Tuesday, July 5, 2016

The capacity to listen and understand

Read deeply the following Thay's advice on "A Mindful Response to Terrorism". This is the excerpt from Thay’s book Calming The Fearful Mind.
The capacity to listen and understand is vital for real reconciliation and peace. The following part is very useful for all of us to remember because it is effective in all kinds of problems.

God does not take sides. Jesus, Buddha, Allah—all the great beings speak of compassion and inclusiveness. We should not believe that we can be peaceful by eliminating the other side.

“A doctor wants to destroy the malaria in a sick person, not destroy the patient himself. Terrorists are human beings who are sick with the virus of terrorism. The virus you see is made of fear, hatred, and violence. You can be a doctor for a person with this illness. Your medicine is the practice of restoring communication.

“But if a doctor cannot talk to a patient, if the patient refuses to cooperate, then how can the doctor help? If the patient refuses the doctor’s help, doesn’t trust her, and fears the doctor maybe trying to kill him, he will never cooperate. Even if the doctor is motivated by a great desire to help, she cannot do anything if the patient will not collaborate. So the first thing the doctor has to do is find ways to open communication. If you can talk to the patient, then there is hope. If the doctor can begin by acknowledging the patient’s suffering, then mutual understanding can develop and collaboration can begin.

(My commentary)
Everything depends on who we are. So, I understand that the above Thay's advice will work, only if both sides are awareness or wants to be awareness. The following is my formula.

Awareness x Awareness ⇒ no stressno problem
Awareness x Ego ⇒ problem (no stress)
Ego x Awareness ⇒ problem (no stress)
Ego x Ego ⇒ stress + problem
(note): Stress arises from afflictions caused by separations.

The key point of Thay's advice is open communication and mutual understanding for collaboration. So, the condition that the doctor can talk to the patient and that the doctor can acknowledge the patient’s suffering, is essential. And at the same time, the condition that the patient can listen deeply is also vital. But unfortunately, ego usually doesn't have deep listening capacity. So, even if the doctor is awareness, if the patient is ego, Thay's advice will not work. It will be a waste of time and energy. Therefore, initial self-transformation from ego to awareness is inevitable for real reconciliation and peace.

(Cf.) http://compassion5151.blogspot.jp/2016/06/the-other-person-is-mirror.html

Thay's Q&A session