a teacher to guide me on the right path. I was fortunate in that when I was living in London there was a Fo Guang temple (originally from Taiwan) with English speaking nuns, and that helped me initially greatly. But then a few things happened and I felt I needed to move on, somehow wanted more. I was then hugely fortunate in meeting another Taiwanese Master called Jieh Yuen. I did a Buddhist pilgrimage with him in Jan 2003 and had a wonderful experience staying in his temple for a month in Taiwan. But he doesn't speak English, and my Mandarin is poor and my Taiwanese non-existent! Now again I feel fortunate in that I am living in Nepal. Of course suddenly I am amongst mainly followers of Himalayan (or Tibetan, whatever you may wish to call it) forms of Buddhism, but this for me isn't an issue at all - that's a whole different subject. Suddenly I was given a telephone number of a monk who I was told would be an excellent teacher for me. We met and I felt we had a strong connection, and finally I thought "now I have found someone who can speak excellent English, we have a connection, he can guide me." But now he doesn't answer my text messages, I can't get him by telephone, and he hasn't given me an email address! I hope he is just too busy, and indeed he may be abroad teaching. But part of me thinks "this just has to be my karma to find my way alone." But, despite all of this, I strongly believe that when the moment is right, when all the circumstances are correct, I will meet the Master I too so long to find. I feel as if it is a karmic issue and whatever happens I think the most important thing is to simply keep doing what I think is right, not to waiver, not to give up, not to weaken my practice, every day try to more correctly follow the teachings as I understand them, try to strengthen my compassion and mindfullness. I do believe I am clearing karmic obstructions, and a moment will arise when all the circumstances are right, I will (I hope!) have developed a solid foundation, and a Master will suddenly appear and help me furthere along the path. I would rather have a Master with whom I have complete confidence and faith and trust, and I am prepared to wait. Or maybe I should stop being lazy and learn Mandarin! So be strong, read as much as you can, be patient, and never ever weaken your practice in your daily life - that would be my advice. But who am I to offer any advice to anyone?
Regarding you other issues. I think these are probably issues that many of us have struggled with. In my understanding the key issue is to make sure you balance compassion with wisdom. These two must balance each other. Also, do not give others the opportunity to generate negative karma for themselves, because if you do alow them to do so, you aren't helping them at all!
I am not sure that is worth anything, but that is my opinion,
Yours in the Dharma,
Mark (Jun Jieh)
Thank you! This actually was very helpful and warm reply! As to teacher who did not respond to you- you are probably right. May be some of us need to find our own wisdom, unfortunately I did run to the same problem when monks not really interested in teaching or in some cases even interaction with non-native Buddhists... Some temples here in US do not take Western Buddhist seriously or with respect. I actually got the feeling one time I was somewhat ignored and even disrespected because I was a woman. In spite of this, I am still going to study and practice myself. I have a great deal of books, audio and podcasts. I really love Pema Chodron and His Holiness teachings and follow every news regarding both. I truly hope you will find your Guru sooner or later. Thank you again so much!

Mark Vickers said:
Hi Marcia, what excellent questions you raise.
Firstly regarding finding a teacher - I can really symapthise with you. I have been an actively practicing Buddhist (what IS that?! LOL) since about 1992 and I too STILL feel that I need a teacher to guide me on the right path. I was fortunate in that when I was living in London there was a Fo Guang temple (originally from Taiwan) with English speaking nuns, and that helped me initially greatly. But then a few things happened and I felt I needed to move on, somehow wanted more. I was then hugely fortunate in meeting another Taiwanese Master called Jieh Yuen. I did a Buddhist pilgrimage with him in Jan 2003 and had a wonderful experience staying in his temple for a month in Taiwan. But he doesn't speak English, and my Mandarin is poor and my Taiwanese non-existent! Now again I feel fortunate in that I am living in Nepal. Of course suddenly I am amongst mainly followers of Himalayan (or Tibetan, whatever you may wish to call it) forms of Buddhism, but this for me isn't an issue at all - that's a whole different subject. Suddenly I was given a telephone number of a monk who I was told would be an excellent teacher for me. We met and I felt we had a strong connection, and finally I thought "now I have found someone who can speak excellent English, we have a connection, he can guide me." But now he doesn't answer my text messages, I can't get him by telephone, and he hasn't given me an email address! I hope he is just too busy, and indeed he may be abroad teaching. But part of me thinks "this just has to be my karma to find my way alone." But, despite all of this, I strongly believe that when the moment is right, when all the circumstances are correct, I will meet the Master I too so long to find. I feel as if it is a karmic issue and whatever happens I think the most important thing is to simply keep doing what I think is right, not to waiver, not to give up, not to weaken my practice, every day try to more correctly follow the teachings as I understand them, try to strengthen my compassion and mindfullness. I do believe I am clearing karmic obstructions, and a moment will arise when all the circumstances are right, I will (I hope!) have developed a solid foundation, and a Master will suddenly appear and help me furthere along the path. I would rather have a Master with whom I have complete confidence and faith and trust, and I am prepared to wait. Or maybe I should stop being lazy and learn Mandarin! So be strong, read as much as you can, be patient, and never ever weaken your practice in your daily life - that would be my advice. But who am I to offer any advice to anyone?
Regarding you other issues. I think these are probably issues that many of us have struggled with. In my understanding the key issue is to make sure you balance compassion with wisdom. These two must balance each other. Also, do not give others the opportunity to generate negative karma for themselves, because if you do alow them to do so, you aren't helping them at all!
I am not sure that is worth anything, but that is my opinion,
Yours in the Dharma,
Mark (Jun Jieh)
Harming none, without attachment to results, speak your peace and let it go. Do not try to understand and thereby lose your compassion. Compassion is a state of consciousness, and what is done or not done in any given situation is not for the ego to consider and plan and churn in turmoil. If you are of real non-attachment, you will know and do what is the right thing in any given moment. Seek that non-attachment and the whole world changes in front of your eyes.
In your post you stated this:" Compassion is not a word, or a feeling, or any of that... compassion is an act, the act of doing something for others. Not something symbolic, not something verbal, not something monetary... It is the act of alleviating the suffering of others to the extent you can. "
So I am wondering how this would apply to the situation I described? If I truly do want to make the school safe place, not for just my children, but for other's who afraid to show their voice or simply don't believe in justice, how do I silently let go? I forgave and let go on part of my child, but compassion is making it better for other's and simple silence on my part does not help anyone....No one is looking for revenge. This is not even an option for me, as violence only generates more violence and hate generates more hate. I am speaking of making compassionate change. But how would I, if I let go, ignore everything and walk away, leaving other's without hope to make change?
Just an example: I did simply forgave, advised my child to walk away, and let people who caused pain to do what they chose to do, as it is their Karma to pay for later... I told him to be humble and thankful for everything he has instead of getting upset about something he can not change. But how is this helping other's?

Roan Carratu said:
Harming none, without attachment to results, speak your peace and let it go. Do not try to understand and thereby lose your compassion. Compassion is a state of consciousness, and what is done or not done in any given situation is not for the ego to consider and plan and churn in turmoil. If you are of real non-attachment, you will know and do what is the right thing in any given moment. Seek that non-attachment and the whole world changes in front of your eyes.
marcia said:
In your post you stated this:" Compassion is not a word, or a feeling, or any of that... compassion is an act, the act of doing something for others. Not something symbolic, not something verbal, not something monetary... It is the act of alleviating the suffering of others to the extent you can. "
So I am wondering how this would apply to the situation I described? If I truly do want to make the school safe place, not for just my children, but for other's who afraid to show their voice or simply don't believe in justice, how do I silently let go? I forgave and let go on part of my child, but compassion is making it better for other's and simple silence on my part does not help anyone....No one is looking for revenge. This is not even an option for me, as violence only generates more violence and hate generates more hate. I am speaking of making compassionate change. But how would I, if I let go, ignore everything and walk away, leaving other's without hope to make change?
Just an example: I did simply forgave, advised my child to walk away, and let people who caused pain to do what they chose to do, as it is their Karma to pay for later... I told him to be humble and thankful for everything he has instead of getting upset about something he can not change. But how is this helping other's?

Roan Carratu said:
Harming none, without attachment to results, speak your peace and let it go. Do not try to understand and thereby lose your compassion. Compassion is a state of consciousness, and what is done or not done in any given situation is not for the ego to consider and plan and churn in turmoil. If you are of real non-attachment, you will know and do what is the right thing in any given moment. Seek that non-attachment and the whole world changes in front of your eyes.

"But how would I, if I let go, ignore everything and walk away, leaving other's without hope to make change?"

And this is the effect of ego, to think that something is 'without hope to make change'. You have already changed the 'something' by your compassionate actions. This is not about them, this is only about you. You cannot change them, you can only change yourself. If you change yourself, you change everything, but it is not clear to the ego. The social change is not clear to the ego, which has no real understanding of what 'social' is, although it thinks it understands everything. By following the ego, one becomes the problem, and instead of making a real change, one acts the role the ego sees in it's ignorance. When you take the ego out of the programmed loop, what you do becomes a clean process, and the changes happen even for others. If you take the ego out of the engagement, you still engage, for that is what life is, but compassion is released, and changes everything. The results are never what the ego thinks. It can rarely even perceive them.
thank you! this is excellent explanation!

Roan Carratu said:
marcia said:
In your post you stated this:" Compassion is not a word, or a feeling, or any of that... compassion is an act, the act of doing something for others. Not something symbolic, not something verbal, not something monetary... It is the act of alleviating the suffering of others to the extent you can. "
So I am wondering how this would apply to the situation I described? If I truly do want to make the school safe place, not for just my children, but for other's who afraid to show their voice or simply don't believe in justice, how do I silently let go? I forgave and let go on part of my child, but compassion is making it better for other's and simple silence on my part does not help anyone....No one is looking for revenge. This is not even an option for me, as violence only generates more violence and hate generates more hate. I am speaking of making compassionate change. But how would I, if I let go, ignore everything and walk away, leaving other's without hope to make change?
Just an example: I did simply forgave, advised my child to walk away, and let people who caused pain to do what they chose to do, as it is their Karma to pay for later... I told him to be humble and thankful for everything he has instead of getting upset about something he can not change. But how is this helping other's?

Roan Carratu said:
Harming none, without attachment to results, speak your peace and let it go. Do not try to understand and thereby lose your compassion. Compassion is a state of consciousness, and what is done or not done in any given situation is not for the ego to consider and plan and churn in turmoil. If you are of real non-attachment, you will know and do what is the right thing in any given moment. Seek that non-attachment and the whole world changes in front of your eyes.

"But how would I, if I let go, ignore everything and walk away, leaving other's without hope to make change?"

And this is the effect of ego, to think that something is 'without hope to make change'. You have already changed the 'something' by your compassionate actions. This is not about them, this is only about you. You cannot change them, you can only change yourself. If you change yourself, you change everything, but it is not clear to the ego. The social change is not clear to the ego, which has no real understanding of what 'social' is, although it thinks it understands everything. By following the ego, one becomes the problem, and instead of making a real change, one acts the role the ego sees in it's ignorance. When you take the ego out of the programmed loop, what you do becomes a clean process, and the changes happen even for others. If you take the ego out of the engagement, you still engage, for that is what life is, but compassion is released, and changes everything. The results are never what the ego thinks. It can rarely even perceive them.
Yes, those situation are indeed very frustrating for all. But, in all situation we need to try to be aware of others problem and if you see that you could do something to change the situation we should be also ready to do so. But, there are situations where our involvement could further infuriat the situatiion. When your action or ability is limited then there is no point trying it will causes additional problem.
It would be good to deal with communication and understanding with the motivation of compassion. For example with the case of bullying. When there is the case it might be good to bring to the attention of the parents, teachers and through them to talk with the kid. that might work well also for future step.
Often we need to be clear and aware of situation and also remember common sense not general worldly way of thinking.

Main thing is to maintain your attitude of calm and peace while thinking of helping others.
Thank you so much for great reply. I actually think I did the right thing. I taught my children to handle such a issues with humble acceptance and compassionate honesty. Unfortunately my particular case began because my son decided to stood up for his friend and as he said: "could not tolerate cruelty of other kids toward someone who was smaller and weaker", but as a result he got beat up very bad. Fortunate outcome of all this - we did a made difference because he chose to speak up in front of everyone without fear of retaliation and let it go in peace. And bullying stopped....Not just for him and his friend, but for other weaker kids as well. And his actions prompted many parents not only to come forward, but also create safer community watch and bigger parent involvement groups for kids. And instead of pointing fingers and creating big buzz about violent kids, I decided to offer free kung-fu and art classes in school for all the kids after hours. I hope this works, and if not- that I know I did my best to support others with all I have. Again, THANK YOU for great reply, you gave me true clarity on this!

Tenzin Yang said:
Yes, those situation are indeed very frustrating for all. But, in all situation we need to try to be aware of others problem and if you see that you could do something to change the situation we should be also ready to do so. But, there are situations where our involvement could further infuriat the situatiion. When your action or ability is limited then there is no point trying it will causes additional problem.
It would be good to deal with communication and understanding with the motivation of compassion. For example with the case of bullying. When there is the case it might be good to bring to the attention of the parents, teachers and through them to talk with the kid. that might work well also for future step.
Often we need to be clear and aware of situation and also remember common sense not general worldly way of thinking.

Main thing is to maintain your attitude of calm and peace while thinking of helping others.

Hi Marcia,

 

I feel for you because I have a 13 year old son who is bullied at school constantly. I tell him not to retaliate and he knows all the Dharma reasons why, though just this Friday he reacted and got beat up. I'm also at a bit of a loss with how to handle the bullying situation. 

 

My Spiritual Guide, H.E. Tsem Tulku Rinpoche always says that we must be compassionate but not stupid. I.e. if we are in a situation where people get hurt, then we need to try and resolve this situation. So I have been talking to my son's school teachers to see what can be done.

 

It's definitely not an easy path to navigate when I just want to beat the crap out of the other kids who are being nasty to my son :)

 

 

hi

Sometimes i do get this sort of doubts.....HHdalai lama says we do not need to watch something bad done to us we don't need to sit mum instead we should express our frustration at the same time he says without anger or hatred..we can attain that level only after long study and nurturing patience i think..But it works . his holiness life itself is a gud example whenever chinese pass bad remarks he patiently replies and express his displeasure.whenever i met with problems i think of him how he deal with problems and i take my lesson from it..

When the dragon attacks the village, kill the dragon. You are not being compassionate by being a silent bystander. Sometimes a "disturbance" is a catalyst for change. Compassion is knowing that change has to take place. One of Tara's manifestations is as Green Tara - Action with Compassion. It's my favorite maxim. If something seems to need fixing then fix it to your best ability. Without anger, without emotion, with an empty mind. Follow your instinct, not your conscious mind. But be mindful that not all things need fixing. Every person knows what's right and wrong. What's good and bad. But not all, in fact very few, recognise that, and even less act on it. It's for you to "Act with Compassion" when the time is recognised.

Do not surround yourself with rules and regulations that you think will make you a "Good Buddhist". There is only one condition to strive for and that's being a Perfect Human Being. You have to work out your own path to that condition. It comes from within. Others can only point the way. You will never reach that condition, only strive, day by day, to make self improvements. The day you believe you are Perfect then you have lost the path. But by trying you will recognise internal changes and begin to know that the path is right.

What's strange is that, at some point in the distant future, the sun will engulf the earth and then explode as a Super Nova with all our constituent atoms drifting around the universe. Knowing that makes all we do today seem a little pointless. But that's compassion. We do it without reference to importance. When someone needs a little help, we help. When the dragon attacks the village we attack the dragon. The consequences of no action is that we become the dragon.

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